In a demonstration of how much computers and game consoles have impacted the entertainment market, the NPD has revealed that 2007 was the year in which game sales in the U.S. overtook DVD sales, taking in $18.85 billion compared to $16 billion for DVDs. That dollar amount doesn't represent a substantial and growing segment of the gaming market either - online purchases, such as through Steam or with downloadable subscription based games like World of Warcraft. It's estimated that those types of games have already generated over $1 billion in sales just in 2008 so far.
While not terribly exciting, this does at least represent how far video games have come. In the early days of consoles and behemoth desktop computers, games were often nothing more than a niche market. Now it is one of the largest and most diverse forms of entertainment around. All that growth has come at a cost, however, and it seems that much like movies games are often now depending upon huge budgets to get out the door. Millions of dollars might get sunk into a game that nobody wants to play - and the independent developer has a hard time finding an audience.