COMMENT: Seriously, Happy New year

It’s easy to forget, whilst we bask in the glory of another record-breaking year, that just a few years ago, games retail was on its knees. Games hardware was flogged off for around 100, and some triple-A new releases were slashed to under 20 in a desperate attempt to keep the tills ringing. Nintendo was on the back foot, Xbox was in its infancy and it was difficult to see past the all-powerful PlayStation 2.

But just look at us now. A quick glance at this week’s news will tell you everything you need to know about the situation we find ourselves in. From the

record-breaking figures from ChartTrack

, via

Screen Digest’s glowing predictions for 2008

, right up to

gaming’s defiant performance amid a tough retail climate

, it’s a boom time in the games industry.

Interactive entertainment must surely be attracting envious glances from every other other form of media at the moment. And the raw figures in our exclusive ChartTrack report don’t even tell the full story.

Whilst interactive entertainment is different to many other industries, thanks to its continued growth, it faces the same threats as every other entertainment market. So what sets it apart? The people behind those sales stats.

Fresh concepts like Nintendo’s Wii and the DS don’t spew forth from a corporate supercomputer somewhere in Kyoto – they come from the people that work there. Just as the minds behind Xbox kickstarted a revolution in online gaming and the men and women behind PlayStation 3 had a vision of creating an all-encompassing interactive entertainment hub, it is ideas that drive our industry.

The creativity and passion within this business is the real reason we can all afford to be so proud of the achievements notched up over the last year.

As it stands, games industry executives are surely the smartest around. Compared to a movie industry soullessly churning out sequel after sequel and a music market which looks to have lost its way at retail, gaming is a star. And boom time looks set to continue through out 2008, according to Screen Digest.

Happy New Year, indeed.

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