PC gaming is dying — or, maybe it’s not.
According to one group, PC gaming is on the rise and will continue to do so until at least the end of the decade, thanks in large part to the emergence of free-to-play games and the e-sports scene. That’s the conclusion reached by Open Gaming Alliance, thanks to numbers from DFC Intelligence.
First things first: I haven’t heard of either of these two organizations, and you probably haven’t either. I’m not willing to dismiss them out of hand because of that, but I’d also take whatever they say with a grain of salt.
But if you take what OGA says as a reasonable prediction, the question is why? According to a DFC analyst who provided the projections to VentureBeat, it’s largely due to the adoption of the PC platform outside of Asia, which was a key driver of past growth. It’s not just the games, either, as PC enthusiasts “buy expensive equipment to play, view, and record games.”
Those two parts are probably where the firm gets the notion that F2P and e-sports will be driving factors in PC gaming. Free-to-play is still growing outside of Asia, and there’s probably at least a little contribution from the vast number of people who got their start in gaming on simplistic mobile games over the past few years and are looking for something a little meatier on PC.
As for e-sports, the buying hardware to “view, and record games” is probably driven by the e-sports scene, which certainly has made gaming a spectator sport and encouraged more people than ever to record and share their experiences online — which leads to more viewing.
What about the actual numbers, though? The chart provided with the analysis shows PC gaming growing, though not astronomically so — from $26 billion last year to $35 billion in 2018. Phone/tablet gaming is still predicted to grow more quickly, basically doubling itself ($15b to $30b) in that same time. By 2019, the two are nearly the same, and if the predictions went beyond that, I’d imagine that phones and tablets would surpass PC gaming and take over the #1 spot.
Meanwhile, handhelds are predicted to decline while consoles surge and dip near the beginnings and ends of their current generations. I suppose the overall message of the analysis isn’t to say “PC gaming rises”; you could make the same headline for consoles or mobile devices, and the gap between PC and console at the end of the chart is nearly the same as it is in 2014.
Rather, it’s to serve as a counter to the notion that PC gaming is dying or at least being vastly outpaced by other gaming platforms. Free-to-play has clearly helped mobile gaming skyrocket, and it makes sense that increased emphasis on F2P for PC could have a similar effect, if somewhat lesser in magnitude.