Rumors of PC gaming's death are extremely premature, according to the PC Gaming Alliance (PCGA). Speaking today at the Leipzig Games Convention, the nonprofit industry body--which was formed just this March--banged the pro-PC drum loudly. There, it presented a report titled "Horizons," which purported to show the true strength of PC gaming worldwide in 2007.
In January, leading industry-research firm The NPD Group pegged 2007 US PC game sales as $911 million--a small fraction of the year's nearly $19 billion in US game sales. However, according to the PCGA, that figure, which only included sales of boxed PC games at retail, was but a small slice of PC game revenues. Indeed, the industry body--whose members include AMD, Dell, Intel, Microsoft, Nvidia, and Activision Blizzard--says retail sales now account for only 30 percent of PC game income internationally.
According to the PCGA's Horizons report, games on the oldest active gaming platform generated around $10.7 billion in sales worldwide. Of that, $4.8 billion--nearly half--comes from online revenue, including subscriptions for massively multiplayer games such as the omnipresent World of Warcraft. Digital distribution sales hit $2 billion globally, with in-game and game portal advertising revenues reaching $800 million. (Neither of the latter two categories is included in NPD's reports, although the industry body announced in February that it would begin issuing quarterly reports on US subscriptions sometime this year.)
In a statement provided by the PCGA, DFC Intelligence David Cole espoused his belief that, far from shrinking, the PC gaming market will continue to expand rapidly. "The real key has been the rapid growth in penetration of broadband-connected PCs in all markets around the world," he declared. "Broadband-connected PCs are the key driver of growth for PC gaming. DFC Intelligence estimated that by the end of 2007 less than one-third of households in the top 20 markets for games had a high-speed Internet connection. That clearly indicates that there is still plenty of growth to come."
The PCGA says that, going forward, it will release a new Horizons report semi-annually. For more details on the organization, visits its official Web site, www.pcgamingalliance.org.