800 Million Plus Video Game Units Require Rare Earth Elements
It started in the classic arcade, where you could toss your extra coins to play games like pinball in the 1960’s and then Space Invaders or Pac-man in 1980s not to mention the infamous Pong, the first videogame for the home and the various Commodore 64 and Atari games. Today, from the comfort of your own home, it is possible to take part in massive online multiplayer experiences with millions of gamers playing in virtual environments from the middle ages to distant galaxies in outer space.
Over 30 years ago the devices used to run electronic games could barely display pixels (small units of colour, which form images). Today, games feature lifelike lush forests and vast oceans comparable to some of the top contemporary film experiences and the technology is expected to continue improving, making it possible to generate ever more compelling visuals.
Consider the included screenshot above of the game Skyrim to to get a mere glimpse of just how far videogame graphics have come
Having worked at ProEdge Media Corp for over two years now, I have noticed relatively little attention on this market in relation to the demand it places on Rare Earth Elements. The big three (Nintendo, Microsoft & Sony) have sold over 800 million video game units worldwide. Sega Corporation has long been a big console producer but now focuses on producing games.
While Japan has generally been the dominant force in the console industry, American based Microsoft has generally dominated the PC market, entering the console market much later causing a stir in the industry, seeing as the Company already has an immensely loyal gamer fan base on PC.
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Apple has recently entered the handheld industry with its iPhone & iPad and could potentially be a huge contender in the gaming world. They have however been reluctant to offer more complex games like ‘Skyrim’, and ‘Call of Duty’, focusing more on establishing a more arcade gaming fan base. Apple has so far refused to enter the console market and I suspect that, should they do so, they would end up with a very Atari-like arcade selection of videogames, as this seems to be a growing specialty of theirs.
While many videogames focus on game play and graphics enhancement, many also add a story and or plot to enhance the game experience in a variety of settings and contexts from themes related to business and economics to politics. The game ‘Call of Duty Black Ops 2’, for instance, has included the big topic of Chinese control of Rare Earths production in its plotline.
However there is also a large casual selection of video games ranging from sports to dance and music games.
These games all operate on various video game consoles. Every so often Companies like Nintendo, Sony & Microsoft introduce newer and better consoles, featuring upgraded features, which sell immensely every year all over the world. There is also a large demand for accessories to enhance the gaming experience, which can vary from controller additions like an added keyboard to hook onto the controller or casings to alter the shape of the controller into something like a driver wheel. There is also a device that recognizes your own movement enabling the video game to respond acts accordingly; such is one of the features of the Nintendo Wii.
The hardware requires advanced materials to operate effectively. Most controllers are wireless with built in vibration features, likely requiring neodymium magnets and cerium to enhance the infrared or LED wireless technology. The Console unit (i.e. the computer) has a hard drive, RAM (Random Access Memory), and Processor, all assembled from components requiring their own rare earth elements to run effectively.
Nintendo has released its new Wii U while Microsoft and Sony are developing their next generation consoles: Xbox 720 and PlayStation 4. There does not appear to be any indication that apple intends to jump into the console market in the near future however time will tell.
Image Source – http://www.elderscrolls.com/skyrim/media/screenshots/ruined-fort/
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