PC games are now outselling console games worldwide, says report

28 Apr 2014

PC gaming image via Wikimedia Commons

In one of the most unlikely shifts in the industry, gamers are now buying more PC copies of games than console versions, according to a new report from DFC Intelligence.

The recently released report (behind a paywall) would appear to show that the console gaming market that had reduced PC gaming to a niche sector of the industry is making a huge comeback, far ahead of previous estimates.

Speaking to PCR, the head of DFC Intelligence, David Cole, has said that the initial success for the PC gaming industry seen in this report is likely to see closer parity later this year as more console-only games enter the market and sales of the next-gen consoles such as the PS4 and Xbox One increase.

The research organisation had previously stated that by the end of this year, the PC gaming market is set to exceed US$25bn in revenue, an increase of US$3bn from their previous estimated.

The findings can largely be attributed to the growth of the online gaming platform Steam, created by Valve, which allows players to buy thousands of games online at the click of a button.

As of the latest total, 781m games have been downloaded through the platform, but this is understood to include games which in many cases has not even been played by the user.

Europe in particular appears to be one of the core markets for PC gaming, according to DFC Intelligence, and the amount of hours put into these games appears to be consistently strong: “PC player hours have also been remarkably consistent,” said Cole to PCR.

“We had expected hours to fall in 2013 because there were not any major new releases. However, hours were actually flat with 2012 which bodes very well for the market going forward as more triple-A titles are released.”

Indicating additional trends in the way gaming companies monetise their games, many of the PC market’s most popular games fall into the category of free-to-play (F2P) titles such as League of Legends and Dota2, both of which are released through Steam.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic