While it’s unlikely a surprise to adherents of computing for personal entertainment, a new report by SuperData implies that the PC is an “undervalued platform” – at least in terms of potential earnings and revenue. The report, which focuses specifically on digital titles, determined that the top 10 PC titles pipped their mobile counterparts for the year, pulling in a whopping $6.3 billion.
But temper your enthusiasm, because as it stands the major players in the PC space happen to fall in the free-to-play, MMO and “social” gaming market. Some of the top earners are probably games you’ve never heard of, such as Dungeon Fighter Online and Lineage (probably one of the longest-running MMOs at this point). In terms of the top 10, the only single-player offering that made the cut was Grand Theft Auto V. “Traditional” gaming forms a very small part of the combined $32 billion digital PC market.
This points to a growing acceptance of digital purchases – largely by consumers but partly, according to SuperData’s Joost van Dreunen, by the needs of publishers’ shareholders. “The top game publishers are becoming so large that they can no longer sustain their growth by simply publishing more titles and claiming more market share in games,” citing the recent acquisition of MLG by Activision as a move to grow into broader markets.
Even without all this data, there does seem to be a growing trend towards the PC. Many console exclusives which in their platform’s heyday would have remained there now launch alongside a PC version. SuperData highlighted the relatively small digital market on consoles, hindered by a high barrier to entry.
Japanese companies have also begun to embrace the PC to broaden their niche audience and reach new fans for older titles. Consider, for example, that Valkyria Chronicles, a 2008 PS3 exclusive, has sold over 200,000 copies on Steam, which is incredible when compared to its US sales when it originally released (33,000, which multiplied by four when it saw a price drop).
How long the PC will hold top spot in the face of the ever-growing mobile market remains to be seen, but as retail console games hit the R1,000+ mark and publishers further embrace the digital marketplace, the PC’s future looks very bright indeed.