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.

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