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U.S. Video Game Industry Grows 4 Times Faster than American Economy

Industry job growth increases 9 percent year over year since 2009

Washington, D.C. – WEBWIRE

The U.S. computer and video game industry grew more than 9 percent in real compound annual growth from 2009 to 2012, according to a new study released today by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA). The rate was four times the growth of the American economy during the same time.

The study, Video Games in the 21st Century: The 2014 Report, also found that the annual job growth for the video game industry increased more than 13 times the rate of the U.S. labor market (9 percent vs. 0.72 percent, respectively) during the same period. It shows that approximately 146,000 individuals are directly and indirectly employed by the entertainment software industry.

The study also revealed that the U.S. video game industry added more than $6.2 billion to the American economy in 2012.

“The high-energy, high-tech video game industry is rapidly producing some of the most valuable jobs in the U.S. economy,” said Michael D. Gallagher, president and CEO of ESA, the trade association that represents U.S. computer and video game publishers. “Our industry is one of the nation’s fastest growing economic sectors and represents tens-of-thousands of high-paying, well-educated professionals, artists and creators.”

Economists Incorporated conducted the 2014 report for ESA; it completed two similar studies in 2009 and 2005. Other 2014 findings include:

• The video game industry directly employs in 36 states more than 42,000 individuals — a number that increased by more than 30 percent since the 2009 report;

• Industry employees earn an average annual compensation of $95,000; and

• Total direct compensation for all workers directly employed in the video game software industry was more than $4 billion.

The report examined the video game industry’s contributions to state economies across the nation. California ranks highest in the number of personnel that is directly employed by the video game industry. California’s traditional prominence, however, is threatened by robust incentives currently offered by 21 other states and Puerto Rico.

Underscoring the video game industry’s geographic diversity:

• Nationally, Texas ranked second highest in the number of video game industry personnel, with 17,878 direct and indirect employees; a 49-percent growth since 2009 when the state passed its digital production tax credit. The third highest state was Washington with 12,833 individuals;

• Nevada and Missouri experienced the most growth, expanding by more than 40 percent from 2009 to 2012; and 

• The seven states with the greatest number of entertainment software industry employees – California, Texas, Washington, New York, Massachusetts, Florida and Illinois – collectively employ 32,652 workers; nearly 80 percent of the total, direct employment for the U.S. video game industry as a whole.

ESA offers a wide range of services to interactive entertainment software publishers, including conducting business and consumer research, providing legal and policy analysis and advocacy on First Amendment, intellectual property and technology/e-commerce issues, managing a global content protection program, owning and operating E3 and representing video game industry interests in federal and state government relations. For more information, please visit or follow us on Twitter at @RichatESA or @ESAGovAffairs.


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