This preliminary report, prepared for the PCGA by market research firm DFC Intelligence, covers the 2010 year end and encompasses all major aspects of the PC gaming industry worldwide through 2014. The full in-depth report will be shared with all PCGA members the week following GDC.
Among the key findings: the global PC games market continues to show surprisingly strong growth in 2010, reaching a record $16.2 billion. This represented overall growth of 20% over 2009. No geographical market segments tracked showed a decline in 2010 in overall PC game revenue.
China continues to be the largest and fastest growing market for PC games with record 2010 revenue of $4.8 billion. However, mature game markets in Korea, Japan, U.S., U.K. and Germany all showed growth in 2010. Together these markets increased revenue 19% in 2010 to $7.3 billion.
Asian companies that have generated substantial profits in their domestic territory are looking to expand to the rest of the world. Some prominent worldwide investment examples cited include Disney/Playdom, Warner/Turbine, Tencent/Riot, Shanda, Zynga, Visa/Playspan.
The growth of digital distribution is also increasing the revenue potential for blockbuster big budget retail games. Large games can now be downloaded directly from the publisher or a third party site like Steam. Thus, brick and mortar retailers have simply become an optional source for distribution. Meanwhile, most PC games are doing well with a pure digital distribution strategy that relies on multiple payment methods including digital point cards at retail.
“The spotlight has definitely shifted back to the PC game market. A few of the biggest factors fueling this movement are innovative business models making games more accessible with digital distribution, free to play, and online; along with game formats embracing the shifts occurring in the evolution of the PC ecosystem to remain more profitable,” said Matt Ployhar, PCGA president and Intel analyst. "Large game publishers are looking at digital revenue on the PC game platform as one of their key areas of growth and it is clear that the performance of the PC game market in 2010 is resulting in substantial investment money flowing into the PC game business."
The report concludes that the PC game business will continue to grow at a pace of 9% CAGR to $23 billion by 2014. Most of this growth will be driven by the increasing ease of digital distribution delivery solutions and payment methods. According to DFC analyst David Cole "right now, outside of direct publisher digital distribution, Valve's Steam service dominates delivery of large client size games. However, this is likely to change as other premium players enter the market for digital distribution.”