Kotick: World games industry worth $55bn by 2012

Activision Blizzard might not be a member of E3-organiser the ESA, but that hasn’t stopped it from making a bid to, in the word of one insider, ‘own’ the event.

E3 starts today with press conferences from publishers and format-holders – but Activision didn’t want to wait.

So along with Modern Warfare posters all over the Los Angeles Convention Center, the firm hosted an investors event yesterday (Sunday, May 31st) which ran through its product line-up on the showfloor and views on the industry.

Most significant, however, was Activision’s CEO Bobby Kotick opening the event by detailing the various ways the industry has and will grow – and how his company has overcome what it regularly referred to during the briefing as ‘a tough macro-economic environment and challenging retail situation’.

Kotick told attendant investors that he thinks the global video game industry would grow from $39 billion in 2008 to $55 billion in 2012.

As an antidote the other entertainment mediums, which are shrinking in the recession, he said that games are broadening to include a wider audience thanks to things like Wii. That’s why the firm has invested heavily in the new peripheral-based Tony Hawk: Ride and DJ Hero games, and wants to keep aggressively growing the Guitar Hero franchise.

He also said that games are surviving the recession by offering more value per hour than other entertainment.

He cited Activision own research which said that 18 months ago some 12m played games online with a friend in the US. Today, that number has grown 92 per cent to 23m. About 30m play online with someone they don’t know – a 100 per cent rise in the same amount of time. A similar jump can be seen in the number that play regularly with a team or clan, up from 10m to 17m.

Further proof of the industry’s resilience can be found in consumer spending, Kotick said. Gamers are spending 10 per cent more on titles today than they were a year ago, he said. Plus, Activision itself is seeing uplift of consumer spending – today, after merging with Blizzard and having banner franchises in Call of Duty and Guitar Hero, Kotick said that consumers who previously spent just $50 on Activision titles are spend $500 on the company’s products.

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