EA: There's more to PC game sales than meets the eye


— 11:59 AM on May 14, 2008

With increasing zeal lately, pundits, journalists, and analysts have been keen to foretell the death of PC gaming, pointing to dropping retail PC game sales as evidence. However, John Riccitiello thinks the opposite is true—and, being the CEO of Electronic Arts, he ought to know.

According to Shacknews, Riccitiello stated during a conference call yesterday that PC gaming is in fact growing, and that retail sales numbers paint a skewed picture of the market.

"One of the things we try to look at at EA is the total business represented on PC game software, and we're seeing a growth in business there. It's been growing for several years," Riccitello said during a financial conference call yesterday.

"It's just been categorized wrongly by looking simply at the box side of the equation, he added. "The fastest growing [sector] is subscription, microtransactions-based and casual games, many of which are pretty much centered on the PC."

As Shacknews points out, this assessment complements that of NPD analyst Anita Fraisure, who noted earlier this year that low PC game sales numbers were simply due to the growing shift toward digital distribution. Fraisure commented, "As we've seen from a number of our studies, the PC continues to be a top platform in terms of total game playing time."

EA is putting its money where its mouth is, too, because at least two of its upcoming games will rely on the microtransaction and subscription models. Those games include Battlefield Heroes, the cartoony spinoff of the Battlefield series, and BattleForge, a fantasy online RTS/card trading game.

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