PC Gaming Hits an All Time High of $18.6B in Software Revenues for 2011!

Wow… what a year for PC Gaming!

The PC Gaming Alliance has just released our latest press release results covering PC Gaming’s latest revenue milestone now exceeding $18.6B. The in-depth details are available to PC Gaming Alliance members provided in our Horizon's Research Reports. The best part about all this is that this is just the tip of the iceberg! PC Gaming Revenues are on a trajectory to once and for all pass up all three, yes, all three consoles revenues combined - this year!

So for those of you that follow the news about Gaming – results haven’t really been all that rosy over the past quarter or more right? So I’m sure some of you are going what? How can PC Gaming be doing this well? There's no way! Right? So this gets better… as I’m sure the console giants, strategists, biz-dev, marketing-PR, academics, several analysts, and investor types, et all are convinced that consoles are crushing PC Gaming blah blah blah. Right? Well....


Here’s what’s really going on. The reports coming out from retailers that gaming sales are way down leave out the most critical detail. It’s not so much the PC Games being impacted…it’s mostly console games. I’m not trying to gloat here or anything but let’s face it; console games are going to go through the same pains that PC games did in the last decade. Put another way…. PC Games can’t really fall any further at retail since that’s pretty much already happened. However; console games have a much much much further distance to fall before they hit ground. It’s most likely not an if, but when, that happens. So…welcome to our PC Gaming party!

So…should we do to the console PR machine what they did to PC Gaming and spin this as… “Consoles are dying”? Nah… I don’t believe we should. I think the smarter way of pitching this is that consoles are both obsolete and irrelevant. Those paying attention already see that. However; given that, I don’t think they’ll die out per se, but rather evolve & be re-spun as some sort of new, evolved, or transformed product. (Have fun with that several hundred million dollar PR re-invention story). Besides… for all the propaganda about PC Gaming dying…the reality is that the only platforms that actually did die in the last decade actually turned out to be two consoles. (Xbox One, & Nintendo GameCube* – if I must spell them out). A shame that people can’t keep their facts straight, or conveniently overlook these things.

Unfortunately; the real victims are likely going to be more of the retail stores. I don’t relish seeing that. I think we’ve all seen too much of that happen already with music stores, book stores, video/movie stores, and even with games stores.

So...in a nutshell for those wondering how PC Gaming can be this healthy, strong, and vibrant.

  1. PC Gaming is far more global
  2. Gaming capable PC’s sell more units in one year typically than any individual console can in three to five years
  3. PC Gaming, for quite some time now, has had far less reliance on retail than consoles
  4. PC Gaming shifted & embraced newer more lucrative business models & formats more quickly than consoles have. (e.g. subscriptions, free to play/freemium/micro-transactions, advertising, etc). They’re also able to do this because the form-factor itself is far more flexible & iterative.
  5. PC Gaming, believe it or not, is far more profitable. Consoles are swimming in veritable ‘Red-Oceans’. ARPUs are way up on PC Gaming. Especially so when taking advantage of the latest and greatest formats and business models. I have far more details here for PCGA members-only.
  6. PC Gaming practically invented the 'Free to Play' model which nearly eliminates piracy. This has proven to be a very effective approach and adopted quite heavily in some geos. Piracy can be further reduced by other simple things such as offering more value, or services, back to gamers. This includes localizing your game content for as many geos as possible on day one launch.
  7. PC Gaming doesn’t suffer nearly as much from the ‘secondary sales’, ‘pre-owned’, ‘loaned-out’ games scenarios as the consoles do.
  8. PC Gaming's value-proposition smokes the console. Savvy gamers across the world realize PC Gaming has never been more affordable. Have you checked out all the great laptop and desktop bargains lately? Absolutely incredible deals out there for extremely respectable PC’s ranging from $350-800 (US) that blow consoles of today completely out of the water.
  9. PC Gaming can be done in your living room, using an HDMI cable, and wireless game-pads. I do this all the time. Now.. if your game isn’t available for the PC, or the PC version isn’t working like the console version does. Email and contact the games ISV in question! Vote with your wallet!

I’m going to hit the ‘pause’ button now as I could keep going with tons of more reasons as to why PC Gaming is doing so well. That said, I’ll try to share more of the research report over time. It’s a great time to be a PC gamer, and honestly, I believe this is just only the beginning.

Thanks for reading everyone. Hopefully I’ll bump into a few of you at GDC this week!