AUSTRALIANS have splurged more than $250 million on video games in the run-up to Christmas.
New sales figures reveal the mammoth avalanche of cash for the first three weeks to December 20. And market analysts GfK expect games-mad consumers to have parted with a further $100 million during the final week of Christmas.
Consumers are on track to pass last year's record $1.96 billion spent on games — a figure 40% up on 2007 sales. GfK analyst Brendan Dowd said the games industry might pass the magic $2 billion sales mark for the first time.
"The last week of Christmas is a very, very big week indeed," Mr Dowd said.
The video game industry has grown at a phenomenal rate over the past few years. While the global financial crisis did nothing to slow the jangle of cash registers when it came to games, experts predict 2010 will be even bigger.
On the horizon are ever more realistic games that blur the lines between Hollywood cinema and game-playing, next generation wireless controllers that mimic human movement on-screen and 3D TV. Nintendo is expected to take the phenomenal success of their best-selling Wii console to the next level, with a rumoured hi-definition version to put them on a visual par with HD—capable rivals Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.