The PCGA’s goal is to provide an honest, vendor-neutral appraisal of the worldwide PC game business entering 2009. The report describes the three biggest trends in 2008 as the growth of online digital distribution via services like Valve's Steam™; the growth of free games with a virtual item model; and the increased presence of game cards at major retailers like 7-Eleven®.
“The biggest story in PC games is the expansion beyond retail,” said Randy Stude, president of PCGA. “PC games have successfully pioneered online subscription and distribution models that have resulted in a global boom that shows no signs of slowing. Despite the advances of the likes of Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network, the online platform that remains the most accessible and robust worldwide is the PC.”
The report also highlights industry revenue shifts, which include Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs) as the leading products for both revenue and profits. Other significant revenue generators include several Asian MMOGs making over $100 million in annual revenue after five-plus years on the market; World of Warcraft® producing over $1 billion in annual revenue; and the Lich King expansion to World of Warcraft outsold its predecessor. In 2008, two major subscription MMOGs (Age of Conan® and Warhammer™ Online) sold over 1 million units at retail.