If I had a nickel for every time a forum fanboy or industry analyst foretold the death of PC gaming at the hands of consoles, I’d probably have at least enough money for lunch. Every time a new console generation comes out, we hear the same tired predictions. The quality of some PC games may have suffered due to developers scaling back their ambitions to fit within the confines of the current console generation, but PC gaming hasn’t gone anywhere.
In fact, the PC is the most popular gaming platform in the UK. According to a study conducted by the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association and the Interactive Software Federation of Europe, more Brits game on the PC than on any single console. 33% of gamers reportedly play on the PC. That’s enough to establish that PC has the largest share of any gaming platform, but the details beyond that are scarce. The study found that the Wii and Xbox 360 together capture 36% of gamers. It’s unclear where either of those consoles sits individually or how the PlayStation 3 fares.
The study’s definition of "gamer" may have affected the rankings, as well. 55% of gamers are said to play "mini-games" online, but there’s no word on whether burning hours of productivity at work playing silly little flash games qualifies someone as a PC gamer. The groups that conducted the survey seems to acknowledge that the makeup of the PC gaming market is changing, though.
In a statement, ELSPA and ISFE say "this new gamer is steering away from the traditional shoot-em-up genre, preferring to challenge their cerebral cortex rather than their hand-eye co-ordination". The two say a 65 per cent of gamers play puzzle games online, with only 18 per cent enjoying a more conventional online multiplayer game.
That might bode well for gaming on the PC as a whole, but it may do little to encourage developers of more conventional titles to prioritize PC development over consoles.