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ENGLISH ISU (The video game industry is very beneficial to our worlds economy)

The video game industry is very beneficial to our worlds economy 

“I don’t think it is specific to video games. I think that if you look at how much volatility there is in the economy and, dependent upon your view about macroeconomic picture and I think we have a real culture of thrift. And I think the goal that I had in bringing a lot of the packaged goods folks that we brought in to Activision 10 years ago was to take all the fun out of making video games. I think we definitely have been able to instil the culture, the skepticism and pessimism and fear that you should have in an economy like we are in today. And so, while generally people talk about the recession, we are pretty good at keeping people focused on the deep depression.”

– Bobby Kotick, Activision Blizzard, Inc. – President and CEO

     The video game industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in the worlds economy. In fact, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers, the North American video game market will continue growing by approximately five percent annually through 2015. From 2005-2009 the industry’s real rate of growth was more than seven times the real rate of growth for the entire economy. In addition, computer and video game companies posted strong overall sales in 2011 with revenues of nearly $25 billion as entertainment software companies continue to provide jobs to state and local economies across the world. In this regard, the video game industry is definitely beneficial to our worlds economy.

     A healthy economy benefits from employment opportunities and perks. If a company has multiple job offers, they can use the internet to advertise that. The video gaming industry does advertise job offers over the internet. At the end of every month, most video game companies will actually designate people to the task to setting up online engines for job opportunities. An example of this would be the official Blizzard entertainment website. On the top of the page, you can select a tab labelled “work for us”. On the page they give a brief run down of what it takes to be a Blizzard employee and the multiple job offers they have listed. They also give you the dead-line in which they hope to have the position filled, and state that the page is refreshed at the end of each month, or when all positions are filled. Other gaming companies have done this very same thing, or like I said earlier create specific online engines for mass amounts of employment opportunities. Another way to look at job opportunities would be to see if a company offers multiple different kinds of positions.  The video gaming industry is loaded with a huge amount of variety in the job market. Now most people probably think that being in the video game industry, you have to be really good at Math because most of the employment there are game designers. Well, this isn’t true as there is so much more that goes into a single game than just the people who animate it. First off, yes you need your typical game designers, otherwise there would be no game. It doesn’t end there though as you also need artists to come up with the games visuals, and than writers so the game actually has a story ark to follow. Next you need voice actors to bring the games characters to life. When the game is in the steps of being made, you need game testers to work out the bugs, and most video game companies higher people to do Q&A with the fans to get a better grasp on what they may or may not add to the final product. You need a production team, and you also need programmers to make sure that the graphics work well and are fluent. When it comes to online gaming, you need to have a support/hotline in case of any online errors or issues fans need addressed asap. Obviously you need a manager for the production team, and lastly you need a marketing team. When the game is in the works, how do you think the fans know anything about it? This is because of the marketing team as it is their job to advertise the game in hopes that the hype they create will return with profit. So with all that, it’s obvious to see the gaming industry does support multiple different positions. It’s also good to know that when a new company is established, there are jobs available. Game companies establish new studios and employment opportunities come with. In July 2011 Louisiana State University (LSU) and Electronic Arts (EA) broke ground on the 94,000-square-foot LousianaDigitalMediaCenter, which will eventually house 600 video game development workers and LSU’s Center for Computation and Technology. With digital media software development poised to take over as one of Louisiana’s top growth industries, lawmakers are eager to invest in the facility that will provide students with state-of-the-art technology necessary for professional development. In addition to housing EA and LSU’s Center for Computation & Technology, the center will also be home to the new AVATAR initiative at the university, which will unite faculty and students to conduct research and develop programs in the fields of digital art and technology.In addition, lawmakers across the country are introducing tax incentive laws into their state legislatures with the hope of attracting game companies that fuel the economy. Pennsylvania, Georgia, North Carolina, Florida and Louisiana are just a few of the states that have proposed and passed legislation offering incentives to the video game industry. These incentives create a welcoming operating environment for entertainment software companies, fostering job creation and adding value to each state’s economy.

     An economy will benefit from having items that are  in high demand. An easy approach to defining what high demand looks like would be if your item makes some high sale figures. The video game industry always achieve high sale figures, especially on opening day for a new game. Forget the opening day sales record of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, which earned $91 million last July 15 and went on to earn $381 million domestically. A video game, Activision Blizzard’s “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3,” raked in $400 million in the U.S. and the U.K. within 24 hours after it was launched. In a statement, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said, “We believe the launch of ‘Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3′ is the biggest entertainment launch of all time in any medium, and we achieved this record with sales from only two territories.” Another example would be Grand Theft Auto IV, the game sold approximately 6 million units globally with an estimated retail value of more than $500 million in the first week. The game sold approximately 3.6 million units on its opening day with a retail value of approximately $310 million globally. As a result, Grand Theft Auto IV broke the previous video game launch record (At the time, 2008) set by Halo 3, $170 million, and the all-time entertainment launch record of $404 million set by Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. “We knew Grand Theft Auto IV would break new ground in terms of the player’s experience, with its compelling story line, extraordinary gameplay and action that ranges over a broad urban canvas. Now, it has broken sales and rating records as well. Grand Theft Auto IV’s first week performance represents the largest launch in the history of interactive entertainment, and we believe these retail sales levels surpass any movie or music launch to date. We congratulate the entire Rockstar team on creating a must-have experience that takes the legendary Grand Theft Auto franchise to a new level,” said Strauss Zelnick, Chairman of Take-Two. Just as sale figures can represent items in high demand, so can the actual amount of the product sold.  Video game companies tend to sell mass amounts of their products to meet the demand of gamers. We know now that MW3( Modern Warfare 3) had successfully broke the record for highest selling in the entertainment business, but what does that look like in the amount of products sold? Well Modern Warfare 3 managed to sells 6.5 million copies in the first 24 hours after launch. In its first week of sales, Modern Warfare 3 totaled 12.3 million units, making it the biggest launch of all time and pulling in an estimated $738 million in revenue. The Xbox 360 version of the game lead sales with more than 7 million copies, a record for game sales on a single console that was previously held by Call of Duty: Black Ops (5.8 million), and 4.8 million copies were sold for the PlayStation 3. Nintendo’s Wii split the remaining half-million copies with the PC version of the game. All in all, those are very impressive statistics, and only for one game to. Lastly, I believe that an item in high demand will either be sold out in pre-orders or pretty close to it. When a video game company markets their game well, pre-order sales tend to always become sold out, or like I said really close to it. After only three weeks of pre-order availability in North America, Assassin’s Creed III is already setting some records.  Ubisoft (Video game company) has announced that the fifth installment in the series “is on track to become the highest pre-ordered game in the company’s history.”  To put this in perspective, not only is Assassin’s Creed III outpacing all previous titles for pre-orders and 10 times the the number of pre-orders of Assassin’s Creed Revelations during the same time period, but also has more pre-orders than Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood life-to-date, which sat at 120,440 pre-orders, Assassins Creed III however has made pre-order sales of 378,083. Coming end of June, Ubisoft will stop all pre-order sales as it is reaching its maximum, in other words sold out.

     An economy will always benefit from making money for it’s countries and people . Obviously one way to make money is to have a stock of items to sell. The video game industry has a vast stock of things they can sell, and make big bucks from it. In 1996, the U.S. entertainment software industry accounted for a modest 74.1 million units sold and $2.6 billion in sales revenue. Fifteen years later (2007), video game companies sold 245.6 million units, leading to an astounding $16.6 billion in software revenue and $24.75 billion overall. As Brandon Curial, president and CEO of game developer and publisher Venan Entertainment Inc.. says, “You have the older gamers that haven’t stopped playing, and you have younger kids that are getting into it every day. With something like the Nintendo Wii, you even have parents playing these games now. Each year, the market just expands, and it’s going to keep expanding for, well, a long time.” According to data recently released by The NPD Group, in 2011, U.S. video game software sales reached $8.8 billion (229.8 million units) and computer game sales were $450 million (15.8 million units). In addition, consumers increasingly enjoy digital game content. The NPD Group reports that purchases of digital full games, digital add-on content, mobile apps, subscriptions and social network games accounted for 31 percent of game sales in 2011, generating $7.3 billion in revenue. The nation’s growing appetite for video game content also sparks sales of consoles and related accessories, which generated more than $8 billion in revenue in 2011. Typically when companies do well, there sales help in a countries economy as well. The video game industry actually does help improve economies through game sales. California, Texas, Washington, New York and Massachusetts currently have the highest number of video game jobs. Collectively, these areas directly employ more than 22,000 workers and post nearly 71 percent of the industry’s total direct employment. What has this done for those individual states though? California is home to the largest number of video game personnel in the nation, accounting for approximately 41 percent of total industry employment nationwide. These companies provided over $2.6 billion in direct and indirect compensation to Californians in 2009. California’s computer and video game industry grew by a real annual rate of 11.4 percent from 2005 to 2009, compared to a period of negative growth for the state’s overall economy, and added $2.1 billion to the state economy. Texas ranked second nationally in video game personnel in 2009, with 13,613 direct and indirect employees. The industry added more than $490 million to the state economy and grew by a real annual rate of approximately 13.7 percent from 2005 to 2009, nearly five times the growth of the state’s overall economy. Washington has the nation’s third largest number of video game personnel, with 11,225 direct and indirect employees. The Washington game industry grew by an annual rate of approximately five percent since 2005, more than three times the growth of the state’s overall economy, and added nearly $480 million to the state’s economy in 2009. Coming in fourth for number of entertainment software personnel is New York with 5,474 direct and indirect employees. The industry added nearly $270 million to the state economy in 2009, and grew by an annual rate of approximately five percent since 2005, more than six times the growth of the state’s overall economy. In 2009, Massachusetts ranked fifth nationally in video game personnel, with 4,692 direct and indirect employees. The Massachusetts game industry grew by an annual rate of almost nine percent since 2005, more than 27 times the growth of the commonwealth’s overall economy, and added more than $180 million to the commonwealth’s economy in 2009. One last thing to note about making money is that if you do clever marketing you can make more money. The video game industry is widely known for very clever sometimes considered evil marketing. First things firsts, in order to play a game which roughly costs $60 to $80 you need to buy a system (PlayStation, Xbox, Wii). Video game systems tend to cost well over $200. It may not seem like very much but it adds up over time, especially since a system like the Nintendo Wii has sold over $95 million units. Selling systems and games though are not the only ways to make money for this industry, which is crazy when thinking about how much just those two things actually do for the industry in sales. Another method the gaming industry wishes to start doing is day 1 DLC (Downloadable Content) to purchase with the game. Electronic Arts’ Chief Operating Officer Peter Moore discussed the dual importance of both digital and physical retail sales for his company’s games. “The key thing [for boosting launch revenue] is selling digital content on the day of launch,” said Moore, “When we sold Mass Effect 3 back in March, we saw a 40 percent attach rate that first week to DLC at GameStop in the United States. Not only are you selling a $60 game… you’re selling $20 DLC, so the sale becomes $80.” I can take 2 more examples of clever marketing just from the game Mass Effect 3. The first one being a battle pass. Now some games that come out have the option to play online with friends, but with Mass Effect 3, if you don’t purchase the game brand new, you need to buy a separate “battle pass” which is an additional $10 dollars. The next little clever marketing tactic in this game is the online store. No I don’t mean a store to buy actual real life items. While playing the Mass Effect 3 online multiplayer,  there is a store that sell equipment packs that you can buy through in game money. The kicker here is that the player has the option to use their own real life money to purchase these equipment packs. Other games have done things similar to this like Battle Field 3. Just recently EA (Electronic Arts) set up a premium membership for the online play in BF3. This new option requires the play fork over $60 a year so they can have extra or early content that will be available to all players eventually. Modern Warfare 3 does this exact same thing. I also want to point out that something that relates to my comment on digital downloads. All of the gaming systems offer real online stores in which you can pay yearly funds of roughly $60 again, to purchase full games online and download them to your system. This is just one more way for a company to market their games, and to make money off the fans.

     After looking at all of this information I have to ask, is the video game industry beneficial to our worlds economy? Well first off, I stated that a healthy economy will benefit from employment opportunities. It’s really obvious to see that this industry has a surplus of employment opportunities for such a wide variety of people. Other cities around the world are open to and welcome video game companies opening new studios to hopefully foster new jobs for people. Next I pointed out that an economy will do well if they have items in high demand. By showing some rough sale figures on some top selling games, I think I easily proved that the video game industry have tons of high demand products, and will most likely remain that way. As long as people play games, they will be in demand. Last I talked about how making money is definitely beneficial to an economies growth.  The video game market absolutely makes huge amounts of money, and tend to always make profit from their products. It’s also been proven that video game companies have already been helping out with some big cities in the U.S. adding millions to billions of money to the states economy. So to answer my question, yes I do believe that the video game industry is very beneficial to our worlds economy.

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Water: The Endangered Species

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“Ocean: A body of water occupying two-thirds of a world made for man – who has no gills.”
― Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary

I wonder how much of us each enjoy a nice cold glass of dripping wet water on a humid summer day? I know I do, but that luxury isn’t something we may be able to continue in the future. Everyday was is being polluted and wasted for agriculture, industry, energy, but it isn’t being properly shared among the people of our world. When it really comes down to it, 97% of the earths water is salt water. That only leaves 3% of fresh water for everyone in the world. However, that 3% isn’t even what is fully available to us. Of that 3%, only 0.3% is truly available to us, and that is the fresh water that comes from our lakes and streams and rivers. The worst part about that is that a lot of our water is used in such wasteful ways it becomes a polluted mess that we can’t use anymore.

I can’t stress how important I really feel this issue is. I don’t think people comprehend the fact that WE ARE RUNNING OUT OF WATER. I don’t mean this in a literal sense obviously, but if we continue to waste and pollute water, we won’t be able to healthily live off of the most vital resource to us for a very long time.

70% of the earth is covered by water, but 97% of that is found in oceans and seas, with another 2.4% in glaciers and polar ice caps.  That leaves very little fresh water for all of its various needs, including most importantly consumption, sanitation, and agricultural production. This has not yet proven to be a disasterous situation in the United States—despite some scares as the recent drought in the southeast—where the average resident consumes 100 gallons of water a day.  But to put it in context we need to note that in some places in the world the most indigent people subsist on 5 gallons of water a day—when they can get it.  Nearly 50% of the people on earth do not have water piped into their homes, and in some developing countries women walk an average of 3.7 miles a day to get what they need.

Reservoir in China’s Yunnan Province

Here  we have a picture of the earth dried and cracked, its parts broken and fragmented rather than blended.  There are no signs of movement in the photograph, there are no signs of life at all.  One of the often claimed effects of such desertification is a dangerous reduction in biodiversity, but here it is hard to imagine any biology at all.   Of course, even the slightest accumulation of moisture might change that, resulting in a dessert oasis, but the extreme close-up of the photograph locates the image in the here and now.  It is a human’s eye view, of what is happening right now, and what may happen everywhere if we run out of water.

An oil pump taps deposits of petroleum deep beneath the Earth.

Did you know that 80& of water usage in our very own country Canada is by industry. Here I can give a good example of how water is just wasted. Huge amounts of water, fresh water mind you is used to extract oil from the ground using various different types of oil pumps. That’s all fine an dandy, expect when you don’t consider what happens to that water afterwards. Do you know? Or do you want to know? How many people sit back and willingly take what you hear from you Government, the news, a friend or two for fact? Well did you know that much of that water actually becomes so contaminated it can no longer be used. And guess what!! At the rate we are going now, oil pumping, and huge oilsand projects will continue, meaning the demand for water is only going to get that much bigger in the future! Do you really think our world can sustain using so much water to pump a resource that in retrospect has been a key factor to much of the conflict on our planet. I’d like to think we as humans can understand the significance of the issue here, but as long as we have politics finding a way to convince the populace we still have water – depleting the last available glass left for the world – people will most likely sit and agree.

Straight down to the point, there are so many different ways we are polluting and wasting our water, not just the ones I mentioned, that you could almost look at water as its own endangered species. Like a creature finding its way to survive among the harsh punishment that is our own “much needed” luxury.