Manufacturers concerned over pessimistic consumer spending forecasts, should look to the recent increase of gaming related sales as an indicator that loyalty and lifestyle-based purchasing will go on. US spending on video gaming products reached $1.23 billion dollars in April alone, equaling a 47 percent increase from the same month last year.

The sales increase was largely attributed to the release of Grand Theft Auto IV as overall software sales increased by 44 percent year-over-year to $654.7 million-far surpassing hardware sales of $426.2 million.

No longer is the gaming market made up of grade school children and Dungeons and Dragons drop-outs. Rather, the generation that welcomed Nintendo and Atari has grown to be one the most avid and loyal consumer groups.

Design based creativity such as Nintendo?s Wii and the popular Guitar Hero series has expanded the industry?s consumer base to previously untapped groups. Through the industry?s focus on maintaining loyalists and expanding its target audience, gaming vendors have been able to sustain growth despite widespread decline in peripheral markets.

As a proud ? ,? it?s good to see that this term no longer implies the X-Gen equivalent of a couch potato.

Our thumbs may grow tired from non-stop playing, but sales figures show that we also possess superior hand-wallet coordination.

When we see a new game that we like, we find the money to buy it, because we view this luxury item as a basic necessity.