There was a time when video games were considered to be a joke or a silly pastime. Nobody believed video games would develop beyond the point of something little kids did to spend their pocket change on. Nowadays it is more apparent than ever video games have dominated the media on a massive scale. The industry is growing increasingly bigger and faster and there is no end in sight.
It has been known for a long time that video games make more money than Hollywood. In Britain alone, 2008 was the year that video games made more than £4 billion. This can be attributed to the fact that a video game can cost up to $120 upon release, whereas a movie ticket can cost up to $18. With that in mind, the only way movies can compete with that is if the same number of people who buy video games purchase a movie ticket seven or more times for the same movie. Young people have always been the demographic that spend the most money. What video games have successfully done is make video games more convenient and more entertaining than going to the cinema.
Video games have become more convenient and entertaining for young people because video games are able to make the experience more personal for each individual. Video games are no longer about jumping over objects or jumping on enemies the way that Mario or Sonic the Hedgehog used to be. Nowadays video games allow players to influence the way the game is played to their preference. Many video games have a level-up system which will reward the player by allowing them extra perks or content to customize their character. These perks could be different or stronger weapons, character abilities, vehicle extensions, improved equipment. Players are able to feel as if their choices matter, as if they are part of the game and the game’s final outcome. This is something movies cannot achieve as the viewer is nothing but a passive participant which has no say in how characters will react or how the movie will end. Video games allow players the benefit of feeling the adrenaline that comes from embarking on a perilous journey full of danger, adventure, excitement, risk and consequences but also the comfort of knowing none of these things will actually come to harm them.
Something video games have managed to do is create a gaming community. Players no longer have to experience gaming from a dark corner of a basement without any human interaction. Something called Multiplayer has been invented. Players are able to connect on the internet through their consoles and play online with other people from around the world. This can add an element of teamwork as players can communicate and co-ordinate with others. Games such as World of Warcraft have “raids”, which is when a group of players connected via the internet can rally together in order to complete a mission or storm a castle or cave together.
There are also gaming conventions where companies create a giant exhibit for their upcoming releases. Players from the area can meet together and celebrate their way of life without fear of being rejected or feeling judged. Games have also created a worldwide phenomenon called cosplay (a portmanteau of custome and play). Cosplay is when a person dresses up as a fictional character from movies, games, comic books, mangas, or TV shows. Video games have massively dominated the media in a way that not only does cosplay allow gamers to demonstrate their artistic side, but it is also to show the world they are proud of being a gamer.
One of the biggest controversies about video games is that many believe it to be a waste of time and money, and nothing can be learned from them. Video games have evolved to not just a way of killing time. Several games can teach players about strategies, fast thinking under pressure and problem solving. Series such as Age of Empire has players controlling entire civilisations and are responsible for managing their food, resources and battle co-ordination should there be an invasion from an enemy. Some games such as Assassin’s Creed go so far as becoming a playable history lesson, where players can roam around in Jerusalem during the Third Crusade, Renaissance Italy, America during the 1775 revolution, and the Caribbean during the golden age of pirates. Playing video games can even spawn careers. Youtube sensation Pewdiepie has become famous for recording himself playing video games and uploading them to his channel. He has 25 million subscribers, gets an average of 3.9 million views per day and has earned an estimated $128.2 thousand to $1.3 million in the last month. Granted, not everyone who plays video games get paid to do so, in fact for most people it is the exact opposite.
The video game industry has such domination on the media that it has massively influenced celebrities. Hollywood actors have lent their voices for video games such as Gary Oldman for Call of Duty and Ellen Page for Beyond: Two Souls. It is no longer logical to believe that video games only exist in their own world. The industry is to be taken seriously in its impact to the economy, society, human interaction and overall how the world works.
Opinion By Ignacio Gatti