Why I prefer video games over movies

Video game sales are higher than the combined DVD and Blu-ray sales for the first time. Don Reisinger would pick a video game over a movie any day.

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
3 min read

Global industry-tracking company, GfK, reported Monday that video game sales have overtaken home movie sales for the first time. According to the report, gaming's worldwide revenue reached $32 billion in 2008. In the U.S. alone, the video game industry nabbed $21 billion in revenue.

Combined worldwide DVD and Blu-ray sales fell 6 percent during 2008, chalking up $29 billion in revenue, reports Video Business.

GfK analysts believe 2009 will see the video game industry further its dominance over the DVD and Blu-ray market, raising revenue to $36 billion. The researchers expect DVD/Blu-ray sales to fall another 4 percent to $27 billion during the same period.

Now, it should be noted that revenue isn't always a good measure of comparison between video games and the film industry. After all, video games usually retail for $60 and the most expensive Blu-ray films retail for approximately $30. But the most telling statistic in GfK's study isn't necessarily the amount of cash each industry collected, but rather the rate at which the video game industry grew during 2008 (19 percent since 2007), compared to the rate at which the film industry's sales declined (6 percent). From that, we can gather that consumers aren't as willing to buy films as they once were and, at least in my case, video games have become the preferred form of entertainment.

Video games and Blu-ray or DVD movies are both competing for what little time I have to enjoy entertainment. Usually, that happens during weekends or after I'm done working each night. And although I still watch a slew of films each year, I've realized that if I need to choose between playing a game for a couple hours or finding a movie worth watching, I'll choose the former almost every time.

Maybe I'm a harsh critic, but I've found that most of the movies that are released each year simply don't offer the kind of entertainment value video games do. Each time I pop Madden NFL 09 into my Xbox 360 or GTA IV into my PlayStation 3, I have the opportunity to be entertained for as little as five minutes or as long as all night. And each time, the experience is different. That's something I can't get with movies.

With film, I'm forced to invest 90 minutes just to find out what happens. And in many cases (especially with many of the films I've watched over the past couple years), by the end, I wish I hadn't wasted my time.

But the video game industry is different. It seems that each year, games are getting better. Whether it's Mario Kart Wii for multiplayer fun or Fable 2 when I want to immerse myself in a different world, there's something for everyone in the video game realm that will captivate them.

Obviously, choosing your favored form of entertainment is a personal choice and some enjoy films more than video games. But as the Wii's star continues to soar and the video game industry itself enjoys its rise in popularity, I think more people will realize that movies don't quite stand up to the entertainment value currently provided by titles like Metal Gear Solid 4 or Gears of War 2.

Maybe it's just me, but I'd pick a video game over a movie any day of the week. And based on the aforementioned research, I'm starting to think I'm not alone.

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