PC IS STRONG: PC Games Revenue Up 19%

By John Walker on March 1st, 2011 at 11:41 am.

RICH!

We’re all doomed! Time is running out! What will stop the death of PC games? Perhaps continuing to get bigger each year, with a 20% annual rise in revenue in the already enormous market could help. Once again, our favourite format failed to meet the expectations of the publishing industry, and went and sold billions of dollars worth of games. What is it like, eh?

The PC Gaming Alliance (the scraps of it that remain, anyway) has published a “Horizons” report. Ahhhhhh, horizons. I feel like having a little weep of contentedness. In it they reveal that the PC market scored $16.2 billion in revenue in 2010. Sell your PS3, it is OUR DAY.

Of that money more than a quarter came from China alone, responsible for $4.8bn. But then they also have a fifth of the population of the planet living there, so that’s about right, really. Another 7.3bn, according to some rugged chap called Alec Meer on Games Industry, came from the UK, US, Germany, Korea and Japan. Which is an increase of 19%.

I’m not sure it’s altogether too helpful that an organisation named “The PC Gaming Alliance” should choose the frame the news as following:

“The global PC games market continues to show surprisingly strong growth in 2010, reaching a record $16.2 billion.”

“Surprising”? That inspires confidence.

“The spotlight has definitely shifted back to the PC game market,” says the PCGA president, Matt Ployhar, going on to cite digital distribution and free to play models. He then added, “along with game formats embracing the shifts occurring in the evolution of the PC ecosystem to remain more profitable”, which made me do a bit of sick.

Of course, you have to assume a bit of guestimating to these figures, what with Valve still (madly) refusing to release Steam sale figures. With around 70% of the digital market, that’s a hefty chunk to be guessing at. But there’s little doubt the PC is thriving, against all the inane wittering of idiots.

And they’re optimistic. The report, only available to those in the super-expensive PCGA club, says that they expect the business to continue growing, reaching $23bn by spaceyear 2014.

So there you go. Next time someone tells you that PC gaming is dying – well, do what you did before – delete them from your friends list, cross them off your Christmas card list, and add them to your Shitlist.

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93 Comments »

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  1. evilbobthebob says:

    Actually, you won’t be able to sell your PS3 to Europe for the next ten days http://go.theregister.com/feed/www.reghardware.com/2011/03/01/playstation_ban_europe/

    :P

    • Mehall says:

      Actually, it’s just new ones won’t be allowed to be shipped to the retailers, they can still sell their backlog. Which may mean, in fact, that if the issue extends, secondhand PS3 prices could RISE, getting you more for your console than you’d think : D

    • tempest says:

      Actually, you can’t import PS3s into the EU, but they can sell the stock they already have. From what I was reading on some news site, they (Sony) usually keep stock for some two weeks’ sales, so they won’t have any trouble unless the injunction gets an extension.

  2. Huw_Dawson says:

    Surely the important thing is what games are making money, not just that PC games are? Farmville can make trillions, but if the quality games – your Deux Ex or whathaveyou – don’t, then you end up with the same thing as bad revenue even if they’re amazing. Millions of f2p low budget titles might be profitable, but it’s not encouraging the games that will innovate and keep gaming moving.

    • Kaira- says:

      “Millions of f2p low budget titles might be profitable, but it’s not encouraging the games that will innovate and keep gaming moving”

      Why couldn’t these low budget titles innovate and keep gaming moving? CoD, despite it’s high budget, isn’t excactly the most innovative title. Of course, that is if we go to throwing names in the extremes.

      Sure, having the money and time can really help to innovate, but they aren’t compulsory requirements.

    • bob_d says:

      The f2p space is amazingly formulaic – I’m not sure how anyone makes money there, given how so many of the games are seemingly identical. It’s funny, the AAA game space is famous for its lack of innovation, due to the huge sums of money at risk, but these incredibly cheap games aren’t any better, because presumably the economics of f2p games don’t work out if they spend more than than the minimum possible on their development budgets. Since it’s faster (and therefore cheaper) to follow a winning formula, that doesn’t usually leave the time and money needed to innovate.

    • Nethlem says:

      Why exactly is that important?
      Farmville is to PC gamers what Just Dance/Nintendogs is to console gamers.
      The casual blockbuster hit that reaps in the majority of revenue.

      If you go one step further you could even put Modern Warfare on that same list as it has by now reached a “mainstream status” making it somewhat casual too.

      Sure there are thousands of crappy F2P games on the PC, but there are also dozens of cheap produced games on consoles too that don’t reap in any profit.

      Every platform has it’s WoW’s, Farmvilles, Just Dance’s and Modern Warfares..
      Even console games are for the majority just medicore/casual shit that doesn’t sell for any profit, but too many people ignore t hat and pretend that every single console game released get’s sold at least 100.000 times no matter how shitty it is…

    • bob_d says:

      @ Nethlem: It’s important because not only is that where all the growth is in PC gaming is, that growth is also at the expense of traditional PC games. So get used to even less innovation.

  3. a.nye.123 says:

    I wonder why Valve won’t release sales figures. They already give a daily descending ‘top sellers’ list, so it can’t be the argument that publishers don’t want to advertise the fact they were ‘beaten’ by another games sales. Hmm.

    • Premium User Badge

      shoptroll says:

      Valve is a privately held corporation so they’re not required to give out sales information publicly, unlike Gamestop or Amazon which are publicly traded corporations.

      I think people have determined that the Best Sellers list is generated on a sales/hour metric instead of absolute sales. Which would explain how Magicka stayed near the top for the last month and beat out pretty much everything EA and the other big publishers released in the same time period.

    • Joe Duck says:

      Well, strategically, if Valve is making lots and lots and lots of money and is lucky enough to not need to say it, that is absolutely the right move, because you do not want to have competitors fight for your really profitable market and you do not want the big monsters trying to develop strategies to erode the size of that market.
      Microsoft has tried to kill the PC market, but in the last two years they seem to have given up. They are not helping, but they are not really fuelling the fires anymore. And I think it is because two years ago they went into the black for the first time, reassesed thier position and decided to change focus and try to kill the Wii instead. They were attracted by a bigger carrot, thus the Kinect and such gizmos.
      Valve was left alone and they are very happy about that. Blizzard does not compete with it’s online store and the rest are growing but slowly and they do not have the money of a Microsoft or Sony to launch business changing marketing campaigns.
      They will never tell how much they earn, not unless something changes.

  4. limbclock says:

    I don’t want to sound like a douche, but i think that download services like Steam, and Impulse and Gamer’s Gate have been instrumental in improving the game sales, even if there are some problems in those services, sometimes. (Like on Steam whenever a new Valve game is released)

    • Urael says:

      You won’t sound like a douche for stating truth, Iimbclock. I think it’s widely accepted hereabouts that with the decline in brick-and-mortar outlets catering to the PC, digital downloads from all quarters, not just the big outlets, have evolved to fill the gap. Hence the highly amusing toy-throwing rants from GAME Ceo’s decrying Steam’s dominance over what GAME – and others – literally threw away.

    • Ravenger says:

      It’s their focus on used games that did it for PC retail. Since modern PC games can’t be sold used they can’t exploit them as much and rake in the profits like they can by endlessly recycling the same used console games. So they decided to reduce their PC stock in favour of second hand games, then were astonished when PC gamers abandoned their stores and bought online instead, first from online stores, then from digital distribution.

      I loved this comment by the European Marketing Director of 1c games, when told by a publisher the stores said there was no demand by customers for a game. He hit refresh on his PC’s instant Steam sales tracker and said…

      “In the time its taken for you to tell me there’s no demand, Steam has sold 45 units.”

      http://www.mcvuk.com/features/808/OPINION-Retail-vs-Steam

    • Urael says:

      I love that article. It’s been posted before but I think this deserves to be brought up every time this issue rears its head – it should be required reading for every serious PC Gamer. How fabulous of 1C to point out how foolish and outdated the PC Games retail industry is, just like every big industry that has struggled to adapt in the face of digital dominance.

      To adapt a famous saying (Apologies to Ghandi):

      First they ignore you. Then they get angry, blaming you for their ills. Then they fight you. Then you win when they’re forced to adapt. (Retail is at stage 2 here, big publishers at stage 3, with Valve and few canny others now with us on 4)

    • LordEvilAlien says:

      Bricks-and-mortar outlets have to focus on used games. No matter how good a game is people get tired of games. Stories get old, graphics get dated, gameplay gets boring, plus there are so many new games coming out all the time.
      Trading in used games drives the sale of new games on consoles. (trading in used stuff drives the sale of new stuff throughout the economy).The fact that most modern pc games can no longer be traded in has contributed to a decline in the sale of new boxed pc games and a shrinking of the pc section of most game shops.
      A lot of digital sales are likely to be discounted games but they will continue to make money for developers because more people buy games and most people believe they are getting value for money even when they buy more games than they have time to play.

    • Ravenger says:

      Used sales may be good for stores, but they’re not good for developers and publishers, at least not at the current unsustainable levels.

      There’s always been a used game market – 25 years ago when I worked in a computer shop we sold used Atari VCS, Intellivision and Coleco games – but in recent years the main high street stores have shifted from being primarily new game oriented to primarily used sales oriented. It’s the only entertainment retail sector I know where the main high street stores sell used stock in direct competition with new.

      You don’t go into HMV to buy a Blu-Ray box set only for the sales assistant to pester you to buy the used copy for a couple of quid less and then have them remind you to trade in your old Blu-Rays too, and even if they did the movie studios wouldn’t stand for it for long.

      Yes you should have the right to sell on your games – a right sadly lost for PC software – but many retailers these days are no more than glorified pawn shops, and consoles will go the same way as the PC soon, with one-use keys to unlock the entire game or an emphasis on digital sales if the stores keep exploiting the market in that way.

    • bob_d says:

      I’m sure you’re right and Steam has increased sales of PC games (I know it has with me), but the real increase in spending isn’t with actual game sales (increased revenue doesn’t necessarily equal increased sales). Considering the huge sums now being spent in subscription fees and virtual item sales for online games, that’s clearly where most of the growth is. Which means that (traditional) PC gaming companies that sell discrete (boxed or download) games (rather than online services) are still not doing so well.

    • Commisar says:

      yes to both counts. i have used all three. i use Steam mainly, but Impulse for Stardock games and Gamersgate for games that don’t run or aren’t on Steam. i also uses GoG.com for older, but still awesome, games

  5. passingtramp says:

    You say ‘sell your PS3′, but how do the figures for the PS3 and other consoles compare to these? It’s pretty meaningless to cite big numbers without a frame of reference.

    • Flameberge says:

      PS3 only sold one copy of Gran Turismo 5 last year. True fact.

    • Gaytard Fondue says:

      But I like numbers. Especially the big ones.

    • LoopyDood says:

      I think you need to learn to not take jokes seriously.

    • passingtramp says:

      I don’t think John’s joking when he says the PC is ‘thriving’, but if, for example, the console market expanded by 29% last year, the 19% figure wouldn’t look so good. I have no idea what the figures for consoles are, but without them we can’t judge whether the 19% is impressive or not.

    • LoopyDood says:

      Ah. I interpreted what you said as a complaint about John making a (joking) comparison to a console without citing numbers, rather than not making a real comparison.

    • Archonsod says:

      Comparison would only be meaningful if we knew how large the industries were in relation to each other in the first place, and while you can get the console figures simply by looking at how many units each manufacturer sold, there’s nobody to my knowledge who can tell you how many PC’s have been sold.

    • passingtramp says:

      Archonsod- the post’s talking about PC games, not PC hardware.

    • bob_d says:

      Getting accurate numbers is hard – each survey seems to track different things for different countries. From what I’ve read, the console game market has gone down the last two years.
      In terms of specific numbers, things get tricky. According to the NPD Group, total video game sales (console and PC) for 2009 were 19.66 billion dollars in the US alone. Of that nearly 20 billion dollar amount, a little more than half was for game sales ($10.5), the rest being hardware sales. However, according to them, PC games sales accounted for only about half a billion dollars of that. Obviously they were counting box retail sales, not online goods, downloads or subscriptions, though. If our hopeful guesses about download sales were equally true in 2009, then PC game sales added up to a little over a billion dollars in the U.S. If we extrapolate that out to Europe, Canada, etc., it means that the vast majority of PC game revenue in 2010 wasn’t actually game sales. In other words, when it comes to the actual sales of games, the console is still king.

    • bob_d says:

      (duplicate)

  6. Urael says:

    Interesting to see Microsoft finally showing their true colours by pulling out of the PC Gaming Alliance. So much for ‘doubling down’ eh, Balmer? Doubling down on nothing is still nothing.

    Long live PC Gaming, you traitorous f*cks.

    • rei says:

      PCGA being the biggest joke in the industry, I think MS pulling out of it actually reflects positively on them.

    • Urael says:

      Only as an acknowledgement of how toothless and wrong-footed the PCGA actually is. Let’s not go painting MS as anything other than utterly toxic to PC Gaming in general.

      I do wonder exactly why NVidia quit, though. Was it because they too realised that through their mere presence they’d inadvertently legitimised an organisation of no importance or value whatsoever?

    • Hoaxfish says:

      Frankly MS has burned this bridge so many times they might as well be cooking with charcoal.

      Hell, Windows 8 is going to be for tablets apparently and games, just like Win7 was for games, GFWL was for games… and yet they never really seem to do it.

      PC devs are able to do what they want, something MS is unable to really have any say in (other than occasionally dicking over OpenGL)

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      FriendlyFire says:

      They must have been feeling bad to be in a so-called alliance that supposedly defends PC gaming… alongside SecuROM.

  7. 7rigger says:

    Good news, but not altogether suprising. As the consoles get older and less appealling the PC gains popularity. When the XBOX 7820 or whatever gets released we’ll hear “PC is dead!” and in 3 years it will be back to this.

    Consoles come and go, but PC is forever :)

    • Freud says:

      I’d argue that the same technological slowdown has happened to the PC industry and we as PC gamers have benefited from it. The graphical arms race that characterized PC gaming made it less attractive.

      I haven’t bought a new PC in 2.5-3 years and it can still handle what new games are being thrown at it. It’s wonderful. I buy more games than ever because I don’t have to worry about a stuttering slide show anymore.

    • 7rigger says:

      I didn’t say anything about technological slowdown. It’s been this way since the Megadrive and SNES. Consoles leap ahead (Although they didn’t really on this generation) and PC’s catch up and overtake. PC’s have a lot more than AAA releases and it’s too easy to forget that.

      For what it’s worth I think the technological slowdown of the current generation has harmed PC’s more than ever, and the drive to continue improving is suffering. PC’s point the way for the consoles to follow, and without technological innovation we’ll end up with stagnation on both sides of the market. New technology allows new ideas, and ignoring new technology leads to the same old releases over and over again.

      *edit*
      To clarify: The PC doesn’t really need more sales in games (IMO), as it will always have other uses that will stop it going extinct. The PC is a format for experimentation and discovery, not for ‘safe’ gaming. That (I feel) is console territory.

    • Wilson says:

      @7rigger – I’m not 100% convinced that you need new technology to inspire new ideas. While it certainly can allow things that would have been impossible in the past (e.g. physics puzzles/gameplay, and just more complex games) I wouldn’t say it was necessarily a key driver of innovation. Maybe I’m missing some important technological breakthroughs, but I’m just not seeing where technology has been a primary contributor to an innovative game. For me physics has been used well in some games, but I still think design is more important most of the time when it comes to new ideas.

    • 7rigger says:

      Larger amounts of memory allow designers to create larger worlds and more complex systems. Better graphics allow artists to create more detailed worlds to lose yourself in.

      It’s not may not seem necessary to the development of games, as there are many games that are great because of design and not their tech – but their design is only allowed by the tech they are using. Our industry will always be evolving and changing, and it’s greatest strengths lie in that evolution (Strangth to strangth :P). I personally feel that any slowing of that evolution is not a good thing.

      To summarize: design will always be important, otherwise you’ll just get a polished turd – but technological growth enables that design. What if the industry had decided their was no point in moving further than 16-bit?

    • Starky says:

      There has been no “technological slowdown” it is a myth.

      Processing speed has been increasing and advancing at the same pace it always has, Moore’s law is still fully in effect – there is no slowdown whatsoever in the progress of physical microprocessing technology – in fact it has actually been increasing ABOVE the expected rate.

      Every 2 years we’ve been doubling transistor count, which works out at about a 10-15% increase in actual processing speed.
      What HAS slowed is the advancement of graphical fidelity – but this is nothing to do with physical technology, and everything to do with the fact that noticeable increase in graphical fidelity exists on an curve.

      Simply put, in 1996, that 10% increase in graphics card/CPU speed from one generation to the next resulted in a very noticeable jump in graphical fidelity. It meant going from 640×480 to 800×600 in Quake while keeping a good frame rate.

      In 2004 that 10% resulted in less of a jump – but still noticeable. That 10% was the difference between winning a game at 1024×768 with no AA and running it with 2xAA, which at that low resolution was noticeable indeed.
      In 2010 that 10% speed increase form one generation to the next isn’t so noticeable. It’s the difference between running a game at 1920×1080 with 4xAA and running that same game with 8xAA and Ambient occlusion.
      So it is less that Technology has slowed, and more that the processing requirement for graphical improvements has increased way beyond the growth of processing speeds.

      This “slowdown” would happen with or without consoles, PC technology is advancing about as fast as it can – it has nothing to do with console cycles.
      If PC was the only platform in existence and developers were pushing at the edge of what they can do with current processing speeds games would still be just as budget platform friendly, because as I’ve mentioned – those things that use that 40% extra processing speed that a guy with a top of the line rig has compared to your 3 year old medium spec gaming rig (say Core 2 duo with a 8800GT) is a few extra bells and whistles that you can easily turn off and the downgrade is marginal.

      He can run with Ambient Occlusion on, at 1920×1200 with 4xAA and Tessellation.
      You can run at 1680×1050 with 2xAA and AO and Tess off.
      You both get 30FPS, and if you compared screen shots the difference would be noticeable – but in motion, putting them side by side – not so much.
      Simply because unless you stop to study the fine details in a game, most of the time you’re too busy playing it to pay attention.

      The only thing long console cycles do is mean more game that don’t bother even trying to add tessellation and AO, or other technologies that only massively high end PC rigs can handle, and are only noticeable if you compare screenshots side by side.

    • 7rigger says:

      @Starky
      Very well put. I have to agree with you, The leaps in technology do not seem as massive as they were in the past because games require much more work than they did in the past.

      And I’m not blaming consoles for it either, I personally feel they are just as essential to development as the PC market is.

      But how long have games considered 1080p the TOP resolution? This is nothing to do with consoles, this is the PC market’s problem. I think that if some of the higher end options were used more often on PC high-end game experiments like Crysis, we’d see the difference more. As it is, it’s just an effect thrown on and it’s presence is never really justified. New technology needs to be developed with, not ignored, so it can create the effects that make your jaw drop.

      I suppose I’m not really saying that tech development has slowed down, just that the adoption of it has. I see loads of posts saying “I run a pc X years old and it runs the latest games.” If no-one has the tech capable of these new features, no-one will bother developing them. There will be no game using 3D tech that will truly use it’s strengths to create something impossible in 2D, because everyone would rather save money and run games in 2D. That is more of the slowdown I’m thinking of.

      *edit*

      My point about resolution is that during the psone/two console generations, the pc kept improving and increasing it’s monitor resolution and performance and now it has stagnated for years. This isn’t the fault of consoles, this is the fault of treating PC’s like consoles.

      *edit**edit*

      Not that consoles are bad, but they are safe. With PC development you should be throwing everything at the wall. If it sticks, you put it in your next console.

    • sassy says:

      7rigger I don’t believe the problem is the lack of technological advancements in recent years, the issues lie in the expense such technologies put on developers. Already we are in a situation where the PC can handle a huge amount more then developers are throwing at it, why? Simple, the says volume does not account for said risk of expense.

      Innovation does not come because of technology, nor has it ever. How many ideas cannot be done with the technologies of today? Developers need assurance that the risk involved has the potential for profit, hence why AAA titles rarely innovate, they already have huge expenses and don’t need to add even further risks.

      The market probably is not yet ready to make things more expensive, any more and it may not be able to sustain itself.

    • 7rigger says:

      If technology doesn’t lead to innovation where did this market come from? Our entire market is built on the basis of technological improvement. Civilisation was originally a board game and it worked – but the use of technology allowed the game to develop further.

      “how many ideas cannot be done with the technologies of today?”

      That is pretty much the slowdown I speak of. If you never go outside, you’ll never discover what you can do out there. Without new technologies you’ll never think up the ways to use them. I think the Internet itself serves as a good example for this.

      And – one last time – in my opinion, the problem (If there is even one) is not technological slowdown, but a slowdown of consumers to adopt new technology, instead keeping what works for a ‘safe’ experience. I’m not attacking everyone who does this – I just think it’s more likely to be the root cause of ‘consolisation’ than any console is.

    • Starky says:

      Regarding monitor resolutions.

      This hasn’t really anything to do with PC gaming either, it is utterly because of LCD technology and HDTVs.

      I have a 30 Inch monitor with a 2560 x 1600 resolution (for work – CAD drawing, Engineering design, 3D work and lighting) I also have a 32 Inch TV with 1080p.
      One day I hooked them up side by side and ran Metro 2033 through them – And honestly the difference between 4 Megapixels (30 inch monitor) and 2 Mega Pixels (32″ LG 1080p TV) isn’t that huge at 30 inches when gaming. Maybe at 50+ inches it would be noticable…

      It makes a WORLD of difference for my work that high detail screen, meaning I can see more detail without the need to be constantly zooming in and out – likewise it would make a huge difference for an artist or for photoshop and other pixel sensitive applications.

      But for gaming, not so much.

      Then you have the difference in price, my 32 Inch TV was £350. My 30 Inch Monitor was £950.

      Think about that for a second, you could get TWO 32 inch TVs and save £200, then run them both side by side. Hell you could probably (with a bit of shopping around) get three 32 Inch 1080p TVs for £1000 and go triple display with 6 mega pixels of resolution.

    • 7rigger says:

      Yeah I understand how HD screens have native resolution, and everything that isn’t it looks nasty. And I have seen about split displays, again it is not something the greater PC market looks at. Having a triple-head display tends to be viewed as obsessive rather than the norm (Not that it is. I’ve been playing with head tracking and I wish my GPU would handle more than 2 monitors to try it)

      Monitors were the wrong choice for an analogy :P

      On your work monitor’s res, I assume it’s a Mac? They’re the only displays I’ve heard of that go that high and it’s what I use at my university too.

      *edit*

      Although I understand the point about pricing, I personally would go for the 30 inch work monitor rather than three 32 inch screens. And haven’t monitors always been more expensive than televisions in terms of screen size? Although that 3 TV set-up would be pretty sweet.

    • Starky says:

      Traditionally monitors have been cheaper than TVs at equal size for everything below 26 inches. Has been true for as long as I can remember even with CRTs which became astronomical beyond around 25 inches.
      For example a 19 inch 1440×900 monitor will only cost about £70, while a 19 Inch TV (same resolution) will cost around £100.

      The problem with 30 inch monitors plus, is that there is so little demand for them the price is a massive leap from 26inch to 30. While there is a MASSIVE demand for 32 Inch TVs.

      As for my monitor, not not a mac, just a monitor A Dell UltraSharp U3011 – I purchased (well my company did) to use on my Windows/Linux PC.

      I’m an Engineer (well soon to be once I finish my degree, technically I’m a Cad/Maintenance technician at the moment, doing the job of a full design engineer and not getting paid enough :P)… Macs are utterly dire for Engineering – a closed platform, locked down and locked out with a crappy selection of software.

      Windows is king by a huge margin for industry/engineering applications. Linux has some cool open source tools (so I run it in a virtual machine sometimes), but all the the major software is Windows (AutoCAD, Dialux, Cadence OrCAD, and such).

    • 7rigger says:

      I always saw them as pricier – in the pre-lcd days I mean. I suppose those were a lot longer ago now than I think. A HDTV is just a monitor with a tuner these days.

      It’s the same with windows at my end .Loads of macs with stupidly hi-res monitors that boot into windows (If only I could get a proper 3 button mouse and keyboard with a numpad!)

      I’ve been tempted by linux in the past, but I rely on too much windows software as well.

    • AdamK117 says:

      Why would people develop PC games that stutter about for 80% of customers anyway? Games like WoW, Minecraft, (insert any oldish graphics game here) show that PC gamers arent just mental for getting the best graphics anyway. The graphics warfare is only skin deep anyway, I’m pretty happy that its gotten a little stagnated on that front because A) I’m not shelling out loads of money on PC upgrades and B) the developers are clearly spending more time mastering their engines for cooler tricks rather than shader model 832903809980

    • 7rigger says:

      Minecraft and WoW are examples of low-end graphics, but not of lack of technological development. WoW would not exist without the internet and Minecrafts popularity can be attributed to it too.

      In fact the indie market in general fits my ideal of experimentation within the industry. Minecraft has used the growth of new media platforms to reach a whole demographic of customers that other’s couldn’t reach if they tried. But if it had failed, it would have also served to other developers as information on how to handle this.

      “I’m pretty happy that its gotten a little stagnated”

      I’m afraid you and I will never agree on this point. I still wish you well though :)

  8. el_Chi says:

    Presumably Valve DO disclose Steam’s sales figures etc to publishers, or do they have to piece that kind of thing together as well?

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      Man Raised by Puffins says:

      Clearly, but without shareholders they don’t have much incentive to release their sales figures or financials willy-nilly.

    • Archonsod says:

      They’d only be obliged to disclose sales of that publishers games; anything else in fact would run afoul of data protection laws. Plus it works to Valve’s advantage to push the user base rather than sales figures; you don’t sell it on “we sold X copies of Y game”, you sell it on “we have X people using our store”.

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      shoptroll says:

      From what Valve and their partners have said, there’s a set of tools available to the publisher and developer which allows them to look at the sales numbers for their products. In real-time.

  9. Jannakar says:

    Those stats on China are quite interesting
    Top of the google searches came this article:
    http://www.chinapost.com.tw/commentary/the-china-post/special-to-the-china-post/2010/06/28/262505/p1/China%27s-unequal.htm
    If I read the article correctly, around 25% of these Chinese population have incomes equivalent or above the average wage in the west, with the rest earning much much less. So it’s not so much as a quarter of the world’s population contributing to the $4.8bn, but somewhat less than that.
    The really eye-popping implication is the potential for growth there (which is sort-of obvious) compared to the west. In the race for increasing profits how long can the EAs and Activisions of the business continue without falling to the temptation of dedicating their effort to making games for that market, rather than hoping that the Chinese will put up with western-style games?

    • Delusibeta says:

      Of course the other big question is “is China’s growth sustainable?” I really doubt it, and should their economy implode, I’d expect their political system to implode with it (and vice-versa, but the economy case is more likely).

    • Archonsod says:

      A lot of the games in China go via local publishers who charge considerably less than it costs over here. It’s one of the things digital retailers like Steam have struggled with; you can buy an entire batch of the Chinese version of a game in China for considerably less than it costs wholesale over here, then simply ditch the games and sell the serial keys on the Western market.

    • Airemacar says:

      One factor here is that home consoles are actually illegal in China, which gives the PC market (and handhelds) a significant advantage.

  10. Tuco says:

    It’s fun, cause I’ve just read this article claiming the opposite:
    http://www.cinemablend.com/games/It-Official-Retail-PC-Gaming-Dying-30373.html

    Its author sounds a bit like a troll, to be honest.

    • 7rigger says:

      The author of that article is only looking at retail games, stocked in stores. So yeah, the PC is dying by those standards.

      “No-one buys games from people that don’t stock them, so no-one buys games!”

    • Derpentine says:

      Fork Parker was not around for comment? :/ BAM!

    • thecrius says:

      I’ll never understand why pc-magazine/website celebrate good news while console-magazine/website celebrate bad news (i’ll not discuss the truthness of a news).

      Maybe it’s just bad-attitude.

    • scottossington says:

      Haha I read the same article yesterday and then did a quick Intersearch and found the article stating that pc sale had had its best year evah. Troll indeed or a xbox fanboi.

    • bob_d says:

      Since the China market pretty much consists of online free-to-play games (not retail sales), and the Western growth in PC-land has similarly been in spending on online games rather than buying PC games, the two articles can both be right. The spending may have gone up, but it has shifted away from buying games towards virtual goods and services. Which is to say: (traditional, retail) PC gaming is dying, long live (the new) PC gaming.

  11. Premium User Badge

    Vandelay says:

    Thanks PCGA! We couldn’t have done it without you!

    Oh wait, you’ve done fuck all. No wonder you are “surprised” by these numbers.

    • bob_d says:

      It’s interesting that the types of companies that are part of the organization look like they’re traditional PC game companies rather than the online, free-to-play, subscription-based game companies that are seeing the revenue boost. So while the organization didn’t do anything to help the situation, their members didn’t reap the rewards, either.

  12. Emperor_Jimmu says:

    Think how much has been lost to tape to tape piracy!

  13. cytokindness says:

    How much of this growth is non-World-of-Warcraft?

    Hell, is there growth without WoW?

    • Premium User Badge

      Man Raised by Puffins says:

      Bit of silly question given the number of money hats being generated by Facebook games and free to play MOGs. Plus, this:

      In addition to new user growth, Steam sales during the trailing 12 months increased by more than 200%, putting it on track for a sixth straight year of realizing over 100% year-over-year growth in unit sales.

    • Archonsod says:

      IIRC WoW growth has levelled off.

    • bob_d says:

      WoW subscription numbers have been fairly level for a while. What we’re seeing here is more likely to be Zynga (Blizzard and Zynga together account for a sizable fraction of total PC game revenue), as well as other free-to-play online games.

  14. Tei says:

    I don’t think the people like EA, Ubisoft and Activision care as much about the grown of a market, than how easy is to monetize it. And the console market, acording to everyone (but I forget why) is easier to monetize.

    • Ravenger says:

      Consoles are easier to monetize because they’re walled gardens with limited competition. There’s no incentive for lower prices for digital content on consoles because only the console manufacturers can sell it. Unlike on the PC where Steam has competition from other sites like Direct2Drive and GOG.

    • Archonsod says:

      It also tends to be somewhat cheaper to develop on consoles once they’re established. The technology is static so you don’t need to invest time and resources into learning the technology or tool building.

    • bob_d says:

      If you’re in the business of selling games then the PC market is looking more and more unattractive – most of the revenue on the PC side is clearly from subscriptions and virtual goods sales, not games, and the percentage of revenue from the (sales of) games themselves is falling. So console game makers, who are in the business of selling boxed goods, have less and less reason to be interested in PC gaming.

  15. Mccy_McFlinn says:

    I don’t mean to sound arrogant and claim credit for this rise in sales but I stopped pirating games some 18 months ago and invested heavily in a varied and rich Steam portfolio. To the community I say, “You. Are. Welcome.”

    • Urael says:

      That’s a lovely tale, very commendable, but if your activities in the past have led in any way, even minutely, to the viewpoints and draconian regimes big publishers continue to foist upon us then it’s going to take a lot more than cleaning up your act to get your fellow gamers lining up to shake your hand. Gratitude may be a teeny bit much to ask for, after years of damage having been wrought upon our hobby.

      Though I’ll still say well done for seeing the light…eventually. What prompted the change of heart?

  16. bill says:

    I love that L7 song! I had the Natural Born Killers Soundtrack on tape a long while back, and it had some pretty good songs by artists i’d never normally listen to.

    I copied them onto compilation tapes for friends and caused the downfall of the music industry, so that wasn’t so good.

  17. Nikolaj says:

    Nothing can stop a gaming platform whose time has come.

  18. darkknightbob says:

    “So there you go. Next time someone tells you that PC gaming is dying – well, do what you did before – delete them from your friends list, cross them off your Christmas card list, and add them to your Shitlist.”
    Wow a really open minded and non elitist viewpoint there. Seriously what kind of fuckwit gives a shit either way. People would only worry about the pcmarket dying if it meant they had to decide which platform was going to have support for it’s games. No one gives a shit about this unless you below the mental age of 15 (which it seems the OP is)

    Also the whole PS3 thing won’t affect you selling your existing Ps3 to anyone.

    • Teddy Leach says:

      “Seriously what kind of fuckwit gives a shit either way.”

      You clearly do.

    • Premium User Badge

      delcake says:

      Fwoosh! There goes that sense of humor you’re missing, darkknightbob. These outrageous RPS fellows do tend to make use of such literary devices as hyperbole, satire, witticisms, and “General Silliness” ™.

      Breathe. It will be okay.

      #Angry Internet Men

  19. Cirdain says:

    Wooh!

  20. nuh uh no way says:

    L7!

  21. Premium User Badge

    drewski says:

    Woo, PC gaming!

    *goes off to play a console*

  22. Jimbo says:

    WoW, Facebook games & terrible F2P MMOs = $14bn
    Console ports = $2bn
    Everything else = $0.2bn

  23. Pointless Puppies says:

    Not too surprising. I bought a boatload of games from Steam last year, far more than all other games, on any platform, combined for the past few years.

    Digital distribution is right at its high point, because the massive savings of digital distribution are being passed on to the consumers when they go on crazy-good sale. It’s kind of crappy by comparison seeing games like Bulletstorm and Crysis 2 going for 60 bucks on Steam for absolutely no reason, though.

  24. RegisteredUser says:

    But clearly piracy is causing PC sales to plummet and makes any kind of profitable PC game development impossible, so this of course can’t be real.

  25. edit says:

    A PC is what you make it. Consoles are what is decided for you. I fondly recall my time with the NES, Master System, ‘Mega Drive’, SNES.. and even some Commodore 64 back when I was old enough to be inspired by it but not old enough to really wrap my head around it. Now that I’m old and cluey enough to know what I want out of technology, I’m simply never going back to consoles. Until, of course, I become a millionaire and can freely sample all the delights of life… if global capitalism and\or civilization hasn’t fallen apart before then.

  26. DrCruel says:

    Sales are down, but revenue is up. Gee, I guess greedy DLC and DRM practices have really paid off, at least in the short term. And VALVe/STEAM looks perfectly positioned to monopolize the lot.

    Lucky that I have so many of my old, good games to play, as I’ll never buy a game from STEAM or any similarly usurious “service”.

    Ah well. It was a nice hobby while it lasted.