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Video games are modern games that make intensive use of images and actions with the aim of engaging certain audience. These games can be considered to be a compelling kind of art just like films and animations. With the modern technological progress, designers have been able to create more complex and interactive video games (Newman 28). In this regard, video games are replacing physical games at an alarming rate. A characteristic feature of video gaming is the fact that it engages different categories of people in the society, people of all ages and genders. In America, for instance, both children and adults spend substantial amount of their time playing these games.
Furthermore, analysts have observed that video gaming, apart from offering recreational incentives, is turning to be a very profitable industry in America. In fact, the industry is contributing more to the American economy than the movie industry. It is also imperative to note that video games are also changing the lifestyle of Americans in various ways, especially socially. With the invention of the internet and the World Wide Web (www) these games have become even more sophisticated since some of them utilize the internet and the web. As such, children and adults are able to play online with other people from the rest of the world.
Though one can present many arguments in favor of video games, they are not without flaws. These games are affecting American culture both positively and negatively. Though some games are educative, others are destructive in the sense that they carry negativity hence promoting immorality among Americans. Such games include those that promote vices like drug abuse, gender violence, criminal activities, use of insulting language, killing of people and animals, racial and gender discrimination among others.
Due to the important role of video games in American culture, many researchers have set out to investigate the impact of videogames on different classes of people, especially children (Brown). The existing empirical literature suggests that some videogames promote development of vital skills such as motor skills among the Americans. However, most games inculcate a culture of violence in Americans. This problem is especially topical among children who are in their formative stages. The findings also argue that video gaming contributes towards poor school performance and social skills among the children. Finally, researchers have termed the move by Americans to substitute videogames for physical games as a terminal one. This is because the games promote less physical exercise and hence health problems like obesity.
In the past decades videogames were perceived by Americans as just mere games. But with the ever increasing recreational demand in America, videogames have incorporated the profit-making aspect. In this regard, many people are selling diverse games for a dollar. In fact, the industry is recognized now as one of the most important industries in America, in terms of contribution to economic growth, e.g. by creating employment opportunities.
It is interesting to note that videogames are utilized by the US military in training recruits. This is based on the argument that such games are important in improving fighting skills as well as dealing with mental stress, associated with the nature of the profession. Though experts and philosophers have warned that this move would camouflage the essence of war, this has not prevented the use of videogames by the military. The US military is producing gamers for commercial purposes. For example, the Modern Warfare 2 sold very well this year, with estimated sales of $1 billion in January alone. The above two examples illustrate the fact that videogames are shifting from just mere games to a profitable multi-million venture.
With the recent rapid development in videogames they have started to feature in national competitions just like any other physical game (Pratchett 42). A number of national championships, viz. Pokémon Championship, have been established in the US. Different categories of people participate in these games and winners are rewarded in a manner similar to that of physical games. In the recent past such competitions have expanded even to other countries. For instance, 25 countries have now obtained the membership of Pokémon Championship.
Additionally, videogames have also been incorporated in the curriculum of various learning institutions in America and elsewhere in the world. Schools are now participating in video gaming tournaments. However, the primary aim behind incorporation of videogames in school curriculum is not a recreational one. These games are meant to improve some vital skills of the participants, viz. learning skills, mathematics skills and social skills.
American Videogame Industry Statistics
There was a huge rise in the US videogame sales up to approximately $ 10 billion in the year 2007. This was equivalent to 6.1% increase in 1996’s sales. Moreover, more than 65% of the total American households now play videogames with the average videogame player being 35 years old, having played these games for at least 10 years. Not only children play videogames; the average age of a frequent purchaser of videogames in America stands at 40 years. In fact, more than 40 percent of all videogame players are women aged 18 years and above. This is a much larger proportion than the proportion of boys aged 18 years and below who play these games. The proportion of the latter stands at 18 percent.
It is imperative to note that the use of videogames in America is on the rise. With this regard, in the year 2008, more than 25% of Americans aged 50 years and above played videogames. This was an increase of 9% as compared with the year 2009.
Lastly, statistics also recognize the role played by the videogame industry in the American economy. To illustrate this, the US videogame industry experienced the growth of 17% in 2006. However, the overall American economy grew by less than 5% during the same period. Furthermore, the industry contributed $ 3.8 billion to the US GDP in 2006, while in the period between 2002 and 2006 the employment level in the industry grew at 5% annually. In absolute terms, the American videogame industry employed more than 80, 000 people in 2006, either directly or indirectly, and the figure rose to 250,000 in 2009.
From the above analysis, it is quite evident that videogames have gained much importance in the US. These games are replacing physical games to a considerable degree. They are also played by all categories of people; young and old, men and women, children and adults. This can be partly attributed to the fact that they require much less energy as compared to physical games. It can also be attributed to the ever changing technology which promotes innovation hence invention. However, the drawbacks of these games should not be overlooked. Therefore, Americans should only embrace videogames that do not contradict public policy. Videogames that are repugnant to the law or generally accepted societal norms should be discouraged. As a result, videogames will change the American culture positively.