From Hickory Sticks to Joy Sticks 
Author Message
 From Hickory Sticks to Joy Sticks

So which one of you is going to create a video game that teaches reading,
'riting, and 'rithmetic?  And even more important, improve your, and your
children and students, overall thinking skills.    Dale

http://www.*-*-*.com/ {*filter*}/tech/review/games/2001-0518-game-s...
05/18/2001 - Updated 10:28 AM ET
Video game sales expected to explode

Bob Riha Jr., AP/SCEA
Game sales could soar by 20% or more by 2003, according to the Interactive
Digital Software Association. Much of that growth may be fueled by new
{*filter*} platforms unveiled at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo.

LOS ANGELES, May 17 (Reuters) After a year of lackluster sales, the video
game industry is poised for a comeback as a new generation of supercharged
machines spur sales among an ever-widening audience, a trade group said

Brand-new video game consoles to launch late this year from industry veteran
Nintendo and game-console-newcomer Microsoft will help the industry return
to double-digit growth next year, said Doug Lowenstein, president of the
Interactive Digital Software Association (IDSA).

But it won't stop there. Sales could soar by 20% or more in 2003 and beyond,
Lowenstein said in an interview at the start of the video game industry's
biggest trade show, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3.

Last year, U.S. sales of games shrank about 5% to just over $6 billion,
according to IDSA data.

Nintendo's GameCube and Microsoft's Xbox will add to the foundation laid
last year by Sony when it debuted its PlayStation 2 machine.

Video game revenues are expected to be "okay" this year, growing by 5% to
10%, but because the GameCube and Xbox will not go on sale until November,
they will have minimal impact on 2001 sales, Lowenstein said.

But the new hardware that allows for nearly photo-realistic detail and
blazingly fast action is only one part of the equation for strong sales,
Lowenstein said.

The other part, he said, is that video games are no longer just a diversion
for {*filter*}age boys.

In his keynote address to open E3, Lowenstein rattled off a list of
statistics he says point to the growing appeal of games.

Some 145 million Americans, or 60% of the population, play video games.
Women make up 43% of gamers, and 35% of Americans said video games are the
most fun entertainment activity, compared to 18% who said watching
television was.

"We have had people growing up with video games. There are millions and
millions of people who (say) this is what they do and how they amuse
themselves in their leisure time. This is not a toy, it's not a trifle that
is buried in the ba{*filter*}t," Lowenstein said.

Still, not all is rosy for the industry, which is grappling with soaring
development costs that rival the budgets of minor motion pictures, and the
danger of too many developers making too many similar games.

"Gone are the days when three guys in their garage could make a compelling
game. Today you have to have great graphics designers, you have to have
great sound people, and all those things cost money," Lowenstein said.

That sentiment was echoed by Nintendo of America's senior vice president of
sales and marketing Peter Main, who said nearly three-quarters of the 1,300
games produced last year sold less than 300,000 copies, well under the
estimated 350,000 to 400,000 needed to break even on the latest machines.

"There's been a {*filter*} bath, an absolute {*filter*} bath in the development
business over the last two years. We don't want all these bright ideas going
down the tubes with people chasing impossible dreams," Main said during a
panel discussion with Sony and Microsoft.

The tone of Lowenstein's keynote was markedly different from one or two
years ago, shortly after the Columbine high school massacre, when he devoted
his speech to defending video games from charges that they contribute to
school {*filter*}.

Lowenstein credits the industry for tightening policies not to sell {*filter*}
and mature games to children as a factor in winning wider acceptance in the
market. "There's more understanding than in the past that games have mass
appeal," Lowenstein said. "Most games actually don't contain {*filter*}
content, and I think we're doing a good job of communicating that."

"All the talk about {*filter*} in video games never really had an impact on
the market. To some extent it was a sideshow," Lowenstein said.

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Wed, 05 Nov 2003 12:18:43 GMT  
 [ 1 post ] 

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