Christmas came early this year to San Francisco's video game fanatics thanks to GAME: the Games and Music Experience, there was no need to wait and unwrap the newest titles under the tree.
Instead, 10,000 fans paid up to $35 apiece for the chance to get a first crack at the latest, and according to the marketing blitz, greatest games, CBS News correspondent John Blackstone reports.
Good news for an industry which typically rakes in nearly half its revenues during the holiday season.
When Blackstone remarks that GAME resembles an auto show, the founder of gamespot.com, Vince Brody, who organized the event, agrees, adding that conventions geared toward enthusiasts served as his inspiration for GAME.
"And we felt like, you know, the gaming community is big enough now. It deserves to have an event which celebrates it and lets people touch and feel the stuff that's coming out in the future, just like the auto show does," Brody explains.
At the ripe old age of 38, Brody is also an example of someone companies are eager to court: the adult gamer.
"I always say that as long as I'm alive and playing games, the market will continue to grow," Brody says. "And I think that what you're seeing is gaming, unlike a lot of other pastimes that kids do, is a lifelong passion. So, people that play games as kids, tend to keep playing them as they get older."
Asked what makes gaming unique from other leisure-time activities, Brody says that the experience of playing video games puts the individual in control. "The individual is the star of the show," Brody says.
Aaron Ruby and Heather Chaplin explore this concept in their book "Smartbomb," a history of the video game business. It's a phenomenon which has hit them right where they live.
"There's no question that games are here to stay," Rubin remarks. "They're not going to replace books. They're not going to replace movies. But they are going to take up a monumental position right next to them."
Chaplin, Ruby's wife, recalls that, "I came home one day in the spring of 2001, to find my husband here, setting up a PlayStation 2 in the living room. And I was so distressed by this, and sort of horrified at the idea that this man I had married was a gamer."
Pressed as to why he kept his video game passion a secret, Ruby quips, "Well, I knew it would be a sore subject. I was kind of -- it wasn't a lie -- but, I just neglected to fully divulge."
Ruby adds, "People have a conception of games as being about shooting and killing. But it's now at the point where, It's kind of like asking, 'Are movies about murder and mayhem?' Yeah, there are those movies and there are those games."
No doubt, plenty of video games are little more than shoot 'em ups, Blackstone observes. Players often stare down the barrel of a gun looking for a target, but sports games are among the most popular and many games are at least as innocent as kids' cartoons.
The industry says just 16 percent of games are labeled mature and more importantly, almost two-thirds of gamers are over age 18.
And, Blackstone says, they have money.
Many camped out all night last month to pay $400 for the newest game console, the Xbox 360. Sales of game software and consoles in the United States alone topped $10 billion last year and all predictions are that sales will keep climbing.
The same can't be said for Hollywood, which has seen three years of steady declines at the box office.
Foreign sales, DVDs, pay-per-view and other revenues are keeping studios in the black, but it seems like everyone in the entertainment business is looking at video games as the next big thing.