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.