The Video Games Industry – A Lot Bigger Than You Thought

by Jeremiah on December 17, 2014


The video games industry probably employs more people and contributes more to the economy than you thought it did.

Statistics are hard to pin down because, of course, it all depends who’s measuring them and when – and how they’re arriving at their figures.

But to give you some idea of the overall size of the industry in the US alone – the Entertainment Software Association produced a report towards the end of 2010 that estimated the industry employed 32,000 people in the US alone in either developing or publishing.

But then, there were a further 120,000 people working in peripheral but directly linked organisations such as distributors, specialist retailers, and the computer games specialist media etc.

What’s even more revealing is that the mean average salary for a gaming industry worker at the time was almost $90,000! This is pretty generous by almost anyone’s standards and is obviously swayed by the big executive salaries enjoyed by some at the top of the tree.

In total – it was estimated at the time that the whole of the video games industry contributed approximately $5 billion to the US economy each year. And that was four years ago when the recession was biting a little more fiercely than it is today.

In other words, all these figures will be higher today.

And to put things into even more perspective globally speaking – remember that there are more people both buying and using video games in the Asia-Pacific region than there are in the US. So for the real figures connected with the industry today, well the mind boggles. This business is simply enormous and getting bigger by the day as the free app-based games grow like Topsy.

What’s more – the turnover of staff is notoriously high in this business. That’s because the rewards can be so big for those programmers who are burning hot (and usually young) and the industry moves on apace all the time. This is particularly challenging from a Human Resources point of view which is why it’s vital that industry HR people use the right HR Software to keep track of staff. Perhaps in no other sector of industry today is it more about people than in the video gaming sector. And this, in turn, means it’s all about HR.

Of course – there are those who would argue that any business is only as good as its best people, but in the video games industry, the business is really all about the talents of the programmers – everything else is really of secondary importance.

So yes, you need to get the marketing, distribution and all the rest of it right – but if you haven’t got the game developed to the right level – it’s all rather academic. It’s a little like sports teams in major league sports; people connected with a club talk about all sorts of things not directly related to what’s happening on the pitch. But if it’s not really happening on the pitch – all other considerations are kind of “moot”. And the big players today are the top developers.

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