The PC Gaming Alliance has unveiled the results of its "Horizons" report, a study of the worldwide PC gaming industry, and the news is actually pretty good.
During 2007, the PC gaming industry earned revenues of $10.7 billion, according to PC Gaming Alliance President Randy Stude, although retail sales accounted for only 30 percent of that figure, while online revenues nearly doubled that amount, totaling $4.8 billion. Sales via digital distribution were nearly $2 billion, while advertising income from sources including websites, portals and in-game ads totaled $800 million. Asia was by far the strongest market for online revenues, driving growth with close to half of the industry's total worldwide sales.
"Our analysis clearly shows incredible growth in online PC gaming, proof that this industry is far stronger than anyone has reported," Stude told an audience at the Leipzig Games Convention. "Today's consumers shop where they live - online."
The PC gaming market is often cited as being in serious decline, with numerous studies indicating strong revenue growth among game consoles while income from PC gaming continues to slide. But those studies typically fail to take into account non-retail sources of income, such as MMOG subscription fees and digital distribution sales, which critics contend has seriously skewed the perception of the PC as a viable game machine. Despite popular belief, according to DFC Intelligence analyst David Cole, those new business models have maintained the PC as "the single leading platform for games, not only in terms of consumer usage, but revenue generation."
"The most fascinating thing about PC gaming is its ability to attract such a diverse audience, both demographically and geographically," he continued. "The real key has been the rapid growth in penetration of broadband-connected PCs in all markets around the world. Broadband-connected PCs are a key driver of growth for PC gaming." Even so, Cole estimated less than one-third of households in the top 20 game markets actually had a broadband internet connection as of the end of 2007, indicating tremendous opportunities for continued growth in the future.
"The initiatives of the PCGA will be a key enabler of growth as they will help the industry identify key trends and opportunities in this rapidly emerging market," Cole said. And while many of those initiatives may not of great benefit to fans of single-player experiences, it seems quite clear that PC gaming is alive and kicking.