The Week Ahead: The beautiful games

June 7, 2014 

A worldwide audience. Games that cross borders. Play that bridges languages. Billions of dollars and global reputations at stake.

No, this isn't the World Cup. It's three days of show and tell in the new week for the video game industry. It's an industry where technology and entertainment meet resulting in $7 billion dollars per year in sales of games. Add social network games, mobile app games and digital add-ons, and the industry's revenue doubles. Include the consoles and other equipment and the spending on video gaming rivals what U.S. consumers spend on tools and gardening equipment each year.

The E3 trade show is to video gaming what the Consumer Electronics Show is to TVs and other devices. The world's leading video game makers gather in Los Angeles beginning Tuesday to show off their newest innovations. And the business needs some innovating.

Similar to newspapers, magazines, TV and just about every former of media more than a decade old, video games have been interrupted by the mobile revolution. There still are gamers who gorge on high-resolution, music-rich, big-budget games. But "snackers" (casual players of cheap or free games usually played for a few minutes on mobile devices) may be nibbling away at the growth rate.

Microsoft, Sony, Disney and Facebook are just some of the big companies with business riding on games. Scoring in the increasingly competitive environment of gaming requires the same skills winning the World Cup will: imagination and fast reactions.

Tom Hudson, financial journalist, hosts "The Sunshine Economy" on WLRN-FM in Miami, where he is the vice president of news. He is the former co-anchor and managing editor of "Nightly Business Report" on public television. Follow him on Twitter HudsonsView.

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