Christians Finding Niche in Game Market

The small number of Christian game developers is steadily growing as the video game market continues to attract millions of people each year.

While many games have dominated the pool of choices - especially those rated as Mature, such as "Halo 2" and "Grand Theft Auto 5: Vice City" - industry leaders have noted the potential in religious games.

"Fifteen years ago, the Christian music world looked like Christian games today," said Bagley, CEO of N’Lightning Software, according Reuters. "It wasn't until the Christian music companies came together as a group and focused on quality that they were able to achieve success."

N’Lightening Software entered the PC games market as one of the first of about 100 Christian game developers. Its first title, "Catechumen," cost $830,000 to develop and has sold about 80,000 copies worldwide since its 2001 release, according to the company. The second game, "Ominous Horizons," cost $1 million to create and has sold more than 50,000 copies, it said.

Currently, the Christian games are limited to the PC market. However, there is recent movements to enter the consol domain at a greater scale.

Crave Entertainment, a traditional value-priced game publisher with titles like "World Championship Poker," will ship "The Bible Game" for PlayStation 2 and Game Boy Advance for $20 in November.

"The Bible Game" is a trivia game with 1,500 biblical questions on the PS2 and an action-adventure game that blends questions with playing on Game Boy Advance.

Go Play Research video game analyst Billy Pidgeon said, according to Reuter, that while a game success on the level of Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" movie might be possible down the road with a big franchise like "Left Behind," films are still much more accessible to the Christian demographic than video games. Left Behind will be a PC game translated from the content of a 13-volume "Left Behind" book series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins.

"The challenge for Christian game developers has always been delivering a quality game experience," Bagley said.