Inside Move: Game on

Joystick set defies downturn, adds jobs

The sour economy has forced layoffs in nearly every facet of the entertainment sector, but the vidgame biz is bucking the trend, with new products expected to actually generate jobs in the $20 billion-and-growing biz.

New gaming consoles from Microsoft and Nintendo skedded for stores this fall, combined with continued sales of Sony’s PlayStation 2, look to fuel the need for new games.

But the extent of the demand for developers won’t be known until early next year — after the new consoles prove they are in demand by consumers.

“We’re in a console transition period,” says Paul Cunningham, CEO and co-founder of Interact, which manages the careers of videogame professionals. “It’s slow right now as everyone waits to see how the new consoles will perform. A lot of people are waiting for the holiday season and to determine who will succeed and where future business opportunities will lie.”

Skeptics also question whether the new consoles will, indeed, become hits. Development on several games targeting the new gaming consoles has been nixed as buzz surrounding some of the machines, especially Microsoft’s Xbox, has turned sour.

“There is carnage everywhere,” Cunningham says, “but there are still a ton of small development companies out there doing two and four projects each. … There are still tons of jobs out there for programmers, artists and animators. … Good programmers can still find a job anytime.”

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