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The Daily Tar Heel

Game Over, Hollywood

Video games conquer film industry in sales for the 1st time.

Following the newest wave of video game consoles -- Sony Playstation 2, Microsoft Xbox and Nintendo GameCube -- video-game sales, which include both console and software sales, have skyrocketed. Riding a 43 percent increase over 2000, grosses for the computer and video-game industry totaled $9.4 billion, according to a report by market research group NPD.

Compare that to the $8.41 billion garnered in box office sales in 2001 (according to a report by the Motion Picture Association of America) and one thing becomes clear -- video games aren't just for kids.

"We now see that all kinds of people of all ages are playing -- and obviously buying -- video games," said Beth Llewelyn, director of public relations for Nintendo of America. "We predict that, in total, video games could possibly be greater than a $10 billion industry this year."

And if past trends have been any indication, it will be much more than that. Market analysts, such as the Interactive Digital Software Association, predicted that sales would slump last year due to the crumbling market and decreased spending in entertainment fields following the events of Sept. 11.

Instead, the market surged, showing record growth and sales not only in consoles -- with the release of the new system -- but also in software sales. According to IDSA, Americans purchased 225.1 million units of computer and video games last year.

The huge gain of the industry in the past few years, Llewelyn said, is a reflection of the appeal of video games and their qualities of lasting entertainment.

"Video games are just a lot more fun. At the movies you pay $7 or more to sit for an hour and a half and watch someone else's story," she said. "But with video games you get to have adventures of your own.

"You really just get a better value and more entertainment for your money."

And with newly released games' prices ranging from $30 to $55 -- depending on producer and console -- the industry has no trouble funding its game creation.

But more money does not make for better games, Llewelyn said.

"Some of the best quality and highest-selling games that we currently have on the market are not even visually impressive, much less groundbreaking," she said. "The Pok

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