To discover one of the fastest growing segments of the Utah economy, look to the game console sitting in front of the television or the desktop computer.
Utah's video-game industry grew by more than 32 percent from 2005 to 2006, according to a study released Tuesday by the Entertainment Software Association. The industry added approximately $77 million to the economy in 2006, compared to $58 million in 2005.
With eight video-game developers and two publishers in Utah, 477 people are directly employed in the industry. More than 1,000 others are employed indirectly by companies that provide products and services used by the publishers and developers.
The numbers do not account for several new studios, such as Eat Sleep Play, that opened this year. The study also does not reflect the growth of existing studios that have expanded as they have launched new games.
"Utah's computer and video-game companies play an ever increasing role in the state's growing economy," said Michael Gallagher, chief executive officer of the software association, which represents U.S. computer and video game publishers. "These companies and their colleagues across the nation are making entertainment software one of the fastest growing industries in the United States."
Nationwide, the video-game industry grew by more than 5 percent. Since 2002, when the industry experienced a drop of nearly 8 percent in employment rates, the growth has averaged more than 4 percent.
California employs the largest number of people in the industry, with more than 40 percent of the nationwide employees. Washington state has the second-largest population of developers, with nearly 11 percent.Utah, by contrast, only accounts for about 2 percent of the industry's employment nationally. Only 31 states have either a development studio or publishing house, however.