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by SixFigureStart | December 09, 2009


Interested in the tech field and looking for a growth industry to park yourself in? You could do a lot worse than the computer and video games industry. What's not to like? The 22.9 percent growth it posted in the U.S. in 2008? The fact that U.S. GDP only grew by 0.4 percent in the same period? The fact that the industry is still projected to enjoy double-digit growth this year, despite the economic situation?

Of course, all that growth is driven largely by the fact that the first generation of serious video gamers don't seem to have given up the pastime as they've gotten older. The Entertainment Software Association points out that the average gamer is 35, and has been playing games for 12 years. Not only that, but "In 2009, 25 percent of Americans over the age of 50 play video games, an increase from nine percent in 1999." Clearly we're looking at an industry with a bright future—especially as cellphone technology continues to evolve and offer better on-the-go gaming.

video game controller And it's not just the US industry that's in robust shape: according to the BBC, "The UK gaming industry has so far also appeared to be recession-proof, growing by 12% this year - the same as the previous two years." So positive does the UK government feel about the industry, in fact, that it's just invested some £2.5 million (approx. $4.1 million) in a video games centre at a Scottish university—a move that, along with a couple of other developments, is expected to generate up to 400 new jobs.  (Full disclosure: your writer happens to hail from Dundee, the town where the majority of the funds are being directed. Hence how they came to my attention!)

While the number of jobs created may seem negligible given the wider global unemployment picture, it's important to recognize, as the BBC also points out, that the companies don't come along by themselves: like any creative enterprise, they require an army of professional services—from lawyers and accountants to packaging and distribution specialists—to reach their full potential.

In the minutiae of such developments it's possible to glimpse the story of the wider economy. Indeed, short of a major new development to rival the internet, the path to economic recovery and job growth is likely to come from just these sorts of developments—incremental gains and investments in fledgling companies that lead to a demand for services elsewhere. With that being the case, even those who can't tell a PS3 from an Xbox 360 should be cheering the video and computer gaming industry on.

--Posted by Phil Stott,


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