Today, industry research firm DFC Intelligence, issued a report predicting that online game revenue will increase at a startling rate. Thanks to the proliferation of high-speed Internet connections, DFC thinks that the worldwide online game market will pass $13 billion by 2012. That's nearly triple its current estimated size of $4.5 billion. By region, DFC estimates that 50 percent of online game revenue will come from East Asia, 25 percent from North America, 18 percent from Europe, and 7 percent from Japan.
While the vast majority of online game revenue currently stems from PC games, DFC foresees a rapid rise in income from online content sold on Xbox Live Marketplace, the PlayStation Store, and the Wii Shop. "By 2012, revenue from digital distribution on console systems is expected to pass $1 billion," read the report.
The research group also augurs that sales of in-game items will account for a whopping 40 percent of all online game revenue--or around $5.2 billion--by 2012. Most such items are offered in PC MMORPGs, but are also available for console titles such as Project Gotham Racing 3.