Game Growth Outpaces Economy
Calling Allan Greenspan:
The U.S. computer and videogame industry's annual growth rate from 2003 to 2006 exceeded 17 percent, according to a study released by the Entertainment Software Association. This growth outpaces the U.S. economy as a whole, which grew at 4 percent during this same period. According to the study, Video Games in the 21st Century: Economic Contributions of the U.S. Entertainment Software Industry:
- The computer and videogame industry's value added to U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2006 was $3.8 billion.
- In 2003 to '04 and 2005 to '06, the industry's contribution to real growth exceeded its share of GDP by more than four to one.
- The entertainment software industry directly and indirectly employs more than 80,000 people in 31 states.
- U.S. game industry employees received total compensation of $2.2 billion.
Be a Bar Hero
Peavey and ArtGuitar, a designer of custom graphics for electric and acoustic guitars, have teamed up to release the RiffMaster Pro bundle, a complete speaker system and guitar controller package for guitar-based music videogame tournaments in bars and clubs.
Exclusively available at www.artguitar.com, the RiffMaster Pro features a Peavey P.A. system offering four 10-inch speakers and two tweeter drivers within a 412 stack exterior design, and two limited-edition AG RiffMaster guitar controllers, which are Peavey guitars modified for play with guitar-based games on PlayStation 2. Choose from 17 different designs, from Megadeth to Lynyrd Skynyrd. True shredders can even plug in real instruments…Next up: air guitar?
AFM Teams With G.A.N.G.
The American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM) announced that its International Executive Board authorized AFM's Diamond Sponsorship of the Game Audio Network Guild (G.A.N.G., www.audiogang.org).
Aimed at capturing a greater share of the videogame-scoring market, the AFM's International Executive Board recently authorized its officers to enter into a series of “one-off” agreements with terms that are consistent with current industry practices. These agreements allow publishers to use videogame music from their titles for all other purposes, including promotional materials such as DVD bonus features, trailers, commercials and soundtrack albums.
“This is really a groundbreaking step by the AFM,” says G.A.N.G. founder Tommy Tallarico. “It's fantastic that the AFM recognizes the importance of the videogame industry and they are making it a top priority to work with us. We're pleased to have them aboard, and look forward to working together to create the finest music possible for videogames.”
All Work, No Play?
If the results of a highly unscientific mixonline.com survey are any indication, audio engineers spend less time playing games than the average gamer, who plays about seven hours per week. We're guessing Mix readers are using all that time to work on their studio tans.
How much time during the week do you play videogames?
One to four hours
Five to 10 hours
Not now, I'm about to beat level 25!
Welcome to GDC '08!
The Game Developers Conference (GDC) takes place February 18 to 22, 2008, in San Francisco, and this year's audio track is shaping up to really rock. Developers and composers alike can benefit from the panels, which range from hands-on advanced skills sessions to real-world case studies. Highlights include “Audio Boot Camp,” “Audio Post-Mortem: HALO 3” and “26 Slick Tricks for Game Dialog and Other Voiced Bits.”
Music licensing is a scorching-hot topic these days, and a host of show sessions target the composer, from panels on understanding underscore deals and working with the AFM to the Composer Challenge 2008. Detailed information on the entire audio track is available at gdconf.com/audio.
And don't miss the always-packed G.A.N.G. events: the 6th Annual G.A.N.G. Awards (February 21) and the Demo Derby, the American Idol of GDC (without all the weeping). Stay up to date with Mix's exclusive show coverage, featuring blogs, podcasts and San Francisco survival guide — coming this month to mixonline.com.
Name the Game
Lost in Translation
Sega released this shoot-'em-up arcade game in Japan in 1989, and an English version debuted two years later. But it wasn't until 2001 that one particularly poorly translated dialog line from the game sparked a major Web phenomenon. If you can name the game and the phrase, send your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org by February 29 to enter in a random drawing to win King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, which chronicles Billy Mitchell and Steve Wiebe's epic battle for the title of Donkey Kong world champion.
Everyone's a Critic
The votes are in: According to Metacritic, which averages “scores” from reviewers at more than 100 top publications, the following titles rank as best-reviewed games of 2007:
Super Mario Galaxy (Nintendo)
Bioshock (2K Games/Irrational)
Call of Duty 4 (Activision/Infinity Ward)
God of War II (Sony)
Out of the Park Baseball 2007 (Sports Interactive)