The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) reports the gaming industry is growing more than four times as fast as the rest of the US economy. ESA says the video game industry grew 17 percent from 2003 to 2006, far outpacing the 4 percent general growth of the US economy.
Retail sales totaled $7.0 billion in 2005, and sales of games for both PCs and consoles grow from 74.1 million units in 1996 to over 250 million units last year.
"Computer and video game companies play an ever increasing role in our nation's growing economy," said Michael Gallagher, CEO of the ESA. "These companies and their colleagues across the nation are making entertainment software one of the fastest growing industries in the United States."
The gaming industry added a total of $3.8 billion dollars to the GDP of the US in 2006, while employing, either directly or indirectly, 80,000 people across 31 states. Which state enjoys the most benefit? California, where around 40 percent of the US video game industry is employed. The gaming companies provided $1.8 billion dollars in compensation to Californians in 2006 and the industry grew 12.3 percent in California alone, tripling the general rate of state economic growth.
The study also makes a case for the US government to start tracking growth in the gaming industry. "While the growth of the industry can be clearly seen in industry source data, most government statistical references in the United States do not report software game publishing as a separate US industry," the report explains. "In US statistics, software game publishing is typically included within the broader industry category of software publishing."