PC retail now only ~20% of $13 Billion PC Gaming Market

Wow, I was thinking more like maybe 40-50% but 80%! Wow. And apparently the PC gaming market is not doing half bad. Gloom and doom from some console gamers not withstanding - 13 Billion. Nice.

Something is fishy there. In 2009 the US PC gaming market was only $538M. Now supposedly those numbers include extra revenue, primarily online subscriptions, but that’s a pretty big jump. Either the US market is way smaller than I thought or the proportion of revenue from online MMOs and standalone PC games is much more vast than I thought.

Your source is US only NPD numbers. NPD does not count some major US retailers (like Walmart) and zero digital downloads, micro transactions, and other online revenue like MMO monthly fees. Also, while the numbers you quoted include (all) console and hand-held hardware they do not include PC gaming hardware. Neither do the numbers I linked to though, or the PC’s $13 billion market would go up significantly I suspect. I’ts difficult to gage what is and is not gaming hardware for the PC though.

So, I don’t see anything fishy.

What I do see is a healthy PC gaming market and support for the idea that PC gamers, trend setting devils that we are, have pretty much moved to an all digital platform. consoles will follow. Later. As usual.

The vast majority of that is probably from Blizzard. :stuck_out_tongue:

Between tyrannic DRM and pirates I wouldn’t be terribly surprised at the accuracy of this report. PC developers need to decide if they’re going to accept piracy or not, and, “if not”, than they need to embrace a new distribution model. Steam is good. They should go with it.

On preview: The digital distribution model is the future of the industry. The more PC publishers fight it the more they’ll suffer. No DRM is fool proof.

Places like Walmart are catering to casual players and consoles. I don’t think PC publishers are making inroads there at this point.

Consoles are indeed following. Between Games On Demand, XBL/PSN arcade games or Wii’s virtual console, and indie games/wii ware, pretty much teh only games you can’t buy digitally are new games.

That said, I have several arcade games and such, and they require internet connection to play more than the trials. I recently moved and don’t have the interwebs at my new place yet, so many of my games have reverted to just their demo-form until I get back up and running, which is a HUGE drawback to digital distribution/DRM

You see what you want to see. What I see is a huge disparity in the numbers. If those numbers show that MMOs make up 60% of the PC gaming market I’m not sure I see that as a good thing since those monthly fees don’t indicate new games.

If that shows that micro-transactions make up a huge proportion of PC gaming revenue then it’s reasonable to assume that those same increases apply to online console gaming and DLC.

How much of that revenue is traditional PC gaming and how much of it is web based games?

You need more information to draw any conclusions. What conclusions would you draw if the $538M to $13B gap between PC gaming numbers is mirrored in the console market? My link shows that console gaming’s US NPD numbers are $20B, that’s is without Walmart, online sales and DLC too. Admittedly it includes hardware, but it doesn’t include Xbox Live subscriptions which are comparable to PC MMOs subscriptions. Maybe using the same methodology console gaming sales could be $50B-70B.

Give me more info before I spend any energy patting anyone on the back.

Sorry. I don’t believe for a second that pc gaming is a $13B a year market. There is somethingwrong with that number. Maybe in a year that saw Diablo 3, Starcraft 2, Sims 4, World of Warcraft 2, and Half Life 3 released in the same 12 mo period but I don’t believe that number represents what you are thinking it does.

A quick and dirty estimation of the US console sales figures for 2009 are $11B based on the Wiki sales numbers and an average console/hardware price of $300. That means that ~50% of the NPD numbers are just software. $10B versus $500M.

Take out the console hardware and extrapolate the 26x multiplication and all avenues of consoles sales would be over $100B. Admittedly the online boost and subscriptions for consoles is smaller, but there’s nothing to get excited about until you see the real numbers side by side.

Hmm, having perused the original article I now realize I completely misread the OP, completely invalidating my previous post. :stuck_out_tongue:

Never mind…

The same group found that the worldwide PC gaming market in 2008 brought in $11 billion in revenue. WoW alone was worth $1 billion of that.

$13 billion sounds plausible to me. Dragon Age and Left 4 Dead 2 have both hit 3 million sales, and the Sim 3 sold 1.4 million copies in the first week alone. Plus every Sims game gets tons of sales for at least a couple of years after release with all the expansions and downloadable content.

I enjoy how for years PC gamers have been saying the numbers are wrong and unfair but console fans have always been dismissive. Now that there are numbers that go against the accepted wisdom that PC games are a dead market there’s ‘something wrong’ with the numbers and they simply can’t accept it…

That said

There’s the elephant in the room. What does that mean? Ads on causal gaming websites? I don’t see how that can be included as part of the PC gaming market. So yeah now I feel the numbers have been skewed the other direction. However if people were for years willing to swallow the insane underreporting and compare it to the entire console market as a lump I hope they’ll jump on this over reporting with as much discernment.

Um, Dragon Age and L4D2 both were multiplatform games.

And both sold more on the PC, IIRC the latest numbers (or maybe it was only DAO).

Regardless, traditional reporting has been saying for the past 3 years or so that PC gaming is dead and their main argument has been the completely off kilter US only NPD numbers.

They say “Consoles are responsible for 20 billion! PC only for .5 billion” Look! It’s a dead platform!

Except that those numbers are all hardware + software in a market were retail is still king. PC gamers pointed out the unfairness of comparing 10 console and hand held platforms vs a single platform and drawing conclusions. The unfairness of not counting digital sales (even back then we knew that digital sales were a large part of the PC market), the unfairness of not also taking into account that much of that hardware is sold at a LOSS on the console market (nintendo being the exception - so it’s revenue that generates a negative profit). The unfairness of not counting the large PC hardware market sales.

And now that we have much more inclusive figures for the platform you immediately think there’s something fishy.

My point is not that the PC gaming market is larger than the console one. It’s not. These numbers certainly don’t show that. the numbers do show that it’s a significant market, and it’s not going away any time soon.

Why? It’s revenue that people writing games for the PC are earning. Would you say that satellite and cable subscriptions count as TV revenue, but ad income doesn’t? It’s the same thing.

I imagine that things will only get better as the gap (chasm?) in performance between PCs and the latest generation of consoles gets even bigger.

The PC has some pretty huge releases this year with Cataclysm and Starcraft 2 leading the charge. Maybe someone other than Blizzard can make some money too!

Does that include browser games? because that market has become HUGE. I have no problem believing stuff like farmville is raking in billions.

Because it is meaningless when it comes to boxed professionally made games. Nobody is going to say ‘Let’s port Aliens Vs Jason II to PC because someone clicked on an ad while playing desktop defender’ Though browser games and homemade java games are nice and have an impact on their own they aren’t going to lure developers into sinking money in the PC market. At least not in the type of market that is exciting to me.

The TV comparison makes no sense as TV started from ad revenue and later branched out. It’s more like adding in popcorn sales when it comes to calculating movie profits. Sure it’s how the site that’s hosting the content makes a killing but movie producers aren’t going to care much.

Advertising could mean in-game ads, like banners in racing games and such. It’s an annoying (but so far minor) trend we’ve been seeing for a while.

Using the NPD numbers to compare console vs PC gaming has always been extremely misleading. Who even buys PC games retail anymore? In the last 3 years I’ve bought around 150 games digitally, and… as far as I can remember, none retail. The only physical game DVD I’ve obtained in that time was one that came with my video card. Digital distribution is convenient and widespread, and yet isn’t reflected whatsoever in the NPD numbers, compared to consoles where the primary method is still retail distribution. It’s also quite bizarre to include console hardware in the same mix as software, especially since they’re usually produced at a loss.

I don’t and haven’t thought we’d actually see a dissapearance of the PC gaming market at all, although some doom and gloomers predicted it. The reality is more insidious - we’re going to see games aim for the largest possible audience for the least amount of effort, and that means developing for the lowest common denominator. Games are held back by what mid-range 2004 technology can do, and to some extent what a very limited control set can do. I also think they’re held back by appealing to a certain different type of demographic or set of tastes.

It used to be that console gaming emulated PC gaming to an extent, and PC gaming uplifted console gaming, they were just lagged behind and more limited. Now the fundamental balance has changed, and instead of PC gaming lifting console gaming up, now console gaming is dragging PC gaming down, and all of gaming as a whole suffers for it.

I don’t believe that any of the consoles are sold at a loss any more. They might have been at roll out but economy of scale and Moore’s Law have flipped that meme on it’s head.

Well, that may be so - but it certainly invites an unfair comparison to include hardware sales for one platform but not the other, especially since I’d imagine for the average user they end up spending more for the platform than the games - or at least somewhere close.

Besides, since you guys all know it costs 5 to 15 thousand dollars to build a gaming computer, those numbers would really boost the totals…