The U.S. video game industry consists of 2,457 companies that directly and indirectly support 220,000 jobs and generate $30.4 billion in revenue, based on 2015 data, according to a new report from the Entertainment Software Association.
The game industry grew its employment in 2015 at an annual rate of 2.9 percent, or more than double the rate of the overall U.S. job market. Employees in the industry earned an average of $97,000 per year, nearly double the average U.S. household income.
The data comes from the ESA’s Video Games in the 21st Century: The 2017 Report. The game industry’s trade group researched the report in conjunction with the Higher Education Video Game Alliance.
“The 21st century knowledge economy demands a creative and innovative workforce. The interactive entertainment industry is powered by real jobs that develop the most innovative and remarkable technology and entertainment in the world. These high-paying, creative careers build communities all across the U.S.,” said Michael Gallagher, the president and CEO of the ESA, in a statement. “The data we share today details a roadmap for economic growth, and the power of cultivating high-paying, technical careers in interactive entertainment.”
The report says there are 2,322 video game developer locations across all 50 states and the District of Columbia. There are also 526 publisher locations across 44 states. In total, there are 2,858 video game company locations across 84 percent of the congressional districts in America.
Ninety-five percent of video game companies were founded in the United States. Game companies directly employ 65,678 workers in the U.S., while the rest of the 220,000 are indirect jobs. (I count myself in this group, as I write about games for a living).
U.S. video game publishers directly employ 28,556 workers while U.S. video game developers employ 37,122. The U.S. game company industry’s value added to U.S. gross domestic product was more than $11.7 billion in 2015.
In the previous economic impact report published in 2014, the ESA said there were 150,000 jobs in the U.S.
In the new report, the ESA said that the number of game company locations grew 14.1 percent between 2012 and 2014. Between 2013 and 2015, direct employment in the U.S. game company industry grew at an annual rate of 2.9 percent.