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Global PC games market revenue overtakes consoles

by Mark Tyson on 28 April 2014, 13:00

Tags: Valve, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), PC

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According to market analysts at DFC Intelligence the PC games market now generates more revenue globally than the console games market can muster. A DFC analyst, in an interview with PCR, points out how the times have changed. Consoles are now seen as a prestige item, where as PCs, which can also play games, are increasing becoming a device that people need, and are cheaper to build, especially gaming rigs.

A console? That's luxury.

"On a global basis PC games have surpassed console games, but the new console systems means consoles should show an increase," said DFC Intelligence boss David Cole. He went on to point out that "Among core gamers there is a heavy overlap with most console gamers also playing on a PC. The big difference is that consoles are now the luxury item and PCs are the necessity. Just a few years ago the reverse was true. This means PCs have the broader audience."

MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) and free-to-play games were also deemed as the most popular and best performing genre on the PC gaming platform, according to DFC's recently published quarterly report on PC gaming revenues and usage.

"The MOBA games League of Legends and Dota 2 dominate everything else by an order of magnitude in terms of more usage than other products," says Cole. "In the first part of 2014 we saw some signs that may change with the introduction of new titles and some increased play of games outside the MOBA category."

These high performing games are what continues to push PC gaming above expectations in revenue, despite the lack of big new releases on the PC platform and the release of new consoles during the recent holiday season. The lack of new AAA releases also did not affect the average play time last year, which Cole believes bodes well for growth this year.

Europe in the driving seat

The increasing popularity of PC gaming in Europe and crossover titles have been a big driver of positive PC trends. "There is a blurring of platforms where it starts to get hard to define what is a PC and what is a mobile device," Cole explained. "Hearthstone was a great example of this as it released for both PC and iPad. Not all games fit that model but as we mentioned core gamers now tend to play on multiple devices."

As evidence of this positive PC gaming trend in Europe, earlier this year we reported on the UK PC gaming market surpassing the £500 million milestone.

HEXUS Forums :: 19 Comments

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Wow, I am surprised by some of the statements in there….

Many of us have known for a while that TCO can work out roughly the same, given time and software/subscription costs…..but to actually see that philosophy reflected in market analysis is another thing.

I still find their reasoning odd though….PCs now deemed a necessity outside of gaming? Seems odd with the sales of tablets….
I still find their reasoning odd though….PCs now deemed a necessity outside of gaming? Seems odd with the sales of tablets….
Not unusual at all in my experience - everyone I know who has a tablet also has a laptop or desktop PC. Invariably the reasoning given is that their iOS/Android tablet can't run the software that they “absolutely got to have” - which usually comes down to Office to be frank.

Other thing that's been mentioned to me is that document creation on a typical tablet is not a rewarding experience with editing being a particular annoyance. You can select text etc faster/easier with a keyboard and/or mouse, and typing on a tablet screen - even with the likes of Swiftkey - is a less engaging activity than with a “proper” keyboard. I know a couple of folks who have tried add-on keyboards but invariably the comments are that they have poor feel and - more importantly perhaps - they're very much an “add on” with little support in the OS or applications for anything more than basic features.

The other aspect that's been mentioned is that some other “key” software - especially mail clients if you're not using those free services like Outlook, gMail, etc - are pretty dire compared to their desktop-resident counterparts.

I'm going to sound like a stuck record, but Microsoft managed to miss out big time by overpricing the Windows RT tablets (Office bundled and has proper OS support for a keyboard). Plus I still maintain that if you want to see a tablet “done right” then look at an Asus Transformer - netbook style keyboard and Android was enhanced to properly support that keyboard. Of course though, the Transformer still lacks a desktop-grade mail client.

Anyone fancy giving up their gaming PC, or even their PS3/4, Xbox for a tablet gaming experience? Not me, tablet gaming is okay, but I don't think I'd want to have a long FPS session on any tablet at the moment.

No, what was more baffling to me about this was that consoles weren't the #1. I'd assumed that because these were relatively cheap and easy to setup etc that they'd be most people's gaming choice. I'm a example though of multi-platform gaming - Friday I did a big of PvZ's on my Galaxy Note tablet, then later in the evening a bit of CoD on the PC, but the following day the XBox got fired up for a quick shot at MoH.

What might be interesting is to see if the SteamBox/SteamOS makes any headway. After all, that's a “console-ized” PC, so there's arguably scope there for it to take some sales from PS4/XBone - making the PC games market's lead even bigger.
No surprise to me. I've always PC gamed on the cheap - My current build was £300 using old case/HDD/SSD and a hand me down GPU and it plays everything at 1080p! I've also got a £313 lenovo laptop with dual graphics (A8-5550/8550G with 8570m) that plays most things well enough (No 1080p but plays most games I throw at it). The days you had to spend £1000s to PC game have gone (You can spend more of course - just like a car but is it really necessary to enjoy a quick gaming session!).
I think it's not so much that the PC is a necessity, rather than a proper computer keyboard is a necessity.
All hail the pc master race!