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Gaming PC market bigger than you’d expect

Gaming PC market bigger than you’d expect

While the amount of people with gaming PCs is high, we doubt they can all run Crysis smoothly

It’s all too often said that PC gaming is in decline and that the inevitable rise of consoles will eventually erode the PC gaming market, a line that game developers like Epic are more than happy to support as they abandon their PC gaming roots for the spearmint green pastures of exclusively console development.

While the continued threat of piracy and strong console software sales might support such nay saying, new market research published by Jon Peddie Research (JPR) indicates that the PC gaming market is in reality far far larger than many have given it credit for, and is still growing at a frantic pace.

According to JPR, current world wide combined console sales for the latest generation of home consoles (PS3, XB360, Wii) total somewhere close to 75.7 million units shipped. That might sound like a lot, but it’s made to look small in comparison to the 196 million gaming PCs shipped in the last three years – and that doesn’t even include any enthusiast systems built from component parts.

This leaves a frankly enormous installed user base that flies in the face of other market predictions, although developers will still point out that PC software sales still lag far behind consoles.

In response, JPR point out that “Enthusiast PC gamers often latch onto one or two games that offer multiplayer options and stick to these titles for years,” and that “Retail Software figures are not an accurate barometer for the health of the PC gaming industry.”

The Research also points towards the Gaming PC sector continuing to grow, with annual growth predicted at 19% for the performance segment and 21% for the mainstream.

While it’s certainly good news that the PC gaming master race is continuing to grow and that the hardware market is sound, we still have concerns about the state of the PC gaming especially as more and more titles go multi-format and intellectual property piracy becomes ever more rampant. While the hardware is out there, the sales figures are clear that it’s not being utilised in a gaming breadth anywhere near as wide as consoles.

What are your thoughts on the state of PC gaming - do you play one game for longer than a console? Have you already jumped ship to console gaming or do you balance them both? How could developers tap that huge potential market or is it simply PC gamers who just want to play one addictive game over and over? Let us know in the forums.

33 Comments

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crozon 19th November 2008, 13:00 Quote
Big time Pc gamer. Even though i have a PS3, my two gaming pcs are where the funs at. Good news about the hardware sales. Will be interesting to see what valve say about sales especially since i think a big propotion of sales of left4dead will be on steam.
proxess 19th November 2008, 13:03 Quote
This bit of information is much more accurate than "PC Gaming is on a decline" imho. Much more logical.
Kúsař 19th November 2008, 13:08 Quote
PC games only because I'm not rich, I can't afford console games(they're generaly more expensive than PC games). I'd rather buy mixture of 20 new & old PC games instead of 4 console games per year.
Veles 19th November 2008, 13:08 Quote
This looks like another useless analysis to me. 196 million gaming PCs? What constitutes a gaming PC to these guys? My bet, something along the lines of a PC capable of playing a game, shock horror, that is every PC.

Raw facts, PC games don't sell well, no need for companies like this to talk bullshit, AAA PC games aren't selling as well as their console counterparts in most cases. It doesn't matter if there's a "bigger" market if most of that market aren't interested in anything other than the sims or peggle.
sandys 19th November 2008, 13:09 Quote
guess it depends on what they class as a gaming PC, something with a low end ATi or Nvidia chipped would be classed as a gaming PC by the likes of PC world but wouldn't be able to play any new **** from the shops, just the other day I had to convince a guy that his new £400 'gaming' laptop from PC World wouldn't play Stalker, perhaps good for a bit of peggle or the odd flash game but lets not get carried away.

Consoles have made stuff really easy for people so you can see why people prefer to use them, you pop the game in your system it works, no tweaking with graphics options and resolutions to get the best playable compromise, no keyboard configurations to mess about with, just pop in and go, nice and easy, how it should be, Pc gaming is a bit of a minefield for people who don't know about them.

My PC is just a gaming PC I don't use it for much else the problem is that you have to sit in an office like position to play it due to mouse/keyboard being the best option for shooters, I personally wouldn't mind if the PC became more like a console and with games for windows in some respects it has, plug in your 360 control and away you go but even there its flawed, not all games work solely with joypad which is a right pain in the arse, my PC plugs into my 1080p TV via HDMI, the machine has the power to play every title at max detail at that res and its great when the joypad controls work but when they don't in stuff like Valve games I can't be arsed to go and sit upstairs alone with the PC just to play, so what if keyboard and mouse it better I just want to sit downstairs on the big screen and sound setup and truely experience my games.

Consolification of PCs, i'm all for it :D
Bindibadgi 19th November 2008, 13:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by sandys

Consolification of PCs, i'm all for it :D

/lends you flame proof suit.

I've already called the Fire Brigade, Army.
nukeman8 19th November 2008, 13:28 Quote
PC's will always have a good market for games just for the simple fact of MMO's and to a lesser degree RTS gamess.

Fair enough theres been some porting on MMO's onto consoles (can only think of FFXI right now) but PC is the way to go if you want to play a MMO, pretty similar with RTS games its murder trying to coordinate a battle with a controller.

Yes you can get mouse/keyboard combo's for consoles but the playing position for most console gamers isnt right to use them, i know it aint for me.

Same vice versa thou i dont like playing racing games or things like GTA on a PC it just doesn't feel right. I have the same pc controller problem, they are crap they barely work. Maybe if PC's got a decent controller that needed little setting up for all games it would help the PC game market. loads.
13eightyfour 19th November 2008, 13:40 Quote
if you want to sit downstairs with your sofa and big tv then buy a console thats what theyre for, in my eyes anyway. Personally i cant use a controller for **** in anything other than racing games.

I dont want my PC to be consolified i want to be able tinker under the hood not bogged down to standardised components that i have no say over,.
Big stores have a big part to play in this i mean the cheapest 'gaming' PC on the pcworld website is £900 for the base unit and it has a 9800gt?! now im not saying its a crap card but id say a ps3 or xbox360 would run games better and for a significant amount less money too.
Mentai 19th November 2008, 13:44 Quote
They're right about the 1 game for ages thing imo. Most of my friends and I do that, UT04, CSS, WoW, TF2, and now Left4Dead. 5 games, 5 years. I have bought a few other games along the way (mostly this last year), but most of them haven't.
I know that doesn't really make it a compelling market for developers, which is why I've been buying more over the last year than usual (gogo Mass Effect), but most people wont be swayed from a free product (singleplayer), thus the multiplayer offerings are the main purchase.
Tyrmot 19th November 2008, 13:51 Quote
This sounds about right to me. Console games are more designed (mostly) for a quick, casual, pick-up-and-play experience whereas PC games tend to be more time-consuming. Though of course that's not true in all cases it seems a general trend.
Consoles probably suffer as well from a bit from lack of backward compatibility - I'm still playing PC games I bought years ago rather than going and snapping up the latest AAA title as soon as it comes out.
impar 19th November 2008, 13:51 Quote
Greetings!
Quote:
Originally Posted by sandys
Consolification of PCs, i'm all for it :D
If I see you being dragged by a Smoker, I will not save you.
sandys 19th November 2008, 13:55 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi
/lends you flame proof suit.

I've already called the Fire Brigade, Army.

I had a feeling it wouldn't be the most welcomed comment for around here but I like the quality the PC brings due to its ability to have greater hardware but don't want to sit at home the same way I do at work, right in front of screen left hand and on keys for control and right hand on mouse for input/action, a more relaxed posture at home is welcomed.

Of course the downside is that devs are now focusing all there effort on consoles due to that being where the money is and there is zero effort in the PC version, look at CoD WaW how can that play so bad on PC compareed to console or if the new Tombraider Underworld Demo is anything to go by how can a PC version at high res look worse than say Uncharted on PS3 for texture detail etc. lame.
Mentai 19th November 2008, 13:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by titanium angel
Big stores have a big part to play in this i mean the cheapest 'gaming' PC on the pcworld website is £900 for the base unit and it has a 9800gt?! now im not saying its a crap card but id say a ps3 or xbox360 would run games better and for a significant amount less money too.

I disagree with the performance statement. I'd be willing to bet that my 9600GT would be on par with consoles when it comes to playing GTA4, they didn't have fantastic draw distance and I'm pretty sure they weren't even 720p.
reflux 19th November 2008, 14:06 Quote
I bought an Xbox 360 in August, and sold it last week. The games are OK, the console is great, but it doesn't come anywhere near close to my PC.

Glad to hear that it isn't all doom and gloom, and most of the negative PR is coming from companies like Epic as justification for selling themselves out.
UncertainGod 19th November 2008, 15:37 Quote
Yes, the market continues to grow and yet the retail sales don't. Yet those figures don't take into account digital delivery of games, which I would think is a very rapid growing market since I will buy a game through steam if I possibly can, coupled with the fact that almost all of the AAA titles we were meant to covet in the past couple of years have either been very bad ports or just plain crap/unchallenging games.

The best games I have played this year have all been independent titles like Mount & Blade, World Of Goo and Multiwinia.
Tyrmot 19th November 2008, 15:58 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by UncertainGod
...the fact that almost all of the AAA titles we were meant to covet in the past couple of years have either been very bad ports or just plain crap/unchallenging games.

The best games I have played this year have all been independent titles like Mount & Blade, World Of Goo and Multiwinia.

exactly. The reason console games sell so well relative to the number of consoles out there is because the owners of those consoles really have very little choice. Why have an xbox and not play Halo on it? That would be foolish. But to not buy Halo for your gaming PC... well what's strange about that when there's so much else you could be playing instead? Especially as most have played it on an xbox already. This social/'playing on your mate's xbox' side of console gaming is probably a factor as well.
ZERO <ibis> 19th November 2008, 16:45 Quote
As we can see, more competition is the pc market results in a higher chance of amazing games. The sort of games you can keep playing for years. While this is great for the customers and great for the companies that can create such games it is not good for cash cows. These cash cows are considered with making money. The amount of time or actual enjoyment that one gets from the game does not matter, only how much money it makes. It is easier to release cash cows on smaller markets as there is a reduced risk of an actual good game coming out to compete with it. Also it is smart to target a younger group with cash cow products as marketing will be the main sell for these products and younger audiences will be more supceptable to the campaigns.

Therefor one can conclude that companies such as Epic are no longer interested in trying to create high quality games that you will want to play over and over again because there is no money in that (they believe). Argo they are now focusing more on consoles and trying to promote there former customers to follow them.
Project_Nightmare 19th November 2008, 16:51 Quote
IMHO I think pc games are a whole lot better than console ones. This is mainly because you can do so much more with it. I fell in love with pc games when I found out how to mod some of my games, to be able to cheat (on single player of course) and use trainers for games that didn't have cheats, and take apart the games to extract certain files like the cinematics.
UrbanMarine 19th November 2008, 17:05 Quote
It's all about money now. If you can make 10mil making a console game and only 3mil making a pc game what would you choose? Very few Devs do both with success. The casual market dwarfs the "hardcore" market. I prefer PCs and if it wasn't for the change of heart on the Devs part my last console would still be the PS2. I only bought a 360 because the PC wasn't doing much at the time.
Evildead666 19th November 2008, 20:13 Quote
Never owned a console.
Probably never will.

Been playing on PC's since they came out, and on other computers before them.
A console is a games machine, and very little else.
A computer is soooo much more.

And I can tinker with it ;)
impar 19th November 2008, 20:40 Quote
Greetings!

Problem is not the gaming capable PCs sales, its the PC games sales.
UrbanMarine 19th November 2008, 20:53 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evildead666
Never owned a console.
Probably never will.

Been playing on PC's since they came out, and on other computers before them.
A console is a games machine, and very little else.
A computer is soooo much more.

And I can tinker with it ;)


You can do almost anything with a PC. Work, go to school, order food, find a date or make new international friends. That's what's them sooo great
sandys 19th November 2008, 21:22 Quote
You can do that on a PS3 too ;) :p
D3s3rt_F0x 19th November 2008, 21:26 Quote
Hardly surprising Epic always bring out the well look at Crysis the best looking game ever and it didnt sell very well and UT3 didnt sell.

Fact of the matter is Crysis probs was and is the best looking game ever but it was strapped to THE worst story known to man and was complete and utter crap. UT3? That was just terrible.

Half Life 2 episode 2 was a good game though and bet it didnt sell too bad, maybe companies that moan about sales should make good games.
AltruiSisu 20th November 2008, 00:32 Quote
has anyone thought that perhaps WoW alone has had a massive impact on general PC gaming by simply taking up the majority of time of many, many PC gamers (remember, i said perhaps)?

when i played WoW, there was nothing else, not only in PC games, but in life, frankly (and unfortunately ... i'm glad i'm good and done with that crack). for many PC gamers, i think that could still be the case. this certainly backs up the 'few games over longer periods' thought, but perhaps to a much further and exacting extent. what's the count now, 16 million (!) subscribers to WoW alone? in my book, that's a lot of lost revenue everywhere else (including consoles, i suppose).

other games can do similar things, of course, but other games also have an end, or at least much less replayability. with WoW, you're never done, no matter what you've already accomplished.
Whi7eRa66iT 20th November 2008, 01:32 Quote
What blows my mind is when people refer to the Price being why they go the way of consoles. Do you really think the price will stay that low for much longer?? The ONLY reason why the XBox was as inexpensive as it was, was do to Microsoft practically giving them away at cost. Therefor, Sony had to "try" and match it. The only console worth going for in my opinion would be the WII due to it being original. But that is mostly for family style games. I play games that I would prefer my daughters NOT watching. Left4Dead and the Battlefield series games. (Yes online).
Plus, I built my Gaming Rig myself. Purchased the parts "I" wanted and tweaked them to my liking. Purchasing a console for FPS in my opinion (again) is like purchasing a MAC. Here is what they tell you, you should have, now go away. Upgrade you ask? No, come back in three years and purchase another one. Change ANYTHING and you will get NO help from anywhere. Its their way or the highway. NO thank you. I like thinking beyond what they try to tell me to. ;)
rhuitron 20th November 2008, 09:31 Quote
It;s Up. It's Down.
Now it's back up again.

MAKE UP YOUR FOTHER MUCKING MIND!

Lol!
roshan 21st November 2008, 06:56 Quote
PC GAMES FOREVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
tranc3 21st November 2008, 07:16 Quote
I've definitely noticed it going up. i think that consoles are great, but for some reason I've personally found pc better, even befor the xbox 360 died i liked playing counter strike source 1000x more then i could ever like halo ~ and i'm to the point now that i can't even aim with a controller, but with other games, i can't use the keyboard and mouse (third person, over the shoulder mostly) drives me crazy.
GO PC!
UrbanMarine 21st November 2008, 15:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by sandys
You can do that on a PS3 too ;) :p

With the magic of PC mobility your not stuck in one spot like with a console.
sandys 21st November 2008, 16:46 Quote
a decent games PC is not mobile and a gaming laptop is out of date between the time you've ordered and its arrived
UrbanMarine 21st November 2008, 21:25 Quote
Yeah it all depends on the person and their whoreness to graphics. I play all my games fine on my laptop. I trade gameplay over graphics.
HOLBORN231 22nd November 2008, 14:18 Quote
console gaming are very cool for those who just want a staright forward gaming machine without tweaking it here and there over the years. many console gamers see pc for work purpose and browsing interenet, but we all know its also can be cool gaming machine with the right parts. i my self have a xbox360 and Ps3 and what i have noticed from these consoles that its kinda bridging over to the pc aspect. with internet access, downloading movies etc, have dvd player but keeping it all console gaming. i may fink in the future some of those console gamers may look at it and see the contrast between consoles and pc and move over to the pc gaming.

with ATI graphics card giving perforamance and quality at great value is a very big positive for pc gaming. developers are moving away from pc gaming becuase of piracy which is a big problem for the industry. usually pc games are more cheaper than console games but piracy still continue. developers can do certain amount of protection for their product but i feel its time for microsoft to implement some kind of anti piracy software in to the os.

in the future i fink there will be an increase in pc gaming if the cost are kept low hardware and software wise and one other feature would be kewl for pc gaming is able to move from normal pc to gaming pc interms of shutting unwanted programs in gaming mode aslo a GUI making it simple to select game.
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