Are Video Games the New Hollywood?
In the past, video gaming was usually regarded as a form of entertainment that was only for the stereotypical computer nerd, or arcade-obsessed teenager.
But gaming is now one of the world’s most popular forms of entertainment. Depending on how the industry continues to market itself, could it pose a competitive threat to conventional forms of entertainment like television and film?
Take gaming YouTubers for example. The top four most popular esport YouTubers like @VanossGaming, @markiplier, @jacksepticeye, and @DanTDM have a combined total of 113 million subscribers. And in 2021, over two hundred million people watched esports with regularity. The Academy Awards could only dream about those numbers.
With more than 3 billion gamers around the world and a revenue of around $184 billion, gaming already rivals television and film. In Europe alone, 50% play some form of video games.
Several years ago, a news article titled “Video Games Are Now More Popular In Australia Than Free-To-Air TV” would have garnered a fair bit of scepticism, but there is some truth to it.
With all this established, video games as a whole don’t directly compete with the film and television industry. These different forms of entertainment offer something different, and even though they may indirectly compete, the chances that one would put the other out of business, or vice versa, are slim to none.
While audiences may fluctuate as tastes and viewing habits change, film and television are always going to have a place in this world. If you find yourself concerned about whether films and television are going to be around in the next few years, then your concerns are entirely unfounded. Film and television are going to be with us for the long haul. With that said, the technology and how they are consumed will inevitably change. Blockbuster video rental stores gave way to Netflix. Netflix will inevitably give way to something different. The technology landscape is constantly evolving.
However, with billions of gamers around the planet, it is a market that will continue to grow. This is already beginning to become the case. Take a look at any of the best video game franchises of all time and compare their sales figures to some of the most successful Hollywood film franchises. The Call of Duty franchise has raked in roughly $30 billion, and the Final Fantasy franchise has brought in roughly $18 billion. Worldwide, the Hunger Games film franchise has brought in roughly $2.8 billion, and the Star Trek franchise has earned roughly $10 billion. There is a vast disparity in earnings between the two mediums.
The video gaming industry has become a financial juggernaut, and for all intents and purposes, it has already begun to dwarf films and television, in both viewership and revenue.
Unless the film and television industry undertakes some major fundamental changes, it will not be a surprise to see them become more and more of a niche pastime. They will still exist for many millions of viewers, but they won’t hold nearly as much prominence in our lives.