There are plenty of entertainment verticals in the world today, but recently, one industry has risen to be on top of all of them. The new king of entertainment is video games – with a market share now larger than movies and North American sports combined. This rise came in the face of public disapproval too, which makes the achievement an even more impressive one. As the study above showed, the form of entertainment that video games are most often compared to is the movie industry, which previously enjoyed a decades-long long reign as the undisputed leader in entertainment. Though the two are often compared, it is painfully clear why video games have taken a lead over the past few years.
Let’s start off by saying the points below don’t take anything away from movies. It is hard to find a human that does not enjoy watching a good movie, such is their ability to engage audiences with compelling stories. Even at the start, when movies were in black and white and had no sound, they were still loved by the millions who saw them and simply captured audiences around the world with compelling stories and impressive performances.
The main reason why people enjoy movies so much is that they allow human experiences to be captured and viewed for entertainment, something that is normally only possible to experience in real life. Seeing the ordeals of humans and their emotions on the screen, edited to be perfect is at the heart of moviemaking.
And yet…. gaming actually does all this better. Some might feel that it is hard to relate to a character on a screen that is not real in the sense that their image is computer generated. This fact is becoming more and more redundant as time passes as developers can now make characters look incredibly lifelike, with animations so precise that they mimic the behaviour of a real human. And then there is of course motion capture which essentially allows actors to project their likeness into games anyway. One only must look to games like Death Stranding to get an idea of how actors can ingratiate themselves into a game world. It is clear that modern games can now capture the same emotions that movies can and can sometimes actually do it better.
And the one thing that makes video games really stand out from movies is that they are interactive. In fact, this is the one thing that separates the video game medium from all others which came before it. It is easy to appreciate that movies are stories that are presented to the audience – they are simply bystanders to the plot. When video games are added to the mix, it is easy to see how gamers become part of the story. They have an active role in progressing it by meeting certain objectives, which makes it even more satisfying when main story beats are hit. This is even more true in the case of multiple-choice games like those from developers Telltale, such as their impressive Game of Thrones series.
And there are several other niches against which films have fallen by the wayside recently – not just to the video game universe. And we can say that that same interactivity has been the ‘killer app’ for each of them. Online shopping depends of course on user choice as well as near-instant gratification, and even the latest online gambling slots (found on the Casinos for Money site), are increasingly allowing users to make choices on bonus features, volatility, and story arcs.
What’s more, it’s hard to see how movies can fight back on the interactivity front. The Black Mirror PYOA episode Bandersnatch debuted on Netflix 3 years ago now, and the writer Charlie Brooker claimed it to be an exhausting process, as well as a prohibitively expensive one – and he has no plans to make a sequel.
Video games look set to rule the entertainment roost for a long while to come.