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ESA: Game Business Added $5B To U.S. Economy Last Year

Countering pessimism surrounding lagging industry growth, the Entertainment Software Association said Tuesday that the U.S. video game industry contributed $5 billion to the U.S. economy in 2009.
The video and computer game industry's value added to U.S. gross domestic product was $5 billion in 2009, industry trade group the Entertainment Software Association said Tuesday. Word of the industry's economic contribution comes after repeated month-on-month losses in the video game industry during 2010. March has been the only month that saw month-on-month growth this year, and even that was a modest 6 percent boost. But despite recent declines, the ESA said that from 2005-2009, the game industry saw an annual growth rate of over 10 percent, according to a new study. That's more than seven times the overall U.S. economy's growth rate, the group said. "Despite a challenging economic environment, the entertainment software industry continues to grow and create new jobs at a rapid pace," said ESA president and CEO Michael Gallagher in a statement. In the ESA's study, Video Games in the 21st Century: The 2010 Report, the organization said that the U.S. video game industry directly employs around 32,000 individuals, up nearly 9 percent annually since 2005. The industry employs around 120,000 people directly and indirectly in the U.S. Industry employees, the ESA's study said, earned an average annual compensation of $89,781. Total compensation for all workers directly employed within the game industry was $2.9 billion in 2009. The ESA also said California remains the largest employer for the game industry in the U.S., providing over $2.6 billion in direct and indirect compensation to Californians last year. Game companies in California added about $2.1 billion to the state's economy, and grew by an annual rate of 11.4 percent from 2005 to 2009. Economists Incorporated conducted the study on behalf of the ESA. Other data points provided by the ESA in its full study (methodologies included) are: - Texas ranked second nationally in computer and video game personnel in 2009, with 13,613 direct and indirect employees; - Washington's entertainment software companies directly and indirectly employ 11,225 individuals; - Virginia's computer and video game industry continues to experience tremendous growth, expanding by 77 percent from 2005 to 2009; and - The six states with the greatest number of entertainment software industry employees were, in order, California, Texas, Washington, New York, Massachusetts and Illinois. Gamasutra and Game Developer magazine's research arm, Game Developer Research, offered an alternative data viewpoint in its most recent Game Developer Salary Survey for 2009.

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