Can Gaming Hold Strong?

RebeccaPollardFlickr During the Great Depression, sin and comfort industries like movies, alcohol, and cigarettes remained strong. Ironically, oil and gas did okay too. When you didn’t have much, you could still take a Sunday drive. That’s certainly not the case today, so what are our modern comforts? Look around. We’re fat and lazy.

Confidence in Gaming

Video games did well during the fall of 2007 for good reason. They’re cheap fun, and some would argue just as numbing and addictive as their chemical counterparts.

According to Nintendo North America president Reggie Fils-Aime, the gaming sector does well during hard times. However, the almost $4 billion gaming biz has only been around for since the 1970’s. The Entertainment Software Association, that compiles industry figures doesn’t even have stats going back far enough to shed light on performance during the nineties. Video games are often considered the modern equivalent to arguably the most successful Depression times diversion: movies. But going to the cinema didn’t require Americans to buy the projector AND the film.

In a report issued in March by retail market analysts NPD Group predicted continued growth:

“Even following a red-hot 2007, the video games industry shows no sign of letting up as year-to-date sales through February are up 12 percent over last year. Taking the extra week of sales included in the 2007 figures, on a comparable week’s basis, 2008 is up approximately 26 percent over last year (through February).”

NPD analyst Anita Frazier told MSNBC’s Kristin Kalning:

“The video games industry — like some other forms of entertainment — has acted as though they are recession-proof in difficult times. People still want to be entertained and to enjoy a diversion from their everyday concerns.”

If you’ve got stock in Nintendo, let’s hope that holds.