PC Gaming to Surpass Console Gaming in Revenue by 2015

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards | September 22, 2011 - 02:26 PM |
Tagged: skyrim, rage, pc gaming, diablo iii, consoles, battlefield 3, batman

During a conference call with NVIDIA this week some interesting information from DFC Intelligence, "a strategic market research and consulting firm focused on interactive entertainment and the emerging video game, online game, interactive entertainment and portable game markets" according to their webiste, was revealed that paints the world of PC gaming in a much more positive light than previously expected.  By anyone's account, the coming fall and winter release schedules are going to be packed with fantastic releases:

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Courtesy NVIDIA

Several of these games, including DOTA 2, Diablo III and The Old Republic are going to be PC-only titles with others (like Battlefield 3, RAGE and Skyrim) that will without question look better and play better on the PC.  This sets up a great time for hardware companies like NVIDIA and AMD to sell system upgrades in order to maximize user experience in these titles.  

And while most gaming pundits have been telling us for years that PC gaming is dying, the report from DFC tells a different story:

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Courtesy NVIDIA

Based on revenue alone, estimates show PC gaming to surpass the sales of console games by 2014 with steady growth.  How can this be?  Have you stopped by your local Gamestop or Best Buy and seen the shelf space devoted to PC games compared to that devoted to the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and Wii?

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Courtesy NVIDIA

Here is the key and it is something we have always suspected but haven't really been able to nail down: packaged sales are dying while digital distribution methods and new monetary game mechanics are increasing.  Because the industry's most prolific digital sales platform is notoriously tight with sales numbers (Valve's Steam), we have to depend on third party reports from DFC and others.  According to this chart, the digital sales of gaming on the PC are skyrocketing and will take PC revenues past consoles in just a few years time.  

One note here: this does NOT just include downloaded games in the traditional sense.  Instead, new pay models like the monthly subscriptions of World of Warcraft and "free to play" models that charge for upgrades and additional features are really going to be pushing the industry forward.  Looking at titles like League of Legends that claims 15 million PC gamers worldwide and others like World of Tanks and World of Planes, this trend is growing and though it differs from the "traditional" PC gaming mentality, it appears to be dominating our future.

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Courtesy NVIDIA

Many a PC gamer has lamented about the "console port" generation of games and this graph demonstrates how the power of the PC and the power of the current generation of consoles have diverged over the years.  By NVIDIA's estimates we are now about 8-9x the performance level of the Xbox 360 when compared to the GTX 580 that currently sells for about $450.  But if you look at the quality difference between something like Deus Ex: Human Revolution on the PC and the consoles, you do NOT see anything close to that kind of improvement.  Game developers have always had their hands tied by having to develop for the lowest common platform and while the PC market (when dominant) meant an upgrade cycle of 2-3 years we are now hitting a 6th year of static console gaming power.

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Unreal Engine

If we want to see games that look like THIS, a screenshot from the Unreal Engine Samaritan demo, then we need to boost the baseline and soon. 

But the numbers that DFC Intelligence provided give hope to those die-hards in the enthusiast and PC gaming community that with the expanding reach and positive growth of the PC market as a whole, developers will see this as their chance to move the medium forward beyond the status quo. 

Source: PCPer
September 22, 2011 | 04:38 PM - Posted by Fearmonkey (not verified)

I think ill have to disagree a bit regarding Deus Ex: HR. The PC version with everything maxed looks a heck of alot better than the 360 version, no question. The lighting, textures, and
details are so much better. The PC version has more objects and geometry in the levels as well.

That said, MS and Sony not wanting to release a new console has helped the PC quite a bit, as games look so much better on a nice graphics card compared to the 360/PS3.
I find myself playing the PC more and more and games look so much better. Dead Island, DE:HR, and most likely RAGE and SKYRIM all will be better on PC.

MS isn't really losing much regarding gamers switching to PC, and Windows 8 having Xbox Live built in cements that. Battlefield 3 on PC destroys its console versions, and I hope a new console happens fairly soon. Sony is the one in third place, and have reason to worry about the PC taking over..

All this talk that graphics are just fine on current consoles is baloney.....

September 22, 2011 | 05:15 PM - Posted by shin0bi272 (not verified)

the talk about graphics on consoles being fine is coming from the guy who plays black ops every day. Black ops (along with all the other cod games) runs on an engine that came out in 05... so of course they are going to like it. Its what they know. That is why I hope there IS NO NEW CONSOLES soon. The wiiU is already going to suck I hear and the other two sank so much money into the development of the current ones (sony with is high initial costs and m$ with their RRoD issues) that they cant afford to upgrade unless its just a graphics upgrade to dx11 chips.

September 22, 2011 | 05:12 PM - Posted by shin0bi272 (not verified)

one thing nvidia neglected to note here is that the graphics card in the ps3 is essentially the same chip as the 7800gtx which came out in june of 2005... which means that unless you did sli with it your graphics tech was equal not greater than the consoles.

And also never extrapolate on a graph... it makes you look stupid.

September 22, 2011 | 09:52 PM - Posted by ThorAxe

Sorry to burst your bubble but the PS3 was not available until November 2006 at which time the 8800GTX was also released.

The 8800GTX was roughly twice as fast as the GPU on a PS3. If you add SLI then it's FOUR times the speed.

September 25, 2011 | 04:47 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

And if you add triple SLI, even faster... Like I used at the time. All hail the 8800GTX, it was the daddy of gpu's and was for a time afterwards. Even today I have gamers coming to my LAN's with them. Wow, just way ahead of its time.

September 29, 2011 | 10:38 AM - Posted by ThorAxe

I still have one in my wife's PC. Best card I ever owned.

September 22, 2011 | 05:18 PM - Posted by Guitarse (not verified)

Your right, while pc gaming is miles ahead and games are made to fit "a nice middle" for both console and pc hardware, both in terms of scaling the textures and graphics the main point of the current console hardware is, the games look good "enough", ok not the best they could on new hardware but they are not exactly terrible either, I would love a new gen of hardware though but for now my pc does fill that void when I want my fill of heavily detailed trees and rocks, which I often do :-D

September 22, 2011 | 06:35 PM - Posted by Berger (not verified)

What about that interview that Ryan did with Carmack? (if my memory serves) Carmack said he had a much greater ability to directly access the gfx hardware on the console, and that doing something on the PC took many more instructions than doing it on a console. I understand that you need some higher level language for gfx programming on the PC, no one wants to individually program the hardware for each gfx card that the game supports. The reason devs can access the hardware directly on a console is b/c that hardware is standard and will NOT change. I don't really know where I was going with this point, but that graph that Nvid made with the console gfx being worse than a 8800 made me think....

PS My new system build comes tomorrow!!!
gtx 570
i7 2600k
120 SSD (kingston I am willing to give them a try)
8gig ram
z68 asus
and more!

September 22, 2011 | 11:10 PM - Posted by PC GAMER (not verified)

PC Gaming is on the rise as people move from Desktops to Laptops. The only problem with this transaction was the GPU was heavily handicapped or non-existent in the Laptops. The solution was introduced before but there was no port(connection) to handle the bandwidth of a External GPU until with USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt(a.k.a. "Light Peak").

Introducing one of the many first laptops that will feature support for an external GPU for the Ultimate PC Gaming on the portable movement. The Sony VIO Z!!!

http://www.pcgamer.com/2011/09/20/hands-on-with-sonys-external-graphics-...

September 23, 2011 | 12:57 PM - Posted by Anon (not verified)

Games developers and publishers are fu****g noobs. Creating console games with PC and doesn't releasing on PC. :(

September 23, 2011 | 07:45 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Microsoft is the captain of this titanic. If they run it into an iceberg because they wouldn't listen to anybody, a huge industry will die with it. If they're smart, they'll create opportunities instead of purely selfish monopolies using mafia style corporate tactics like they did with the Xbox. They put big dents in PC Gaming by taking titles like "Project Ego" (Fable 1) and Halo, putting them on the Xbox only and putting the now-gimped versions of the original visions on the PC as an afterthought once the hype had died.

If they're smart, they'll offer something better than Steam with a massive, accessable social community, easy gaming, a much better HLSL / work on lowering the overhead as much as possible so that developers can take proper advantage of modern hardware and make the average person be able to run games with appreciable graphics. Right now, Steam officially supports mods using their own source engine, they support indie games, they support big games, they support everything. All microsoft is doing is trying to rip off facebook's niche and keep all of the AAA titles on the Xbox 360. If they did two seconds of market research they'd realize games like the Witcher 2 sold extremely well on the PC, look at why people will go to steam instead of them, and eureka on the fact that as the builder of the OS, they're dropping the ball big time.

September 26, 2011 | 01:53 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

you guys suck for not questioning a chart made by nvidias marketing team. not for a second did you question its credibility.

its a shame because pcpaper used to have some good critical articles. i hope pc gaming does win in a massive way but this chart? its retarded and nvidia have a long history of being utterly full of BS; even about things that have happened in the past, let alone extrapolating all that.

shame on pcpaper, you guys have a good journalistic team and sometimes it even comes across in articles - but this one sucks balls.

September 27, 2011 | 10:08 PM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

What graph are you referring to exactly? ALL of them? Keep in mind the data on the sales charts came from DFC Intelligence, a company that has been around for a while in the gaming market. I agree that you can't always just take data at face value though. This isn't the first time we have seen estimates of growth in this light.

As for the performance graph that did include data from NVIDIA, it was simply based on GFLOPS performance.

September 29, 2011 | 10:36 AM - Posted by ThorAxe

Perhaps this chart will please you more, it shows that PC Gaming is by far the biggest platform, in fact traditional PC Games + MMOs just about equal ALL consoles combined, and that's not including the other forms of PC Gaming:

http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/07/05/pcgaming-trends-2011/

October 19, 2011 | 06:15 AM - Posted by AcidX (not verified)

Pc has always been superior.
The only reason Console has had more sales is because its easier... people are lazy put in cd and play.
The next-gen Consoles will be limited again on graphics and developers will push them to the limit... while Pc gamers will always go beyond that limit and eventually come more close to reality.
Not to forget that tournament games like CS,War3,SC1/2,CoD
Is pc only! There are no Console official tournaments and their wont be because there is a Auto-aim system 30-40 pixels auto aim... this means that people on console Don't have Skill.
Wikipedia, Title "Aimbot"
Quote:"Console FPS games to have this feature to compensate for the lack of precision in analog-stick control pads."
This is why Consoles Suck, No skills, No Tournaments, No Top Tier players, And every one is under 16 years of age becaus their parents bought them a PS3/Xbox360 Because a $2000 pc is too mutch.

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