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Default RPG News - PC Sales on the Rebound

April 24th, 2007, 00:29
The NY Times has an article that claims PC games sales are on the rebound. It uses the single example of one Bennett Kirschner buying Civ4 instead of a console game and then goes on to look at various NPD figures. As is often the case, it isn't clear if console hardware is included in some of the numbers and it also isn't clear if the NPD figures are using different criteria, but the main thrust is that World of Warcraft is selling a lot of copies and PC game sales are up:
Anita Frazier, an industry analyst for the NPD Group, a market research firm, noted that in the first two months of 2007, domestic retail sales of PC games reached $203 million, a 48 percent increase over the $136.8 million in the period a year earlier. She noted that these figures do not include revenue generated by PC game sales online, or online subscriptions to play PC games.
“Yes, it does look like a fluke, doesn’t it?” Ms. Frazier said. “Rest assured it’s not.”
She said the bulk of this surge in sales is rooted in the role-playing video game genre that, itself, grew 43 percent over the same period last year. “The robust performance we’re seeing in PC game sales can be tied to several key titles across several genres,” she said, “but we’d be remiss not to address the continued success of World of Warcraft.”
More information.
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April 24th, 2007, 00:29
Why don't they include online sales? That is how i make all my game purchases. I don't remember the last time i waled into a video game store.
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April 24th, 2007, 00:36
Doesn't really matter anyway, as "PC gaming is dying".

Don't reply if you don't get the sarcasm.

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April 24th, 2007, 03:08
“Gaming actually started on computers and has been evolving on the PC for a very long time”
well, yeah!

“Not everyone wants to lay down the money for a console and a big-screen television to make it work,” Mr. Arzt said. “The thing about the economics of the PC,” he added, is that “everybody needs a computer.”
As overwhelmingly obvious as these statements are, it is definitely nice to see them in print instead of merely seeing them posted on various boards by cynical and disillusioned pc gamers (not pointing any fingers or anything ):

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
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April 24th, 2007, 04:04
You know I saw that and was thinking of the whole PC genre is dying "debate". I call it a "debate" because it's kind of like the "debate" over climate change or evolution.
Did you read the article? It's sheer genius. Do you know WHY the Manhattan lawyer (???) is buying a PC game and not a console game?

“But right now I don’t have the time or money to invest in a $400 console and $50 in a game.”

Oh right, ta da! That's why PC gaming is going to make a come-back: It's cheaper, and the games take less time to play. Well thank goodness we got to the bottom of that.

Head over to any hardware website (Tom's Hardware, Anandtech), and take a look at their MID-RANGED system buying guides. Decent PCs cost ~1K or more. Then look at reviews of the fastest processors and video cards. a "decent" video card costs ~$200-$300. The best ones cost more than an XBOX 360 all by themselves.

But somehow PC gaming is cheaper.

Less time? That doesn't even make sense. Even if you don't examine the 8 MILLION people playing WoW (which I can only assume the tenured readers here do not hold up as the epitome of fine PC gaming), you'd be hard pressed to find someone here who'd trumpet shortness as a virtue in PC gaming.

So what are you left with? Strong sales, and who knows how many are from the WoW expansion by itself. How many copies did that sell?

Look, PC gaming isn't DYING per se. It's just been eclipsed, and will probably continue to be eclipsed to a greater extent. I'm not thrilled about it. But it's OK, because SpiderWeb isn't going anywhere, and the limited (tiny) successes like Dominions III and oh I don't know whatever awesome independent game you like will keep drawing the occasional new player in. But realistically, there are enough of us old timers to just keep the little guys afloat indefinitely. We're in our 30s, our buying power grows and grows, and we're not going to kick the bucket for a long time. So PC gaming continues on with us, at least the good kind of PC gaming (not shooters and WoW and um whatever else the kids play that I don't like).

And all that's OK. You want to think PC gaming is still a market-shaping force when it comes to single-player games? I guess it depends on how you define your terms. Want to think there's a resurgence around the corner, as this article suggests? I wouldn't hold my breath, but anything's possible.

Me, I'm just glad I was able to take a subway ride into Manhattan and buy Dominions III at J+R Computer World. Because if I'd lived in most other places, I'd have had to order it online and wait for the shipping. And that's not going to change any time soon.

PS Civ IV on an old computer? It sure does chug. What werre they thinking with all the 3-D?
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April 24th, 2007, 05:10
An interesting post. Welcome to the boards!!

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April 24th, 2007, 15:56
PC Gaming is still in very , very serious trouble. The only prosperous genres are MMORPG and RTS. Everything else is utter shit right now. Especially FPS. The state of the FPS on the PC is easily the worst it has ever been since the invention of the genre. The same can be said for single player RPG's. But the days of the PC MMORPG and RTS are also numbered. I guarantee you within a couple of years, someobdy will put a commercially successful MMO or RTS on the XBox 360, and within a couple of years after that, those genres will be dead too as developers jump ship to dumb their games down for the consoles. People say that this can never be done, but the reality is, any game can be shoehorned onto a console if the developers are willing to strip away enough content.
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April 24th, 2007, 19:47
There is a breadth to PC gaming that isn't seen on other platforms - you can play everything there!

However, the result is that things tend to sell much lower numbers! Look at the March NPD numbers (US sales, not counting online, digital distro, subscriptions, and who knows what else):

1) The Sims 2 Seasons Expansion Pack - Electronic Arts - 104,758 units sold
2) World Of Warcraft: Burning Crusade Expansion Pack - Vivendi - 87,087 units sold
3) World Of Warcraft - Vivendi
4) Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars - Electronic Arts
5) The Sims 2 - Electronic Arts
6) Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars Kane Edition - Electronic Arts
7) Stalker: Shadow Of Chernobyl - THQ
8) Supreme Commander - THQ
9) Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Shivering Isles Expansion Pack - 2K Games - 25,201 units sold
10) 3333 XP Games JC - Viva Media - 24,938 units sold

The interesting thing - not a single PC game shows up in the March top 30 in terms of sales. It is all console games.

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April 24th, 2007, 20:17
Originally Posted by doctor_kaz View Post
I guarantee you within a couple of years, someobdy will put a commercially successful MMO or RTS on the XBox 360, and within a couple of years after that, those genres will be dead too as developers jump ship to dumb their games down for the consoles.
While they're doing that, somebody else is putting more and more PC functionality into consumer-electronics devices like telephones and PDAs.
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April 25th, 2007, 05:51
Those sales numbers do look pretty bad. Supreme Commander was only a month old and it looks like it was only in about the 25,000 range. I'm surprised that even Burning Crusade didn't sell over 100,000.
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April 25th, 2007, 13:36
Originally Posted by doctor_kaz View Post
I'm surprised that even Burning Crusade didn't sell over 100,000.
Yeah, but it sold like 2 million or more in the first month in the US, and more than 3.5 million worldwide in that same month. So it is doing alright …

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April 25th, 2007, 14:36
The point about PC gaming being cheaper is still: Everyone has a computer, whether they play games or not. If they want to play a game, all they have to do is buy a game for the PC they already own. If they want to play a console game, they have to buy the console first, and then the game.

At any rate, I don't think that point is going to make a huge difference for anyone. I do, however, believe that the diversity of PC games in general is enough to keep it floating. Whether it's online games, strategy games, RPGs, there's always something that you'll find on PC that you won't find elsewhere.

PC gaming isn't in serious trouble. The big companies are still going strong, people are just being overdramatic. I'd love to see the total PC incomes of EA or Blizzard after all the success they've had with the Sims and World of Warcraft.
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April 25th, 2007, 14:43
Not counting digital distrobution is going to skew everything pretty badly. I don't buy boxes any more. I just bought UFO: AFterlight and Genforge 4. If I had to go to the store I wouldn't have any game. I wasn't going to buy burning crusade, but then they offered it as a digital download, so I did. I almost bought stalker on D2D, but then I remembered I don't like those games and would just be wasting my money. If I went to the store I wouldn't even have picked up the box. Digital gets you because you read a review and can buy it right then, I have to constantly remind myself that everyone has very poor taste in games after reading a review or a forum thread on it to control my spending.

I am sure there are a lot of people like me that only buy digital. And digital has to be doing well, or d2d would've went under instead of having huge releases on the first day of release. Without online sales numbers any comparison is invalid. We need total sales to compare.
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April 25th, 2007, 14:47
I buy digital wherever possible.

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April 25th, 2007, 15:12
Originally Posted by roqua View Post
Not counting digital distrobution is going to skew everything pretty badly.
Very true - I said elsewhere that it amazes me that the gaming media, who are always obsessed with hawt tech, are so low tech when it comes to counting sales.

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April 25th, 2007, 15:19
I would buy many titles digital if it weren't the case that PC games are becomming so damn cheap here in Denmark because of an ever increasing number of titles that goes to the bargain bin. A new title costs about $50 here (which I guess is about the same as in the US) - but they very quickly drop in price. I went to an online store and they had 519 PC titles at $15 or less!! Even fairly new releases, such as the FEAR expansion pack, can be had extremely cheap (it was listed at $10 in the before mentioned online shop). When I saw Deus Ex were released at steam for $9 I was very tempted to re-buy it, but then I checked the price for a boxed copy - $6
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April 25th, 2007, 18:47
Originally Posted by txa1265 View Post
Very true - I said elsewhere that it amazes me that the gaming media, who are always obsessed with hawt tech, are so low tech when it comes to counting sales.
But how would you count online sales? Why should online stores be interested in disclosing their sales numbers?
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April 25th, 2007, 18:58
Originally Posted by Gorath View Post
But how would you count online sales? Why should online stores be interested in disclosing their sales numbers?
No clue … but I think that if they didn't sweep it under the rug it could percolate up to where the Steams and D2D's would talk numbers.

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April 25th, 2007, 20:05
Only someone with a very limited perspective could say PC gaming is dying or even in trouble. The truth is that while the PC gaming piece of the pie is proportionately smaller the overall size of the pie is increasing more than enough to compensate for the smaller percentage of total games sold for the PC. PC sales never slid in 2005 online publishers like Valve's Steam and Big Fish who sell casual games more than picked up the slack. Casual online games are expected to sell over $800 million this year. PC gaming isn't dying, it's booming.

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April 26th, 2007, 02:20
Unfortunately, much of the digital stuff is not available here. I've tried, but up pops a little annoying message which says that it's only available in the US and Canada!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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