PC Gaming Grows 8 Percent in 2012

PC gaming is on a roll, a distant reality from the misconceived notion that it's "dying." Rising cost-performance ratios of graphics cards and other gaming hardware; AAA title launches which offer better gameplay experiences on the PC platform, and a general rise in popularity of genres such as first-person-shooters (FPS) and real-time strategy (RTS), which play better on PC due to the superiority keyboard and mouse pose over console controllers; have each contributed to the platform's growth, according to statistical report released by the PC Gaming Alliance (PCGA).

According to the report, the PC gaming market was worth $20 billion by the end of 2012, an 8 percent growth over 2011, and a staggering 90 percent growth over 2008 (five years ago). It goes on to mention that as on 2012, there are over a billion PC gamers, and after you take away casual gamers (the kind that merely need a PC to play Farmville on Facebook), you're still left with about 250 million people who play serious games, the ones that require investing in a discrete graphics card.

Stats show that emerging markets like China are contributing heavily to the growth of PC gaming. China alone contributed 34 percent of all PC gaming revenue, and enjoyed a 9 percent local growth. While piracy is a problem for one-time-purchase games, newer marketing models, such as subscriptions and free-to-play with micro-transactions are contributing heavily.

The report also points out that an increasing number of PC gamers are seeking out well-configured gaming laptops, ones which are equipped with gaming-grade input devices, discrete graphics, and high-resolution displays. "The traditional desktop is no longer the gaming platform of choice as we are seeing more and more laptops with powerful GPUs and high end audio systems," said Erik Noreke, executive director of PCGA.

Looking forward, the PGCA expects continued growth for the PC gaming platform, as far as the statisticians' eyes can see (that's 2016), when the market could be worth close to $26 billion. Apart from emerging markets, and other factors, indie developers could play a big role. Indie (independent) game developers are benefiting from minimal skillset requirements (in comparison to consoles), and highly equitable digital distribution platforms, like Steam.

So much for "the world is going to end."