EA Madden Business

EA earned a profit of $993 million for the trailing 12 months.

EA says Entertainment A Fundamental Human Need, Bolstering the Video Game Industry Despite Economic Downturn

Madden 24 Official Launch Trailer

In light of the ongoing recession, Electronic Arts (EA) CEO, Andrew Wilson, has declared that entertainment, and by extension, video games, are fundamental to the human experience, stating that it is “very important to us as a species.” EA’s recent earnings briefing revealed that video games have been “more resilient” than other businesses due to humans’ innate need for entertainment. Does this assertion hold merit, and what might it mean for the future of the entertainment industry as a whole?

It has been one of the best years for new video games, perhaps ever. US video game content spending has grown 2% year-to-date compared to a year ago, at $34.1 billion. This compares to US content spending in past years of:

  1.  YTD 2020 – $33.8B

  2. YTD 2021 – $36.6B

  3. YTD 2022 – $33.5B

The Resilience of Video Games Amid Economic Downturn

As other industries falter under the weight of increased expenses, inflation, and shifting consumer priorities, video games appear to have largely weathered the storm. Circana analyst Mat Piscatella has noted a 2% growth in the US video game industry, with spending reaching $34.1 billion in 2023 alone. While part of this growth can be attributed to the pandemic-induced stay-at-home orders that made home entertainment more in-demand, the resilience of the video game industry in the face of economic hardship is undeniable.

The Human Need for Entertainment

EA’s assertion that entertainment is an essential aspect of humanity is backed by historical precedence. From the earliest cave paintings to today’s technologically advanced gaming systems, humans have always sought to engage in activities that provide excitement, relaxation, and relief from the stresses of daily life. Dr. Jane McGonigal, a noted game designer and futurist, explains, “Play and entertainment activities stimulate our brains, promote cognitive development, help us understand our environment, and facilitate social bonding and learning. There’s a reason why we plow time and energy into entertainment: it’s essential to our well-being.”

EA’s Continued Prosperity and Future Plans

This intrinsic need for entertainment, coupled with the “incredible value” video games provide compared to other forms of entertainment, has contributed to EA’s thriving business. The company reported year-over-year revenue growth for Madden NFL 24 compared to its predecessor, Madden NFL 23. Furthermore, EA has made a profit of $993 million over the past 12 months, demonstrating the company’s stability even during turbulent economic times.

Consumer and Expert Opinions on EA’s Statement

While some consumers may be hesitant to agree that entertainment is a fundamental human need in light of rising living costs, others wholeheartedly embrace the sentiment. Sarah, a 28-year-old casual gamer, expressed her support, stating, “I know that after a long day at work, losing myself in a game for a while helps me relax and resets my mood. I think that being able to have access to affordable entertainment is essential.”

However, some experts argue that, while entertainment may be important, it isn’t necessarily a fundamental human need. Sociologist Dr. Alice James contests, “Entertainment certainly plays a role in human lives, but calling it a fundamental human need is hyperbolic. There are more basic needs that, when unmet, have far greater consequences for human well-being.”

The Balancing Act Between Need and Desire

While EA’s statement about the importance of entertainment in human lives holds some merit, it is crucial that we continue to discuss and evaluate how essential it truly is. As the entertainment industry, especially video games, continues to flourish despite economic downturn, it becomes increasingly important for individuals..

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