Get into the game

Hollywood’s reign as the entertainment capital of the world has been in decline lately as production companies cross the ocean and the border looking to stretch their dollars a little further. Canadian and Australian film industries have benefited greatly, as have those in England and New Zealand.

The state of California and the various unions based around Hollywood are actively lobbying against this outsourcing of locations, and have even proposed tariffs on movies that were produced in other countries but are meant to resemble the U.S.

However, the biggest threat to the movie industry these days isn’t wandering studios, the emergence of reality television, or, for that matter, the sad reality that two out of three movies should probably have never been made in the first place.

The biggest threat these days is gaming.

According to a Wired Magazine report, in 2001 the movie industry generated $14 billion in revenues from the box office and rental markets world-wide. In contrast, Americans alone spent more than $8 billion on games for their computers and consoles, plus another $7 billion at the arcade.

Many of the top games are made from successful movies – look at the list of Star Wars games, for example – and some movies even sprouted out of the gaming industry – such as Tomb Raider and Final Fantasy. Some of the companies that create movies and games are even owned by the corporate entities.

All the same, games are a growing industry while the motion picture industry seems to have hit a wall.

In fact, the movies that seem to do the best in the box office these days are the ones that can easily be made into great games – Spider-Man, for example, or The Lord of the Rings.

E.T. The Extra Terrestrial was actually the first movie with a video game crossover, as well as the first movie to include paid-for product placements. Other early game tie-ins include the vector-based arcade games for Star Wars and Tron.

In a very real way, today’s top video games can even be superior to the movies. They are interactive, visually compelling, and in some cases incredibly realistic. They also include short movies in between stages in game play with breathtaking animation. The voices for the animated characters are often provided by top Hollywood stars.

The plots themselves are limitless in scope, and people seem more willing to suspend their belief playing a game than they are for movies. People don’t look for plot holes in games, and poor scripts are more easily forgiven if the game is fun to play,


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