Media Control GfK International has published a report that shows how sales of video games have outperformed DVD and Blu-ray movie sales for the first time ever in 2008, underlying a definite shift in terms of how people spend their leisure money.
DVD and Blu-ray sales slumped by 6 percent last year to $29 billion while Video games sales shot up by 25 percent to reach a mind-boggling $32 billion; however, DVD and Blu-ray unit sales still trumped games numbers as the latter carry a much high average selling price.
Sales of packaged media grew overall by 6 percent to $61 billion and do not therefore account for any non packaged media sales (like Steam downloads or downloaded movies through iTunes).
GFK is also forecasting that games will grow to represent 57 percent of the packaged media sales by the end of 2009, up four percent over 208 and 10 percent more than in 2007.
Another outfit, Videobusiness, also predicted that games sales will reach $36 billion worldwide, a jump of 12 percent showing that the sector is largely immune to the global economic slump as people prefer to stay home and cut back on going out.
DVD and Blu-ray sales are expected to fall by another 4 percent in 2009 to reach $27 billion although there's a wide consensus that Blu-ray will grow significantly as studios release more movies on the format and hardware prices fall.
The US is still the biggest market for movies with 47 percent of the pie followed by the United Kingdom with a distant 15 percent.
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There are a number of factors that explain why DVD and Blu-ray sales - conventional leisure sources - have slumped. There's rampant piracy which tend to affect the movie industry more than the gaming one. There's the fact that the recession is encouraging people to rent more movies rather than buy them. Plus there's the fact that there's a booming second hand movie business on Ebay and at specialised outlets like Computer Exchange.
Videogames beat DVD & Blu-ray