Twenty years ago who would have thought that in 2013 the highest selling market industry would be one concerned with the making, distributing, advertising and playing of games?
The fact is that today the burgeoning and often underrated video game market is one of the highest selling, and in fact, one of the most popular and most highly bought into forms of entertainment. Look no further than the news and shop windows in the last week or two and you will see my point evidence in the form of Rockstar Games’ latest instalment in the Grand Theft Auto franchise: GTA 5. With the recent, and frankly almost excessive, media and public hype it is clear, and easy, to see just how massive the gaming industry has become in modern society. As one man, a worker at GAME in Uxbridge told me, the hype was so high that, as he brought a box of promotional gear out of the stock room, he was mobbed by no less than four young men who, in their disillusioned and anticipation charged states, could not wait to get their hands onto even the remotest piece of Rockstar Games memorabilia.
When I talk about entertainment and the entertainment industry then perhaps it is necessary to distinguish the type of entertainment that I am referring to. In modern times, then, it might be best to limit my discussion to gaming, cinema, music and also, although some may argue against this choice, the rising e-reader market. The fact that these mediums of entertainment are high-selling and in demand is, perhaps, no new thing as you consider that throughout history societies have relied upon and ingested no end of entertainment and interest mediums and products. Shakespeare, Dickens, Spielberg, Mozart, and now Rockstar and EA are the figures or companies that represent points in history that formed a secondary vertebrae for society – of course there is the primary backbone: the medical, political and sustaining industries, but without the secondary vertebrae, the entertainment and leisure industries, then what have we, as consumers and people, got to live for anyway?
…the modern state of the industry is almost entirely indecipherable to what it began as…
Maybe the point that I am trying to make with this article is that the entertainment industry, and in particular the electronic entertainment industry, is one that has arguably expanded and evolved more than any other over the years; from the traditional newspaper to the online news forum and pages, from the paperback to the kindle, from black and white flicks to 3D blockbusters, the modern state of the industry is almost entirely indecipherable to what it began as. You probably will have been asked this question before but consider it now, just for a second: how many medias have you come into contact with today? Just walk down your street and you are probably in contact with a larger number than you ever really consider, busses and bus stops and billboards and posters and every second your mind, ears and body are assaulted by all manner of overtly subliminal advertisements. Maybe you could avoid it all by moving yourself away from society totally, but if you’re reading this then I think you can assume that that probably will not be the case. Maybe, then, the point that I’m actually making is that humans, in whatever form of society, are an animal that for whatever reason will always crave and strive for entertainment and will in fact rely on it almost as much as anything else; of course we can live without the latest technology and media products but that would leave us somewhere bland and colourless, somewhere without any escapism or form of release wherein we would be stuck in the tedium of normality and everyday life.
I will put myself forward as an example of modern generations and our affinity to media and to products of the media; I am a third year student studying in London who is, for this year, living in halls on campus; for obvious reasons my storage and shelf space is extremely limited, but every inch of this space is filled with a mixture of books, DVD, CDs, games, and blu-rays – and I wouldn’t be alone in this. Some of you might be sitting there thinking that what you just read is strange or abnormal, but honestly I can guarantee that the exact same is true in halls and bedrooms across the country. Whether you are gamer, a film buff, a reader or any other thing then the likelihood is that your life is as media orientated as the rest of us and, as I said earlier, if you’re reading this article then you are inadvertently admitting it.
…in twenty years perhaps there will be a new trend…
So we go back to the question that I began this article with: twenty years ago who would have thought that in 2013 the biggest selling media market would be one concerned entirely with games? Well, the obvious and simple answer is that the people who thought that are the ones who acted upon it; the men and women that now own Rockstar and EA and every other game company, the designers and writers behind GTA and FIFA and COD and everything else. From the first SEGA to the soon to be released Playstation 4 and XBOX One there have been business people and corporations who have used the human need for entertainment to the best of their ability to make the most out of it that they could. There is always at least one product, one book, one song, one game or one film that is in vogue and in style; whether it’s a Spielberg a Cameron a Rockstar or a Rihanna there is a whole catalogue of products that, for the time being, occupy the pedestal of media supremacy and who knows what it will be in ten more years?
The highest selling board game of all time is Chess; a board game that is years and years old. Maybe todays media market is a market of contemporary board games, the modern equivalent each battling for supremacy. In ten years maybe chess will be back on top form and video games will be a thing out of fashion, in twenty years perhaps there will be a new trend, and in a hundred more perhaps yet another. But all that is certain is that, whatever the case may be, there will always be someone ready and waiting to make money of the human need for entertainment.