PC and console market will decline - Report

Juniper Research finds segment will shrink 12% to $41 billion by 2019; streaming games to top $1 billion

The new generation of consoles and booming category of free-to-play PC games won't be enough to keep the market growing indefinitely. According to a Juniper Research report, the market will soon turn south, falling from $46.5 billion worldwide this year to $41 billion in 2019.

Despite that 12 percent drop, the PC and console segment will still account for more than half of all gaming revenues through 2019. Additionally, Juniper said software sales on PC and console "will remain relatively healthy," with PC revenues topping those of its console counterparts.

The PC & Console Games: Trends, Opportunities, and Vendor Strategies 2014-2019 report also predicts the console cycle to continue as in generations past. That means the new systems will spark sales in the short-term, with growth slowing and then turning negative as the new platforms age. Juniper also expects another generation of consoles likely arriving around 2019, with the new platforms having a similar lifespan to the their predecessors.

Dedicated gaming handhelds will continue to play a part in the industry, with Juniper penciling them in for about $2.2 billion in revenues in 2019. (Handhelds were not included in the console/PC figures above.) And while cloud gaming is going to receive a boost this year with the launch of PlayStation Now, it won't upend the status quo just yet. Juniper expects the cloud gaming market to rise from $281 million this year to $1 billion by 2019.

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Latest comments (9)

Paul Jace Merchandiser 7 years ago
Juniper also expects another generation of consoles likely arriving around 2019
I don't think most people will be ready or willing to start over again in a mere 5 years, especially since adoption numbers for all three are going to increase at an accelerated rate once price drops and more system selling games start coming out over the next few years.

My prediction(if analyst can do it so can I) is that the 5 year console life cycle ended last gen and will not be repeated by console makers other than perhaps the lone black sheep each gen that doesn't perform as well as their competitors.
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James Podesta Programmer 7 years ago
now that consoles are effectively upgradable PC hardware, there will be pressure to upgrade memory/cpu/gpu while maintaining full backwards compatibility.
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Curt Sampson Sofware Developer 7 years ago
...there will be pressure to upgrade memory/cpu/gpu while maintaining full backwards compatibility.
That's quite an interesting thought. Hardware upgrades during a console's lifetime are not unknown, the most obvious example probably being the doubling of RAM in the PSP between the first and second generations units. That was used mainly for OS improvements (the big one being the ability to suspend a game, go do something else, and then come back to it, rather than having to save and quit), however.

It seems to me that OS improvements would be the only real draw for this, however. Being able to do more in parallel with a game (such as better streaming, having more social networking functionality, or whatever) benefits every game on the console and means that developers don't have to change their games in order for the player to take advantage of this. I'm not sure how much this will really be needed, though, now that console manufacturers have finally taken really seriously the need to have a good chunk of hardware available to support OS functions.

Game improvements that take advantage of extra hardware are certainly a possibility, of course, and developers that have done PC development already have extensive experience with supporting different levels of hardware. If anything, this would be easier on a console where you would be looking at only two or three fixed configurations, rather than the massive range of configurations you need to deal with on a PC. But what features that consumers would really appreciate would they be able to bring to the table? I'm guessing that, even if the platform owners would allow it, developers wouldn't find major gameplay changes based on console version to be so acceptable to consumers. What would people think if PS4 owners could play only 64-player Battlefield 5 battles, but PS4 bis owners could play 128-player battles? That sort of divide might not work, and having games that lose even more major functionality (or aren't playable at all) on the non-bis PS4 sounds like a recipe for backlash. (Or maybe you just make it the PSV, and, as James pointed out, offer perfect backward compatibility.)

Giving the PS4 bis owners 60 FPS instead of the 30 FPS you give to PS4 owners, or flashier graphics, would probably not introduce much resentment, but it's not clear to me that that sort of thing would be attractive enough for Sony to make the new, more expensive SKU.

Has anybody else got any interesting ideas that would provide a convincing value proposition for the platform manufacturer and consumers while avoiding backlash?
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Istvan Fabian Principal Engineer, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe7 years ago
That's exactly what phone manufacturers do, without any kind of backlash... in fact, buyers are lined up to part with their cash every year, at each new iteration of the otherwise identical hardware :)
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Curt Sampson Sofware Developer 7 years ago
That's exactly what phone manufacturers do, without any kind of backlash...
And the same is true, probably to an even greater degree, of PCs, as well. That doesn't mean that consoles work the same way.

In the last thirty years, I've been back and forth several times between consoles and PCs for gaming. Currently I happen to be on PC, but I can see very good reasons why many people would prefer consoles, and are willing to pay in many ways (more expensive games, less functionality, worse graphics and frame rate, lack of mouse for games where a mouse works better, etc.) to use a console instead.

The key advantage of a console is that it's more or less an appliance that "just works." (Yes, we've been diverging from this ideal in the last couple of generations, but I can say from experience that my PS3, for all its issues, is still much less high-maintenance than my PC.) Given that this is a key selling point - the thing that makes a console have any advantage at all over a PC - anything that compromises this should be looked at with great care.

(This is driven home to me all the more by spending half an hour tonight working out that the default "on" setting of "Enable optic effects in sniper mode" in World of Tanks made everything but the HUD turn black in sniper mode, after I'd logged in to one of my alt accounts, even though it had been working fine in my main account. As a software developer myself, albeit not in game development [for good reasons I suspect a lot of you well understand],I can tell you that this is probably not "lazy developers" but just a typical sort of thing that pops up in the down-and-nasty of commercial software development.)
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Nick Wofford Hobbyist 7 years ago
Those people are also lining up with their upgrades and contracts in hand, paying very little compared to people buying consoles. When most consumers buy a console, they don't wanna feel like it was a waste.

One thing I notice about the 5-year life cycle that people always mistake: everyone always assumes that everyone buys the device at launch. But that's just not the case. Most people will buy a few years after launch, and if they do that with a 5-year console, then they're at most 3 years from the new console being released. That's just too frustrating for consumers.
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Brian Lewis Operations Manager, PlayNext7 years ago
That's exactly what phone manufacturers do, without any kind of backlash... in fact, buyers are lined up to part with their cash every year, at each new iteration of the otherwise identical hardware :)
That is actually a very interesting proposition... If consoles were sold in a similar fashion.

Imagine a choice of a free PS3 or a PS4 for $200 with a 2 Year service plan from your ISP (or such). Something like this would be almost identical to the current cell phone scenario. This would make upgrading every few years much more common. It could allow for a console product refresh, without having to go to a totally new generation.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Brian Lewis on 24th July 2014 8:46pm

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Curt Sampson Sofware Developer 7 years ago
There's a big difference between consoles and phones. Phones of any generation still do their basic job: making phone calls, sending text messages, browsing most web pages. While there are indeed a lot of people playing games on phones, that's still only a fraction of the total population using phones, and of that fraction, the gamers serious enough to be annoyed if new games don't work on their old phone is smaller yet.

I think it's pretty clear at this point that most of the public isn't interested in spending several hundred dollars on a new console every couple of years, even if the console manufacturers could afford the costs of doing this. Even almost a decade in, the PS3 has sold barely more than half as many units as the PS2.

So if you're going to upgrade, it can't be really a "new generation" with backwards compatibility; you need to keep producing games that work on the older version of the console as well. If your'e doing this, what do the games have when running on the new console that they don't have running on the old one? I find it difficult to believe that someone willing to live with all the limitations of a console over a PC is going to be particularly concerned about getting a slightly better frame rate or graphics effects; if he were, he would have bought a PC in the first place.
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Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 7 years ago
No wat is the phone model applicable

However, this is exactly what the Xbox cloud is for. If it works as intended, you upgrade the servers and voila, console upgrades. Whether this works in practice remains to be seen. No one is going to upgrade console hardwRe in any significant way, and no one, besides Nintebdo, is putting out a console b the next fivevyears. Just getting to that 30 million sweet sot is a three year proposition

But as far as hardware upgrades, splintering you base is disaster every tine. That PSP upgrade ddidnt change the fact the 1000 models could still run the games. And there's so much RAM headroom that isn't happening. To be honest, the only upgrades I see is DOWN. If cable companies want app-only versions with less cores, less RAM and less heat to be cable bosses, these systems are very capable of doing that
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