Game industry enthusiasts take an odd joy in pointing out that retail sales for this industry now regularly beat the annual Hollywood box office receipts. It’s a fun headline that makes it look like games are winning the culture war – assuming you resist that urge to scratch the surface.
The reality, of course, is that Hollywood smokes games when you compare apples to apples. Movies don’t disappear once their theatrical run ends. There are pay-per-view revenues, DVD and Blu-ray sales (both the original release and the inevitable director’s cut), initial network rights, syndicated network rights and more. Games? Well, they tend to disappear after a brief stay on retail shelves.