Page last updated at 01:32 GMT, Saturday, 10 January 2009

Games will 'eclipse' other media

Scene from Guitar Hero
Mike Griffith cited Guitar Hero as a sign of the influence of gaming

Video games are poised to "eclipse" all other forms of entertainment, according to games studio boss Mike Griffith.

The Activision chief made the bold call during a keynote speech at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

He said video games were prospering as interest in almost every other category of entertainment declines.

Mr Griffith said social gaming, more interactivity and better technology would help gaming dominate the entertainment landscape in future.

He said: "Movies, recorded music and TV - these are all stagnating or contracting entertainment sectors."

40% growth

He quoted US market statistics which showed that between 2003 and 2007 sales of movie tickets fell by 6%; the number of hours of TV watched dropped by 6%, sales of recorded music slumped 12% and purchases of DVDs remained flat.

Over the same four-year period, said Mr Griffith, the video game industry grew by 40%.

"Video games are poised to eclipse all other forms of entertainment in the decade ahead," he said.

Scene from the Quantum of Solace game
Gamers will spend longer with James Bond than moviegoers

The success of Guitar Hero, said Mr Griffith, showed how influential gaming had become on many other entertainment sectors.

He quoted Nielsen SoundScan data which showed that artists whose music featured on Guitar Hero had seen a rise in download sales of 15-843%.

The game had proved so popular that some bands, such as Metallica and Aerosmith, were bringing out a version of the game that only features their music.

"Music has a history of evolving through technology and we are at the beginning of the latest chapter in that story," he said.

Technology, community and interactivity were the three factors that would help the video game industry become the driving force in entertainment, said Mr Griffith.

'Story telling'

The powerful processors in consoles such as the PS3 and Xbox 360 meant that games were getting ever more realistic and immersive, he said.

"Games are no longer pre-set trips through linear mazes," said Mr Griffith. "They are becoming a legitimate story-telling medium that rivals feature films."

He cited the video game of the latest James Bond film Quantum of Solace (QoS) as an example of how games were taking over.

Scene from Guitar Hero
Guitar Hero players are sharing their own musical creations

"The moviegoer is passive whereas the gamer is active and part of the game itself," he said, adding that anyone who played QoS would spend more than 50 hours in the company of James Bond compared to only 106 minutes if they watched the movie.

The communities growing up around titles such as Guitar Hero World Tour also showed how entertainment was changing, he said.

Owners of the game had created 141,000 tracks of their own using its in-built mixing studio and uploaded them to the Guitar Hero community site, which now has more than 600,000 members, he said.

More interactive controllers such as the guitars and drums in Guitar Hero and the Wiimote on Nintendo's gaming console were also helping encourage more people to take up gaming, said Mr Griffiths.

"Those new controllers are encouraging new ways to become more socially active in gaming," he said. "They are bringing in a whole new group of consumers that have never before been involved in gaming."

He concluded: "The one thing that is for sure is entertainment is changed forever with gaming."

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