Disturbing news for PC OEMs - console-based gaming is leaving PC-based gaming it its dust.
Figures released by NPD show that PC gaming accounted for only 14% of 2007 sales. Sure, the NPD figures don't account for digital downloads but I doubt that this would add more than a few percentage points to the total. While I'm not going to suggest for one moment that PC-based gaming is dead (after all, more time is spent gaming on the PC than any other platform), if the trend continues, it could mean bad news for vendors such as Dell and Alienware which push high-spec, high-profit-margin gaming systems. This in turn could also have a knock-on effect on nVIDIA and ATi.
Why has console and portable gaming become so popular? Well, partly this is down to the fact that most systems offer a fool-proof gaming system. No having to mess with drivers, no need to upgrade graphics cards, and no need to hope/pray that any one of an infinite number of issues will cause the game to fall over. As a long-time gaming veteran I think that the PC gaming industry is still paying the price for mistakes from over a decade ago - I remember a time when a new game meant a new graphics card. While no console or handheld can match the PC as a gaming platform in terms of performance and offering an immersive experience, PC gaming is far from easy.
In case you're interested, here are the top 10 games of 2007:
- World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade (Blizzard Entertainment) - 2.25 million
- World of Warcraft (Blizzard Entertainment) - 914,000
- The Sims 2 Seasons Expansion Pack (EA Maxis) - 433,000
- Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (Infinity Ward) 383,000
- Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars (EA Los Angeles) - 343,000
- Sim City 4 Deluxe (Maxis) - 284,000
- The Sims 2 (Maxis) - 281,000
- The Sims 2 Bon Voyage Expansion Pack (Maxis) - 271,000
- Age of Empires III (Ensemble Studios) - 259,000
- The Sims 2 Pets Expansion Pack (Maxis) - 236,000