In 2004, Americans spent $7.3 billion buying 248 million video games. These games run on video game consoles like Microsoft's Xbox and Sony's PlayStation 2, or they run directly on home PCs. [ref] To put that in perspective, movies bring in about $9 billion a year. When you consider that movies have been around for about a century, while realistic video games like Halo have only existed since 2000 or so, you realize how powerful video games have become in the entertainment industry.
When the game Halo 2 was released, it sold 340,000 copies in its first day, bringing in $125 million. The game Grand Theft Auto, San Andreas sold over 2 million copies in a single month after its release. In the United States, there are over 35 million Playstation 2 and Xbox consoles found in American homes. [ref]
The point is that video games appeal to a huge and growing audience, and the popularity of video games is increasing as they become more and more realistic.
You can get a perspective on how far and how fast video games are progressing by looking at these two screen shots. The first is Pac-Man, one of the most popular video games in the world in 1980:
The second is from Half-Life 2, released in 2004:
These two games are separated by only 25 years, yet they look like they are from completely different planets. One is a flat, pixelated, handful-of-colors-on-a-mostly-black-screen game. The other is a photo-realistic real-time romp through an artificial world of incredible depth and detail. The two games cannot be compared. It would be like comparing a backhoe to a spoon.
The progression is remarkable, and the realism keeps increasing with the release of newer game consoles. This quote offers a perspective on just how realistic things can get:
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The Teenager's Guide
© Copyright 2005 by Marshall Brain. All rights reserved.