Industry size

Ron Gilbert is being grumpy about the “games biz > Hollywood” stories one occasionally sees (like this one). He actually looks at the figures. When I am annoyed by overblown statements regarding industry size, I usually just point out that the porn industry also likes to claim it’s bigger than Hollywood. But then, I’m lazy.

Nevertheless, there were some interesting milestones this year. Depending on how you crunch the numbers, Halo 2 and GTA: San Andreas set records for the amount of generated revenue for an entertainment product in a given period. The Economist wrote something about Halo 2 recently (“The Halo effect”, Nov 11th 2004). They think games are not comparable to movies because the high revenue is caused by the high price ($50 versus $7). However, my boss made the good point that spending $50 is a bigger decision than spending $7. And you get more hours of entertainment – many more, in the case of GTA: San Andreas.

In the end, it all boils down to ego, shame, redemption, politics – a tool in an attempt to increase stature and power. It’s cool that my job is easier to explain to my parents, that I don’t need to hesitate before telling someone in a bar what I do for a living. But it doesn’t make my work any easier.