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PC games revenues up 3% in 2009

PC Gaming Alliance unveils 2009 report on $13.1 billion PC games market

Software revenues for the PC games market rose by 3 per cent last year to a total of $13.1 billion, according to the new 2009 Horizons Report from the PC Gaming Alliance (PCGA).

The non-profit corporation, which includes members such as Microsoft, Intel, AMD, Epic, NVIDIA, GameStop and Dell, sources data from every region in the world and covers retail sales, online gaming, digital distribution and online advertising.

The latest report was prepared by market research firm DFC Intelligence, who found that the Asia Pacific region was fuelling the majority of growth in the global PC games market.

"In 2009 we saw North America and Europe experience a rapid uptake in purchasing virtual items. This model is what drove growth in Asia and we think it is just starting to come to Western markets," said Randy Stude, PCGA president and Intel director.

The increasing popularity of free-to-play games and social network sites such as Facebook did result in a decline in overall revenues in established Western markets though. The lack of major new subscription-based games also contributed at a fall in revenues in North America and Europe of 10 to 15 per cent.

The most significant decline though was in boxed retail sales, which now accounts for just 20 per cent of total PC game revenues worldwide.

"In our surveys of PC gamers in North America and Europe we found that over 70 per cent indicate they have bought a full game online. Furthermore, over 50 per cent indicate that they have bought a virtual item," said DFC analyst David Cole.

The full report is available on to PCGA members, with further information available at the official website.

Latest comments (8)

Gregory Keenan8 years ago
Good news. Hopefully this will calm claims that PC gaming is dead.
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Livingston Datkowitz Quality Assurance Tester, Digital Embryo8 years ago
Great to hear!

@Gregory I hope so too.
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Jack Loftus Contributing Editor, Gizmodo8 years ago
I looked out my window this morning, and pigs were indeed flying! Good on PC gaming for getting a small shot in the arm. Not dead yet!
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Show all comments (8)
Tom Davy8 years ago
Hopefully this brings more investment to the platform.
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James Ingrams Writer 8 years ago
I think you are all missing the point here: Revenue, not sales, are up. That to me is all about DLC. What used to be included in games is now more and more being not put in/taken out to make DLC for extra profit. It can also mean more sales of indie games and higher retro game sales at sites like GOG.com.

EA said earlier this year that over 90% of their sales were still boxed versions. So this figure of 20% mentioned here makes me wonder how correct this report is overall.

I still think PC AAA gaming IS dying, and is being replace by more income from from 'outside sources, like indie and retro titles. In effect then, the 3% could just be GOG.com doubling it's sales of classic retro titles combined with DLC income. Not exactly a sign of PC gaming coming back to the forefront of the mainstream gaming market!

Edited 1 times. Last edit by James Ingrams on 10th March 2010 5:07pm

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Livingston Datkowitz Quality Assurance Tester, Digital Embryo8 years ago
@James "I still think PC AAA gaming IS dying" - I disagree. That statement may hold true to exclusive triple A PC titles, but not triple A titles for the PC in general. There will still be ports from consoles, I'm sure of it. In any even, I think Blizzard will always be producing top notch titles for the PC. Triple A titles ain't going anywhere for the PC.

My prediction is that PC gamers will eventually make the transition to full digital distribution. I was one of those people who loved their physical copies of games but that changed ever since I started buying games from Steam. They don't just sell retro/indie games, they have every type. Not to mention the recent announcement of the Steam platform expanding to the Mac? I think Steam is going to tap into something big there. Impulse, Direct2Drive, EA store, and recently Windows Live opening digital distribution is the sign of the change to come.

In my eyes, digital distribution IS the future of PC gaming. Retails boxes of PC games will be rare in a few years. Until they start to incorporate MMO subscription, digital distribution and micro transaction earnings in their reports, the PC market will look like a sinking ship.

sorry for rant :)
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Ignatius Fernandes Studying Computer Science, Kingston University8 years ago
PC gamers get actually what they want, They dont buy into stupid half hearted ports like MW2. Look at Battlefield BC2 it has most gamers online on the PC platform compared to their console counterparts. PC gaming isnt dead, developers just need to give them what they want.
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Andrew Clayton QA Weapons Tester, Electronic Arts8 years ago
I second Ignatius. I know many PC gamers who have vowed against MW2 while scrambling to pick up games like Bioshock 2, Mass Effect 2, and Dragon Age: Origins. Gamers will pay for what's actually fun.
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