Remember the recent story about the lackluster revenue generated by PC games? NVIDIA's Roy Taylor pitched in back then, pointing out that piracy was/is a major factor dragging down PC revenues. Others... they were not so sure, as can be seen in the related forum thread.
Roy Taylor dropped by at YouGamers, continuing the discussion of this subject by posting a new blog entry:
The reason that it looks less than rosy is because the reported numbers are based on retail boxed sales from research companies such as NPD in the USA and Chart-track in the UK. These are indeed lackluster. But fortunately they do not represent the state of PC gaming. This is because PC gaming is benefiting from extraordinary growth in areas not being reported. Specifically;
- boxed sales thru etailers
- digital sales from the likes of STEAM and Direct2Drive
- subscription revenues from MMO's and casual gaming
- advertising in game, game websites and portals
These add up. DFC recently reported that PC gaming revenues will be $13Bn by 2012. Thats -just- PC gaming.
Looks like Roy did some research, and agrees with my take on the subject from a few weeks back. People are just not so interested in picking up boxes from retailers as they used to be, and there are many other places where people can spend their gaming dollars.
Roy also repeats what most of PC gamers already knew: STEAM-style digital download services are the future.
Valve recently reported a 158% sales growth year on year here. I agree with Jeff Green who recently wrote in Games For Windows magazine that STEAM is now his preferred shopping option for his games. Not only can I get my games the day they come out without going to the store, I also get them automatically patched. Digital purchases have truly come of age.
And, as a free bonus not mentioned by Roy, Steam's integrated anti-piracy feature is the most effective yet unintrusive solution available today. Instead of fiddling around with CD keys and DVD checks, you only need to perform a simple online authentication to play. Sure, pirates have cracked STEAM games as well, but doing so removes the added value of seamless automatic patching and STEAM community features, and there is no availability advantage. Boxes are known to get pirated off the distribution chain with torrents appearing before you can buy the game from a store. Pirated copies of STEAM games are never available before the paying customers can get their hands on them.
On a related note - Dell, Intel, AMD, Microsoft, EPIC Games, Activision and NVIDIA announced the PC Gaming Alliance at the recent GDC event. PC Gaming Alliance is working towards fixing the apparent problems with PC market today:
PC Gaming Alliance will be the Authoritative Voice of PC Gaming World Wide. We will make data that highlights and promotes the PC platform to analysts, press and the public.
We will promote the PC Gaming Industry and the PC as a gaming platform, provide web and event based forums to discuss, debate and influence all aspects of PC development for gaming for all regions of the world, and guidance to help resolve industry-wide challenges such as: Piracy, Cheating, Security, Consumer experience.
PC Gaming Alliance will also provide guidelines to simplify hardware specifications and speed the introduction of new technologies, as well as improve Consumer PC Gaming Experience by working with developers and publishers and PCGA members to maximize the PC gaming experience in all ways possible.
(Source: PC Gaming Alliance)
...and the CTO of PC Gaming Alliance is none other than Roy Taylor from NVIDIA. All this is good news for PC gamers as the problems of the PC market are being tackled head-on. Getting solid, comprehensive statistics about the whole PC games market is an important part of that.