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THR's 2012 Digital Power 50

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    Video Games
    The Shooting Stars
    The sophisticated industry is transitioning rapidly from packaged goods to digital downloads.

    Technically, the first video game appeared during the Truman administration -- a dot on a screen that players aimed at targets. Today the sophisticated industry is transitioning rapidly from packaged goods to digital downloads, and PricewaterhouseCoopers predicts revenue will surpass $82 billion worldwide in 2015.

    "Probably 45 out of 52 weekends a year, a video game outgrosses the No. 1 movie," says John Riccitiello, the 51-year-old CEO of Electronic Arts. The company's Madden NFL franchise alone has generated north of $3 billion.

    PHOTOS: THR's 2012 Digital Power 50

    "I thought by now we'd have evolved into more of a storytelling medium," says Bobby Kotick, 48, CEO of Activision Blizzard. "But what really propelled us is the social and interactive components. I expect that to change during the next five years as big-name movie directors and screenwriters embrace video games as actors already have."

    Activision's Call of Duty franchise is approaching $5 billion in global sales, about twice the worldwide box office generated by the Spider-Man movie franchise.

    Perhaps no one understands the nexus of Hollywood and video games better than Strauss Zelnick, former president and COO of 20th Century Fox and now CEO of Take-Two Interactive Software, home of Grand Theft Auto, which has sold 114 million units worldwide.

    "The structure of the video-game industry is similar to the movie business in the 1940s, with talent on staff. It's very interesting," says Zelnick, 54. "I don't believe for a moment that console video games will go away, just as I don't think tentpole films will go away."

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