PC gaming market grew 8% in 2012

For years, analysts and forum dwellers have foretold the death of PC gaming. And they continue to be wrong. While PC sales might be slumping, the size of the gaming market is actually growing. The PC Gaming Alliance claims the market was worth $20 billion in 2012, an increase of 8% over the previous year and a whopping 90% over the past five years.

According to the non-profit group, there were over a billion PC gamers last year. More impressively, at least 250 million of those folks were “core” gamers playing “sophisticated strategy, action and role-playing” titles rather than casual fare.

The Chinese gaming market is apparently growing more than any other. It was responsible for 34% of PC gaming revenue last year and enjoyed a growth rate of 9%. All the regions tracked by the PCGA experienced growth, though, including the US.

As one might expect, the changing nature of the computing landscape is having an effect on PC gaming. PCGA Executive Director Erik Noreke claims “The traditional desktop is no longer the gaming platform of choice as we are seeing more and more laptops with powerful GPUs and high end audio systems.” Modern notebooks certainly handle newer games better than previous-generation systems did, especially when integrated graphics are concerned. I’d be curious to see how many of those “core” gamers are discarding desktops for notebooks; the percentage is probably much lower than for those who are just playing FarmVille.

The PCGA predicts the PC gaming market will continue to expand through 2016, when it will be worth a whopping $25.7 billion. Interestingly, the organization says the explosion of mobile gaming is helping the PC by driving “the growth of small self-funded teams that can develop more targeted products on a modest budget.” So, the PC gaming market is supposed to continue to grow while increasingly being supplied by smaller, independent developers. Sounds healthy to me.

Comments closed
    • BIF
    • 9 years ago

    LOL, I said I love Civ V, not you!

    I don’t add people to steam. Family messages me while I’m playing or doing my finances. It’s like being at work with the constant interruptions of IM. 🙁

    • ThorAxe
    • 9 years ago

    Because you can’t use a wireless 360 PC gamepad and hook up a PC to a TV to play on a couch…then there is this thing called STEAM Big Picture.

    Ignorance is bliss.

    • clone
    • 9 years ago

    I haven’t been watching it….. although I can understand why Consoles sales are falling, the current gen’s been around for quite a while and their is no way to pretty up the games on them anymore.

    maybe PC is coming back despite Microsofts best efforts.

    • Game_boy
    • 10 years ago

    US retail console game revenue are down 25% from Feb 2012 to Feb 2013.

    Why is growth always assumed? The industry has been fucking up, especially Nintendo.

    • clone
    • 10 years ago

    how much did all other markets grow in comparison?

    if the rest of the market grew 10% or more then the 8% would be to seen as a sign of decline as the segment continues to be outpaced by the overall market.

    • sweatshopking
    • 10 years ago

    so wtf. i’m sweatshopking on steam too. add me.

    • sweatshopking
    • 10 years ago

    adi, eu, i’m sure there are more.

    • alienstorexxx
    • 10 years ago

    price next gen higher and blame piracy.

    • NeelyCam
    • 10 years ago

    It’s already too late

    • NeelyCam
    • 10 years ago

    I wouldn’t have bothered otherwise, but I had to do it because BaronMatrix is here

    • Deanjo
    • 10 years ago

    Better keyboard, better mouse, no mistouch of a touchpad, huge high res screen, calibrated surround sound, complete library local on drive, superior graphics, low latency ethernet connection, etc etc etc.

    • superjawes
    • 10 years ago

    Never Settle.

    • Mr. Eco
    • 10 years ago

    Can’t miss the opportunity to troll on AMD?

    • MadManOriginal
    • 10 years ago

    Almost…more like a monthly server update.

    • NeelyCam
    • 10 years ago

    You’re collecting throphies? How many do you have?

    • NeelyCam
    • 10 years ago

    [quote<] I had more blue screens than when I tested XP...[/quote<] Probably because of those AMD graphics drivers

    • NeelyCam
    • 10 years ago

    I wanna see you hauling them with you when you’re riding a bus/train

    • chuckula
    • 10 years ago

    I DID IT AGAIN! Either his account has been hijacked, or I’m turning into one of them!

    • chuckula
    • 10 years ago

    Did I just up-thumb BaronMatrix?

    NEELY! PLEASE KILL ME NOW BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!

    • BaronMatrix
    • 10 years ago

    The problem is no one I know wants Win8… I had more blue screens than when I tested XP…

    Taking out Aero and making devs work harder IS A DUMB IDEA…

    • BaronMatrix
    • 10 years ago

    Duhhh, there is no way you can have as much fun on a tablet or phone streaming a game..

    I play on a 24″ 1920×1200 LCD… I’m thinking about getting a 27″ and have two 24″ side monitors..

    Do that with a phone or tablet… Hell, even consoles prior to the APU GEN couldn’t play at 1080P…

    • rwburnham
    • 10 years ago

    I cannot see myself giving up my desktop, but I can see buying a medium-range gaming PC down the road if my lifestyle becomes more mobile. As is I barely travel.

    • Mahhn
    • 10 years ago

    As hard as MS tried to kill the PC gaming world they are failing. Thank the universal force some call god. (proof is they quit making PC games, to sell xboxes)
    Now if game companies can get off their arse and start making better (and working) versions of BF2 and the likes that hold 64 or more, have ingame voice chat (proximital some day please), no stupid unlocks or game voice swears.
    How about a civilians and former military VS corrupt governments – like in the real world. Feels like it’s getting closer to a reality in the US every year.

    • Deanjo
    • 10 years ago

    TWIMTBP?

    • Deanjo
    • 10 years ago

    Ya, you can go from casual to hardcore in one session as well but it seems like you can count on having a DRM issue monthly.

    • albundy
    • 10 years ago

    those analysts couldn’t even flip burgers correctly, let alone forecast the gaming market.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 10 years ago

    Similarly to a lot of games that are multiplayer focused the single player campaign is short, but at least you don’t have to pay for that.

    • BIF
    • 10 years ago

    My thoughts exactly.

    Ironic and funny that Steam is starting up something called “[b<]E[/b<]arly [b<]A[/b<]ccess".

    • BIF
    • 10 years ago

    I love Civ V.

    • superjawes
    • 10 years ago

    This is one case where the local multiplayer is always superior to online/LAN.

    • HisDivineOrder
    • 10 years ago

    I’ll be curious to see if there is a sudden uptick in desktop and laptop sales as consoles change over, creating much higher end ports than we’ve had for years now.

    Our GPU’s have far outstripped the games they are supposed to run and we’ve resorted to using stupid amounts of AA (or even more insane Eyefinity/etc configs) to try and use up some of that extra muscle that otherwise is wasted. When games show up based on PS4 and next Xbox level specs, then are ported to PC which’ll still have higher resolution graphics and people will want those stupid levels of AA still, well it’s not hard to imagine a lot of people deciding their PC is finally in need of an upgrade.

    Right now, anyone with a Core anything and a 560 or higher can pretty much game any game. Not at the highest res or with much AA, but even AA has progressed with SweetFX/SMAA and FXAA/MLAA taking a lot of the oomph out of decent-enough AA.

    It’s easy to imagine ports showing up from PS4, for example, that far exceed the relatively standard 4-8 GB of system RAM and 1 GB of VRAM on a lot of those older computers.

    • Bensam123
    • 10 years ago

    What a bunch of BS. It just sounds like they’re tying together a bunch of things that happened the same time (PC gaming growth and mobile growth) and then pretending that the two caused each other so they can act like they knew what’s going on. Last year it was mobile gaming was going to kill PC gaming, before then console gaming is killing PC gaming.

    Maybe people actually enjoy playing PC games on a PC. I mean crap. You can talk to any legitimate PC gamer and they’ll tell you that laptops are pretty worthless when it comes to gaming because you essentially have something you can’t upgrade. So unless you have a lot of disposable income where you can afford to buy a $2k laptop every 2-3 years, gaming on laptops will never take over PC gaming. The only exception to this is if they become more modular, but there is too much money in simply making laptops disposable to do this.

    This growth is totally because generations that grew up around gaming systems now have disposable income so they can buy REAL hardware and not the plastic toys that sit in the livingroom. There is no downside to gaming on a computer over a console. As I’ve said before I’m pretty sure consoles will disappear with the next generation, save the Wii. As long as the gawd awful Steambox doesn’t come along and extend that for another decade.

    Gaming will only grow as it becomes more socially acceptable and isn’t just seen as a ‘kids’ thing, it’s already happening.

    • Deanjo
    • 10 years ago

    I enjoy getting the achievement awards.

    • fellix
    • 10 years ago

    The master race shall prevail !!!

    • anotherengineer
    • 10 years ago

    Has to be lies, analysts tell me the PC is dying, and EOL.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 10 years ago

    Sometimes it’s more like a Grand Strategy game.

    Or, if things go well, a 4X.

    • Chrispy_
    • 10 years ago

    You mean you weren’t enamored with the chicklet, lifeless keyboard, the small display, the less low-clock, low-power hardware, the lower framerates or the noisy cooling fans?

    I AM SHOCKED AT YOUR LACK OF TOLERANCE SIR.
    SHOCKED.

    I only game on my laptop when I have to and even with a decent gaming laptop I am always glad to get back to either my desktop or HTPC.

    • l33t-g4m3r
    • 10 years ago

    But, but, but, PC gamine is dead! Right? Everybody want to game on subpar console hardware, laptops, and tablets instead of dx11 capable desktops.

    Anyways, “self-funded teams” / indie developers are going to start becoming mainstream and being a serious threat to old dinosaur publishers like EA that don’t respect their customers. There is only so many Sim City’s that people will tolerate before changes occur. Didn’t EA fire their CEO over this? Evolve or go extinct, EA.

    • Narishma
    • 10 years ago

    The PC Gaming Alliance, which somehow includes Gamestop but not Valve or Nvidia.

    • mcnabney
    • 10 years ago

    RPGs FPSs Damn, these jokes write themselves…

    • bittermann
    • 10 years ago

    You can thank the Chinese, Blizzard, Diablo3 and the RMAH for that. The greed of Blizz and professional botters is beyond words. Buy, ban, buy, ban buy, etc…at $60 a crack, a cut of the AH and it really adds up.

    • Deanjo
    • 10 years ago

    Jumping on the bed of course.

    • Deanjo
    • 10 years ago

    For short gaming however, like the popcap games, they usually have a better tablet version and are usually more suited for a tablet (I can’t fathom playing bejewled on a laptop or desktop after playing it on a tablet).

    • sweatshopking
    • 10 years ago

    WHY THE ASS AREN’T WE PLAYING CIV V TOGETHER?!

    • sweatshopking
    • 10 years ago

    LIKE WHAT? NM, I’LL ASK END USER :p

    • Deanjo
    • 10 years ago

    I have better games to play in bed.

    • superjawes
    • 10 years ago

    I’m sure they read that as “PC [b<]piracy[/b<] grew 8% in 2012."

    • superjawes
    • 10 years ago

    I think the maaaaaaaaaaajor cavet he needs to add on there is the popular games being played on laptops. LoL, WoW, and anything PopCap makes aren’t terribly intense in terms of computing power, and those games benefit when you are able to take it with you for LAN parties (LoL), raid schedules (WoW), and any other short gaming on the go (PopCap, etc.).

    Outside of that, games like Borderlands are going to be played a lot more in one sitting, which is a better environment for a desktop. Fast-paced multiplayer shooters like Battlefield 3 also get the anvantage of a “real” keyboard, good mouse, and fast hardware, so again, advantage goes to desktops.

    And even then, WoW and LoL are probably better suited for a comfortable setup at a desktop anyway. It’s just a matter of whether or not you want or [u<]need[/u<] the mobility.

    • brute
    • 10 years ago

    and fall out las vegas and team fort ress 2

    • brute
    • 10 years ago

    i got a llano based laptop and scrapped my desktop. resolution sucks, but the igpu is good enough for civ 4, 5 and medieval

    • peartart
    • 10 years ago

    Unless you want to play on your couch or your bed or while travelling, sure, desktops are great.

    • Chrispy_
    • 10 years ago

    [quote<]PC gaming market grew 8% in 2012[/quote<] ...despite the best efforts of EA and Ubisoft.

    • willmore
    • 10 years ago

    I watched the interview of the CEO of Leap Motion over on Slashdot yesterday and he made a very interesting point. Mobile game makers are porting their games to the PC where they didn’t use to make sense, but with a Leap controller, they do.

    I can’t help but wonder how that’s going to change the mobile vs PC game divide. Portability is always going to be a factor–I’m not going to drag my desktop along on a bus trip–but touch vs mouse will no longer be a factor.

    • Deanjo
    • 10 years ago

    [quote<]"The traditional desktop is no longer the gaming platform of choice as we are seeing more and more laptops with powerful GPUs and high end audio systems."[/quote<] I tried gaming on a laptop, still felt awkward and still is no substitute for a good desktop.

    • sweatshopking
    • 10 years ago

    pc gaming alliance? that’s like asking MS if the wp market is healthy…

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