Star Wars Proves It: Video Games Are The Money-Making Masters Now

David McNew/Getty Images
David McNew/Getty Images

Star Wars: The Force Awakens burst onto our cinema screens last Thursday, with tens of millions of people around the world going to see it at the cinema.

As one of the most anticipated films of this generation, it’s no surprise that it smashed nearly all box office opening weekend records, raking in approximately $517 million worldwide, according to tracking site Box Office Mojo.

James Cameron’s 2009 blockbuster Avatar remains still the world leader in overall takings, which netted around $2.7 billion globally, but Star Wars is still just in its opening week. Its takings are surely to accumulate rapidly over the holiday period.

But one thing is almost certain: they won’t accumulate as rapidly as a blockbuster video game.

If you compare the figures, launched of major video game titles consistently trump launches of the biggest blockbuster movies. Star Wars netted just over $500 million in a weekend, but on its first day, the smash-hit game Grand Theft Auto V brought in over $800 million.

To put that into perspective, the city-state of Singapore, which has the 6th highest GDP per capita in the world, made about the same amount of money in the same span of time. It was the highest amount brought in by any entertainment product in a 24-hour period. It since bested the new Star Wars about 4 times over, with close to $2 billion in revenues by May 2014.

Other major games tell a similar story. Call of Duty: Black Ops III, as reported in this vertical, brought in $35 million more than The Force Awakens in 3 days, which Fallout 4 then proceeded to beat 2 weeks later.

The numbers couldn’t be clearer. Hollywood is fast losing its grip on the entertainment market. Sales are shifting over to videogames after years of dominance by traditional media. The entertainment habits of America are rapidly changing.

However, society has yet to fully come to terms with the rise of video games. Star Wars-mania was seen all over, with even Hillary Clinton ending the recent Democrat debate with a widely-mocked attempt to be “down with the kids.” Yet both Clinton and GOP frontrunner Donald Trump are on record trashing video games as dangerous influences on America’s youth.

Given that videogames are wiping the floor with films in terms of purchasing power, it is rather odd that the American establishment has yet to fully embrace them. Perhaps Hollywood is just that much more familiar.

Jack Hadfield is a British libertarian writer who spends too much time on Tumblr. You can follow him on Twitter here: @ToryBastard_


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