Study: 2012 game revs to hit $68.3 billion

PricewaterhouseCoopers paper says global game-industry sales will grow $26.4 billion in just five years.

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Although sectors of the world economy are currently stagnating, the game industry is booming. Last year, the NPD Group reported nearly $19 billion of game sales in the US alone, not including downloadable content, online game subscriptions, or mobile games.

While the world's biggest game market, the US is only a piece of the global game-sales puzzle. According to a study by accounting and financial services giant PricewaterhouseCoopers, 2007 saw $41.9 billion in global sales of all types of games, including mobile and online games. It was unclear if that figure included game accessories, as NPD does.

While a staggering amount, last year's record haul will be outdone in years to come, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers. According to the Reuters news service, the company's new report titled Global Entertainment and Media Outlook: 2008-2012 says the game industry will continue to grow apace in the next five years at a compound annual rate of just over 10 percent. As a result, the paper's authors predict that in 2012, global game sales will hit at staggering $68.3 billion--dwarfing all other media sectors other than online advertising.

PricewaterhouseCoopers also broke down which gaming sectors will rise--and which will fall. The company predicts console games--led by the Wii, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3--will go from $24.9 billion in 2007 to $34.7 billion in 2012, an annual growth rate of 6.9 percent. This increase will apparently come at the expense of the PC, which will see revenue slip 1.2 percent annually, from $3.8 billion in 2007 to $3.6 billion in 2012.

Ironically, as the study talks down the PC, it talks up "online games," presumably meaning subscription fees from massively multiplayer PC titles such as World of Warcraft. If PricewaterhouseCoopers' augury holds true, revenue in that sector will increase to $14.4 billion in 2012 from $6.6 billion in 2007. Last year, World of Warcraft developer and publisher Blizzard Entertainment generated more than $1 billion in revenue all by itself, and currently takes in more than $100 million each month in sales and subscriptions.

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