Digital Broadband Content

The online computer and video game industry

Computer and video games is a young industry with rapid growth underpinned by technological development. The global market in 2003 was over USD 21 billion compared with USD 32 billion for the recorded music industry. The main segments are off-line consoles and PCs; online and wireless games are still relatively small but there is a general online trend and the industry is increasingly strategic for media, Internet and consumer electronics firms. “Dis-intermediation” is occurring in the value chain as distributor and retail roles are taken by publishers directly or via ISPs and game Web sites. ISPs are also acting as content aggregators and game Web sites and portals as retailers (“re-intermediation”). Development barriers include the availability of network infrastructure, skills and management challenges, financing issues, and the legal and payments infrastructure. The policy framework affecting the industry includes R&D and technology, market and skills development; IPR and piracy issues; online business conditions including broadband quality, micro-payments, standards and taxation issues; and social dimensions including culture, age ratings and content issues, and games applications in education.