Any longtime gamer knows of that gut wrenching feeling that comes along when a mainstream media or entertainment source does a video game story. From news stories that claim violent video games are kid’s toys to Jay Leno jokes that paint gamers as basement dwellers and virgins, it often seems that the industry stats aren’t known by much of what passes as news and entertainment these days.
The facts are hard to deny, however. The Entertainment Software Association statistics show the average age of a video gamer in 2010 was 37 years of age with 72 percent of American households accepting gaming as a regular form of entertainment. All said, the US spent $25.1 billion on video gaming last year alone, nearly two-and-a-half times more than they spent at the movies over the same time period.
While there have still been plenty of head shakers in the mainstream this year, overall 2011 has shown many signs that video gaming is finally gaining acceptance as the mainstream form of entertainment it is.
– The release of Batman: Arkham City made the monologue on Conan last week with a parody clip similar to what is typically done with major new films and political figures.
[youtube width=”600″ height=”480″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fj9BN3WLHLg[/youtube]
– A lengthy television commercial for Google features gamer Brian Kingrey, the winner of the $1 Million contest onMLB2K11. The clip shows how Kingrey studied and prepared for the contest by doing research on the search engine and speaks to several of his friends. He also appears briefly in a shorter Google commercial. Both ads debuted during NFL football games on Sunday.
– NBC’s Late Night With Jimmy Fallon regularly features previews of hot new gaming releases and guests from within the industry. Shortly after the 2011 E3 Expo the show even featured an entire week dedicated to gaming, complete with special opening credits.
– Former Donkey Kong champion Steve Wiebe makes a short cameo as a security guard in hit film Horrible Bosses. Reportedly, Colin Farrell’s character of Bobby Pellitt was inspired by another former Donkey Kong champ in Billy Mitchell.
– Members of the US Congress and reps from the video gaming industry formed the Caucus for Competitiveness in Entertainment Technology (E-Tech Caucus) to help continue to foster growth in the video game industry due to its impact on the economy and job market.
– The characters from Angry Birds appear in an ad for Wonderful Pistachios alongside numerous celebrities and pop culture icons. Costumes from the game are among the most popular Halloween costumes this year as well.
Some 40 years after the release of the video game to mainstream consumers and revenue that trumps the previous kings of the entertainment industry, it appears that gaming is finally taking a seat alongside television, film and music as an accepted form of mainstream entertainment.