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Video Games a $68.3 Bln Biz by 2012?

Business consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers is making some forecasts about the future of the video game industry—and the picture is a rosy one. According to the company’s upcoming report “Global Entertainment and Media Outlook: 2008–2012,” video games are poised to jump from a $41.9 billion global industry to a $68.3 billion industry by the year 2012. And here’s an interesting tidbit: neither PC-based games nor the United States will be leading the way.

PricewaterhouseCoopers sees the U.S. falling behind other parts of the world in terms of the overall growth rate of its video game market, trundling along at about 7.9 percent annually to a total of $17.7 billion in 2012. But the company sees Latin America and the Asia Pacific region as the fastest growing game markets, with double-digit growth rates expected in both regions—and that’s not just video games, but also Internet advertising. PricewaterhouseCoopers is also anticipating double-digital annual growth rates for video gaming in the central and eastern European markets, along with the Middle East and Africa.

The company also sees the market for PC-based video games declining over the next four years, shrinking by 1.2 percent a year from $3.8 billion in 2007 to $3.6 billion in 2012.

PricewaterhouseCoopers attributes its forecast shifts in the video game market to an increase in mobile gaming, increased online gaming as broadband penetrates even deeper into residential households, and an increase in massively online multiplayer games that earn revenue through subscription fees and micro-transactions.

And although the company doesn’t make any forecasts for what specific games we might be playing in 2012, it does note that franchises have historically performed very well in the market, so expect sequels to Guitar Hero,Grand Theft Auto,Halo,Mario, and super hero games to continue dominating the landscape.