Grow up – play computer games

The UK games industry was recognised in the recent Budget with tax breaks – and according to Chancellor George Osborne, the move is part of designs to make the UK the technology centre of Europe, the BBC reports.

Those in the industry have praised the Chancellor’s announcement as an important first step, but it is also new evidence that the industry – which is traditionally fast-moving and youthful – has come of age. Games are no longer confined to the teenage bedroom; consoles are taking pride of place in living room entertainment systems, branching out into the mobiles in our pockets, and finding their way into the social media tools we increasingly use to communicate with each other.

Everything’s a game

Already some are predicting that video games will be the dominant form of mass media culture over the coming decade, as those who were early devotees mature along with the industry. Already big releases are huge events to rival Hollywood blockbusters.

And the traditional view of a gamer as a teenage boy is rather out of date in the 21st century. According to a recent US survey, the average gamer is in their late-30s, and more than 40 per cent are female.

Meanwhile, a recent Guardian article suggested that the hugely popular online game Battlefield 3, which typically involves teams of multiple players on either side, could be encouraging players to be more cooperative and sympathetic in their behaviour – not something usually associated with games. But computer games are an increasingly social medium.

Along with increasing mass-market appeal, the concept of ‘gamification’ has begun to enter everyday life. According to this idea, day-to-day transactions are made more appealing by the introduction of gaming mechanics. Staples of gaming progression, such as building up points, experience, collecting badges, completing levels or challenges and moving up leader boards, are being used to engage the public – for example, allowing loyal customers to earn points, encouraging people to recycle more, or motivating people to achieve health goals.

Console yourself?

So while the idea of the video game creeps into everyday life, what are the developments to watch out for in the market itself? This year brings the usual latest additions to the huge franchises, such as Halo, Metal Gear Solid, Bioshock, and – potentially – the all-conquering Grand Theft Auto.

Meanwhile, console systems are increasingly an integral part of a home entertainment system, as they play video apps, music, or surf the internet – and are at risk from damage, even theft. In addition, the value of a catalogue of games can run into the thousands. Having the right home insurance in place means that as you build up your home entertainment library, you can enjoy peace of mind.

In addition to all this, 2012 is set to see the continuing regeneration of the portable gaming market. With the launch of Sony’s Vita handheld machine, and the continuing development of the tablet and mobile phone game industry, the video game is moving out into the world more than ever.

Issued by Sainsbury’s
Finance Sainsbury’s Finance is a trading name of Sainsbury’s Bank plc. All information correct at time of publication, but may be subject to change. Any views or opinions expressed in this article are the responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of any part of the Sainsbury’s Group of companies.

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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