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.