As the arms race for more powerful console hardware is slowing down, the PC is "rapidly becoming the largest gaming platform in the world." Those are the observations of Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello, who reflected on the state of the industry during his company's latest earnings conference call. (If you're curious, Shacknews says EA posted $4.2 billion revenue and $42 million net losses—both better than expected.)
On the state of the console market, Shacknews quotes Ricitiello as saying, "I think that [console] arms race, while I can never say that it's done, the relevance of doing that faster.. seems to have subsided. . . . Those big changes are not something we're seeing in the immediate term, nor are we expecting it in the immediate term." An unrelated analyst report cited by PC World says the next generation of consoles may not show up until 2013, although a high-definition Wii may crop up next year.
EA executives quoted some interesting numbers related to the PC gaming market, too. According to the Shack, EA's digital game distribution revenue has almost doubled since last year and reached $80 million. EA CFO Eric Brown noted, "The online part of our business is growing as much as 60% year over year."
Ricitiello went on to comment, "We've got probably a billion PCs out there in the world. . . . Very rapidly the PC is becoming the largest gaming platform in the world, just not in a packaged-good product. . . . As you look at what that means in terms of distribution of product, we think that's incredibly exciting because it's going to open the market to new demographics, new countries and new types of gameplay." Right now, EA distributes PC games digitally both via its own online store and through Valve's Steam.