Spurred by the advance of the CD, battle has broken out in the computer games industry. At stake is not simply a toy market but the global future of home entertainment.
In March of this year media conglomerate Pearson paid $462 million to acquire The Software Toolworks, a California-based publisher of interactive software. In July, Blockbuster Entertainment bought a 75% share of Richard Branson's Virgin Interactive (later increased to 90%) for $165 million. Other major companies such as Time Warner and Sony have also been conspicuously active in a sector that has traditionally been subject to casual dismissal as a mere 'toy' market. Something big is stirring in the electronic undergrowth.