I won't be talking about a new invention or innovation within the games industry today. Instead, I'd like to share with you a rather interesting story that's been circulating over the past few days, one which I hope will drive home the growing importance of the games industry - and the value of the innovations within.
According to a study carried out by Newzoo, virtual goods (video games, basically) enjoyed a huge overall increase in revenue this year. American consumers thus far have spent over $20.5 Billion on video games in 2013 - and that's before accounting for Christmas spending, which I'm sure will add at least a little bit more to those numbers.
The report, which was released Thursday, also reveals that gamers are showing a marked preference for digital purchases, with 65% of all revenue generated through online stores on consoles, PCs, smartphones, and tablets. This accounts for a total digital revenue amount of $13.3 billion.
The other 31% (about $6.4 billion) came from retail sales of boxed games, with a paltry 4% of revenue stemming from pre-owned titles. Overall, retail sales have dropped by 10% since 2012, though that's to be expected; it's still not as dire as the 21% decline physical purchases saw between 2011-2012.
All told, 170 million American consumers are currently gamers, with 60% of those identified as paying consumers. The only country that has more paying gamers is China, though those gamers have a much lower average spending rate than their Western kin.
Not surprisingly, the report also found that tablet/mobile gaming is currently America's fastest growing market segment, with a significant portion of gamers identifying as exclusively mobile. Within that market, Apple is the current leader, though Android devices are rapidly catching up and may overtake iOS in 2014.
What's more, over 40 million of American consumers are platform-agnostic, revealing that they game on their PCs, smartphones, consoles, and tablets/handhelds.
In short, gaming's become kind of a big deal lately - and it's got nowhere to go from here but up, particularly with the launch of the PS4 and Xbox One.