Despite troubling times in the world economy, the video game industry has shown remarkable growth, with sales increasing 47 per cent to almost $2 billion over 2008.

Sales of games software in 2008 increased 57 per cent from the previous year, game consoles increased 43 per cent and gaming hardware accessories lifted a whopping 68 per cent.

The GfK figures also highlighted that the most remarkable growth sector for the industry was in family games. The genre grew 157 per cent over the year and is now the number one gaming category.

This figure has definitely jumped due to the ever-growing popularity of consoles like the Nintendo Wii and DS and their approach to targeting the casual gamer.

Over the last year the average gamer has drastically changed, and the stereotypical image of gamers that most people have in their mind has definitely been shattered.

A recent research report by Bond University, titled Interactive Australia 2009, found that the average age of gamers is 30 years old and 68 per cent of all Australians play video and computer games.

Ron Curry, CEO of the Interactive Entertainment Association of Australia, claims that “the increase in sales figures for the games industry demonstrated that interactive entertainment has become as mainstream in popularity, as watching television or surfing the net.”

The industry has obviously changed considerably since the introduction of the current generation of consoles, Curry claims that this is due to the mass appeal of gaming and the ability consoles have to bring families together.

“There is a huge variety of games now on the market, with a wide selection for the entire family as well as specifically for adults, and it’s a great way for people to spend time together.”

The video games industry has definitely witnessed a dramatic rise in popularity. Sales figures show that the industry has actually grown 112 per cent since 2006.