Business, Software Programs

PC Gaming to Overtake Consoles by 2014?


For the past decade or so, we’ve been listening to "the death of PC", "Post-PC", "death of PC Gaming", "PC Gaming is Dead" etc. As it usually happens, the analysts and media that tout that message usually have a vested interest in a competing industry, such as the consoles or mobile phone world.

However, the fact of the matter is that on PC as a platform, only quality counts and only quality software and hardware can be profitable. Microsoft software isn’t being bought by hundreds of millions of consumers because it’s the only choice, but its rather the choice of people and businesses that request reliability.

PC gaming software sales stand to overtake consoles in 2014/15 timeframe. Source: DFC Intelligence
PC gaming software sales stand to overtake consoles in 2014/15 timeframe

The same principle applies to the PC gaming market. While there are developers that switched onto consoles for cheap thrills, PC gamers require quality and they usually award quality with excellent sales results. World of Warcraft is nearing the 10 billion dollar margin in just six years of its existence, Call of Duty and Battlefield are billion dollar franchises, easily beating even Harry Potter movie franchise, yet alone FIFA, NBA and others.
However, what stagnated in the PC market are the retail sales. PC retail sales is a two billion dollar market and that figure isn’t going to change over the next couple of years, analysts at DFC Intelligence concluded.

Digital Distribution and Micro-transactions rule the PC sales business. Source: DFC Intelligence
Digital Distribution and Micro-transactions rule the PC sales business

What did grow on an almost exponential curve is the digital distribution and microtransactions, thanks to which PC gaming is poised to overtake the stagnating console market.

However, digital distribution is not the only thing driving the PC gaming forward. It’s the perfect storm called "free to play" i.e. with micro-transaction games such as League of Legends attracting massive 15 million gamers who create a free character and then play it for a week. Unless they buy a character, the stats reset every week. It is not just the "I bought my character, what now" model which spun off from World of Warcraft – it’s competitive sport where you can earn a nice chunk of $5 Million prize pool, currently available in Season 2.

Free to Play title such as World of Tanks attracted four million gamers in a single year. While all of these stats are being pushed forward by NVIDIA, the fact of the matter is – PC gaming is very healthy, and there isn’t a coincidence a lot of players want back in.