2010 was a big year for the PC videogame industry as the PC Gaming Alliance reports revenue growth of 20 percent over 2009 to an overall market value of more than $16 billion.

I’m not even going to make the obligatory “PC gaming is dead” crack because at this point, even the irony is worn out. Instead we’re just going to get straight to the PC Gaming Alliance’s 2010 Horizons report, compiled by DFC Intelligence, which says that 2010 was a banner year for the PC game industry. The global PC games market hit a value of $16.2 billion in 2010, a year-over-year increase from 2009 of 20 percent. China was the largest and fastest-growing market for PC games, putting up $4.8 billion in revenues for the year, but “mature markets” in the U.S., U.K., Japan, Korea and Germany all showed significant growth as well, combining for $7.3 billion in revenues, a 19 percent increase.

Digital distribution is a major driver of industry growth, as sites like Steam and Direct2Drive continue to turn traditional retailers into merely an “optional source for distribution.” Free-to-play and online gaming are also cited as major contributors to the growing strength of the PC as a gaming platform.

“The spotlight has definitely shifted back to the PC game market,” said PC Gaming Alliance President Matt Ployhar. “Large game publishers are looking at digital revenue on the PC game platform as one of their key areas of growth and it is clear that the performance of the PC game market in 2010 is resulting in substantial investment money flowing into the PC game business.”

It’s a bold statement but not entirely unjustified. PC gaming may still be the industry’s red-headed stepchild but it’s clear by now that it’s not a black hole; there’s a lot of money to be made for developers and publishers who are willing to embrace the platform and take advantage of its strengths. The report predicted a compound annual growth rate for the industry of nine percent, hitting $23 billion by 2014, driven mainly by increasing ease of access to digital distribution channels. Not bad for a dying platform, eh?

Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

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