Gaming has always been popular, but this has increased exponentially over the last few years. Whereas gaming was once seen as 'geeky' and 'uncool,' nowadays, geeky IS cool. You can blame the huge rise of comics and 'cosplay' conventions such as Comic Con for contributing to this massive change in perception.
But how big can gaming get? Where does it end? I personally believe that gaming will continue to rise in popularity as virtual reality becomes more dominant. This Christmas, you can pretty much guarantee that kids from all over the world will include 'VR headset' in their letters to Santa.
However, for an industry that has become so massive, music and film seems to have gotten left behind. Amazingly, this year, the money spent on games is expected to reach $92b, which is more than consumers spend on movies ($62b) and recorded music ($18b) combined.
This means that the games industry is now five times larger than the music industry, and 1.5 times larger than the film industry. But why? I'd say the obvious thing is that computer games are much harder to crack than music and there is less emotional involvement and interaction in films and music.
You can't interact with an MP3, nor can you dictate the scenes in a film (at least not now). And whilst it's quite easy to illegally download an MP3 or a film online, it's much more difficult to crack a PlayStation or an XBOX game, not to mention that independent gaming is now incredibly popular, but let's face it - hacking Steam isn't an option for most people.
I believe that this is why X Factor and crowd funding sites such as Pledge Music are so popular. Not only is it impossible to hack the X Factor, but people feel actively engaged and involved in the process and they find that rewarding. There is a similar amount of emotional involvement and interaction in computer games.
Whereas some people feel that the music and film industries have a dark, depressing future ahead, I disagree entirely. If anything, these findings expose and open the door to some incredible new opportunities for musicians and film makers to captivate fans and make money in ways that were never before possible.
'Synchronization' (music written for film, television, advertisements, games, and so on) is an industry that has been growing steadily over the past few years due to the arrival of new medias. If the games market continues to grow, it will give more musicians the opportunity to make music for games than ever before.
Also, I believe that there is a way to replicate the sense of involvement, satisfaction and control that X Factor and computer games provide for millennials. Imagine this. Imagine that you rented out a movie where you could pick what happened next - creating multiple outcomes so that every watch was different. This would create involvement.
Is it possible in music, too? Yes it is. Concerts and music releases could become interactive. Fans could vote for which song they want to hear next or fire questions out to the band live on stage. Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails has already tried something similar a few years ago by releasing the audio files as part of the album package.
This allowed people to create their own versions of songs and upload them to a special website where fans could share their ideas with others. The idea was hugely popular. And this is why Guitar Hero is so popular, too. People can learn how to play their favourite songs on a toy guitar and compete with friends.
I believe that games have opened the door to new opportunities, and it's down to us to tap into those opportunities and create innovative new experiences that not only hook fans, but generate additional revenue.
It's up to us as creators to accept what's happened and find ways to create new experiences for our fans. When we do, it's only a matter of time before music and film starts to rise again. And when that happens, more jobs will be created - creating more harmony for music and film graduates, and for those industries in general.