Video Games


In the run up to Christmas 2010 Call of Duty: Black Ops became the fastest selling video game ever - notching up nearly US$ 360m in sales on its first day. Neither Hollywood blockbuster nor hit album has ever made so much money so quickly.  Video games have become, in some ways, the most popular and valuable medium and their influence on all other media have been huge. By combining text, audio and video and involving players in an intense and interactive experience games are proving to be the key transition between the media’s analogue past and its digital future. The degree to which such games have become a rich narrative experience was emphasised by the extensive background research and huge production budget for Call of Duty.  It was treated like a major Hollywood movie with the emphasis on story as much as game play. Mark Lamia the studio head who produced it comments:

 “The story is being told from the moment you put in your disc to the end of the campaign… It is so immersive; the story is tied to everything you are doing” 

Social gaming company Zynga was only created in 2007. It offers simple and basic games like Farmville accessed on Facebook which allows players to operate their own farm by growing crops and raising animals. Within three years of its foundation Zynga had more than 300 million active users for its games and was valued at over US$ 5 billion.  Part of its huge success is selling players, for real cash, virtual goods like ploughs and tractors.  Zynga founder Mark Pincus says:

 When you go and see a movie, what do you leave with? Nothing physical – just the experience of the film. Well, this is the same. It’s entertainment – people are buying into the game in a bid to be more entertained.

The Nintendo character Super Mario celebrated his 25th anniversary at the end of in 2010 and had, by then, sold more than 240 million units across all the various games platforms. Along with feature films, comic books and character merchandise Mario has become a hugely valuable global multi-media franchise. 


The First Pong game