PC Gaming Surpasses Console Gaming in Global Revenue

Published 7 months ago by

PC Games Exceed Console Sales

About ten years ago, when Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft were dominating the video game space, PC gamers were considered the minority. Yes, there were those stalwarts who preferred the precision afforded by the trusty mouse and keyboard, but the writing was on the wall: consoles were taking over.

But, with a protracted console cycle of almost 6 years, a shift slowly began to take place. Gamers began to flock back to the PC, drawn by the platform’s affordability, its ease of use, and its higher quality experiences. And, almost as soon as it had seemingly gone away, PC gaming was back.

In fact, as DFC Intelligence Analyst David Cole states, PC gaming actually accounts for more global revenue than console gaming. Now, as Cole explains, gamers see the PC as a “necessity,” and consoles are merely “luxury items.” He also cites genres like the MOBA, MMO, and first person shooter as the main movers and shakers in the PC space.

“Among core gamers there is a heavy overlap with most console gamers also playing on a PC. The big difference is that consoles are now the luxury item and PCs are the necessity. Just a few years ago the reverse was true.  This means PCs have the broader audience.”

While Cole does not show any hard numbers, his claims do make sense given the rapid growth of PC gaming over the past few years. Digital distribution platforms like Steam have given gamers an easy way to purchase and play games, all while mimicking the console experience. And PC gaming on the couch, or in a more casual setting, will only get easier thanks to oncoming devices like the Steam Machine.

Obviously a lot of the PC’s growth is due in part to this most recent console cycle, which lasted far longer than most expected, but it’s not just that. Prices came down for PC parts and the capabilities of affordable machines surged well past those of the PS3 or the Xbox 360, to the point that PC versions became the premiere option. Developers were showing off games on PC at trade shows and many gamers were holding out for the PC release of high profile titles.

That being said, the transition into a new console generation with the PS4 and Xbox One will likely close some of the gap between PC gaming and console revenue. Both current-gen consoles are selling extremely well around the world, and that should help boost revenue for the console space. Even so, the shift might be a permanent one, as even now higher end PCs out preform these current-gen machines. All we know for sure is that it’s a great time to be a gamer, and we’re in the midst of a really exciting and competitive time.

To what platform does the bulk of your video game-related spending go: PC or console? Do you think that the PS4 and Xbox One will be able to steal back the market share from the PC?

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Source: PCR

TAGS: PC

19 Comments

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  1. Yeah! Rockstar can suck it!

  2. Higher end PCs are better than consoles?
    Low to mid PCs are better than consoles…

    • @Wolfer

      I’m a PC gamer, so not defending consoles, but low-end PC’s are not better than consoles. Sure some of the specs of the consoles, even the new ones, seem pretty low-end, especially the CPU, but in the end they are dedicated to running games. I do honestly believe they are equal to a lower-mid-range PC, or a low-end gaming PC at least. A low end PC wouldn’t really have much of a gaming capability at all…

  3. I’m mainly a PC gamer but I do buy the game on console when its just better to do so.

    • Does it even happen?

      • Draconian DRM, bad console port or that stupid dialogue wheel. Also used games. Can’t get used games on PC. Companies don’t make a dime from me if I buy the game used, which I’ve been known to do if they screwed up the last one.

        • @Cariannis

          Why do you even need to buy used games at all? I get digital download versions of games on PC far cheaper than even the used versions on the consoles… Have you visited Gamefly, Steam, or GMG lately???

          • Draconian DRM? What’s more draconian than a console that lives for 5 years and then the next version can’t play any of the games from the generation it followed? In the PC world my games work forever, regardless of the PC I own at the time of purchase and the games themselves cost a tiny percentage of what their inferior console versions sold for just a few months prior.

          • @Ken J

            “Why do you even need to buy used games at all?” Did you read the part were I said I’m mainly a PC gamer? I haven’t bought a used game in over seven months. I don’t need to buy a “used” game I do it because the company (said this in the last post) doesn’t make any money from me on that used buy. How is this hard to understand?

            @Neal

            “Draconian DRM? What’s more draconian than a console that lives for 5 years and then the next version can’t play any of the games from the generation it followed?” The only games I play after five years are a handful of games and those are on PC. So this problem you (key) have with consoles I (key) don’t have.

            “In the PC world my games work forever” Every PC game forever? Nope. Try again.

            @Daniel

            Seriously bandwagon much? Can you understand what you read? I said, “I’m mainly a PC gamer” why are you preaching to me? The rest of what you said doesn’t change how I (key) use the used game market.

        • I’m rockin’ those games that were made in like early 2000s (heck I even have a few older ones like Wolfenstein from DOS) and yet this PC is relatively new that I have. So you have games ranging across the decade all on one platform while you would need at least 3 whole consoles to play this past decade. It’s not as bad as you think, but I will have to say PC gaming is not for everyone. But be mindful that you can also hook you controllers up to your PC and play that way if you wish. And Steam has this new service where you can share a game that you have with a friend. I personally don’t ever sell my games, so I have no need for the used game trade.

  4. Consoles just don’t make any sense.

  5. Great article and I totally agree with the notion that Gaming PCs and Consoles have reversed.

    Here’s my two cents:
    When the XB360 and PS3 launched back in 2005, I thought the “next generation” had arrived. I honestly, and foolishly believed that these two boxes would be IT for consoles and there would be no need to release another box from either MS or Sony as this marvelous new generation would just allow for internal upgrading (boy was I young and dumb). I was a dedicated Sony-man then and every electronic piece of equipment in my home was a testament to that fact. So my desktop PC at that time was also a Sony. A 2nd Generation VAIO to be exact. You couldn’t tell me anything. I just knew I had the best of everything (LoL).

    But some funny things happen during the PS3 & XB360 lifespan. XBLive COMPLETELY and unapologetically brought me over to the MS camp. My PS3 became a blu-ray player/paper weight as there was NO Sony exclusives that felt ANY different than what had come before (you’ve played one uncharted, you’ve played them all IMO). The time came for me to upgrade my PC and after having spent over $600.00 @ Tiger Direct on parts, getting them home, and then finding out I couldn’t upgrade one single component in my VAIO; something changed inside of me.

    In hindsight, I had heard of those people that claimed to build their own PC, but I always felt “why don’t they just buy one”. Hell, my girlfriend at the time had a brother who was building himself a PC, but my brain simply refused to grasp the seriousness of the situation. At that time, doing so was still pretty expensive.

    Fast Forward to 2008. Living in a new state, great new job and dinner one evening at a co-workers house where I saw my first gaming Rig in action. Things would never be the same for me. I made two promises that day. 1 – I would NEVER buy another console UNLESS it was TRULY attempting to embrace the next generation of digital entertainment. Not just be a better graphics machine. I want to see better gameplay mechanics. The argument can be made that that’s the sole responsibility of the developers. Well I disagree. the phrase “…If you build it, they will come…” comes to mind. And 2 – I would NEVER buy another brand-made PC. My next desktop would be a homemade gaming rig.

    I’m happy to say that I’ve stood by my two promises. I have yet to; and the way it’s looking I may never; buy an XB1 or a PS4. The gaming Rig I built in 2010 is better than both the new boxes put together. And I haven’t seen or played ONE exclusive game on either device that would make me say “…I have to have this console…” Not a single one. To put some perspective on that for you, we (my wife and I) bought a XB360 for our 7yr old daughter last Christmas, and my daughter has played with it 3 times. She’s rather watch Dad play his games on his gaming rig and she keeps asking me when can she have a PC to play games on. Her Birthday is in June. She’s getting a gaming laptop. We’re donating the 360 to our local toys-for-totts organization.

    • those were Two great cents, I must say my story is similar to yours!!

  6. happy with my ps4 n ps3 i do own a computer but i need to upgrade,and yes pc do look nicer than console.

    • I prefer consoles. I like controllers, and that they are smaller than desktop PC’s. I do however own a ton of PC games also. I get ALL Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft consoles :)

      • @lukeperryglover

        Ever heard of a Xbox controller for Windows??

  7. I am a gamer.
    I have played Elite on the C64.
    I played ET on the 2600.
    I’ve had 8 bit, 16 bit, and on and on.
    Being a gamer means I am going to play a game I like on any platform I can.
    If I have 10 mins free I can play on a phone or tablet.
    Some games I will play on consoles with my friends.
    But almost exclusively I will play single player games on the PC with its higher fidelity options.
    The mods, the cheaper prices for a lot of items.
    I will probably be asking the nursing home nurse to return my thrown controller to me so I can finish Call of Duty 82.
    But in the end…. I will play where and when I can because… I’m a gamer.

  8. I have console only for its console exlucsive games. If not, I would probably never have a gaming console. No need.

  9. I will gladly go to a friends house and play on their PS or Xbox but as far as what I own, I will stick to PC and Nintendo because PC seems to be offering exactly what Sony and MS offer, but PC has its own exclusives that aren’t obviously what Sony/MS has. And Nintendo doesn’t try to be a PC like MS/Sony does. They offer something more unique to the gaming table and that is something I’d like to have.

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