According to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers, global spending on videogames will outpace that of music this year.
In the U.S., the games market is predicted to top that of music in 2008. Driving the growth will be online and wireless gaming, new console releases, and the growing in-game advertising business.
The report predicts a compound annual growth rate of 9.1 percent, resulting in a worldwide gaming market worth $48.9 billion in 2011. The figures include spending on games only, and do not factor in gaming hardware and accessories. The Asia-Pacific region is expected to remain the greatest overall spender on gaming, reaching $18.8 billion by 2011, by the combined Europe-Middle East-Africa region is expected to show a slightly higher growth rate, at 10.2 percent. Growth in the U.S. is expected to trail all over regions during this period, shrinking from 15.5 percent this year to 3.3 percent by 2011.
However, the report also expects a continuing decline in the PC games market in the U.S., shrinking from $969 million in 2006 to $840 million in 2011.
"Videogaming is one of the most exciting stories in terms of pure growth numbers," said Marcel Fenez of PricewaterhouseCoopers. He also said that the overall gaming market will continue to expand and become "somewhat more female and older" due to the growing popularity of casual games and the arrival of gaming as an "important part of culture."