The changing PC gaming market

Posted: 2014/06/12 in Indie Games

I’m almost finished going through the archives of old articles I had once authored, and then not posted for whatever reason. This one is from December 14th, 2010, and it’s largely complete.

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Further proof that people who say that PC gaming is dying simply don’t get it.

What’s happening is that PC gaming is growing, but changing as it does. There are hundreds of millions playing Bejeweled, FarmVille, and other downloadable and/or browser games. This is far and away the bulk of the PC gaming market now. Far and away. Dedicated Windows gamers with fancy gaming rigs are now the distinct minority. That’s possibly more to do with the growth of casual gaming than it is the death of traditional PC gaming, however; the shift from PC gaming being retail-centric to digital distribution-centric makes it hard to quantify the relative size of the traditional hardcore Windows gaming market.

There’s long been a casual PC gaming scene, as far back as Solitaire and Minesweeper being included with Windows at least. What’s changed however, from what I see, is that it has evolved from casual gamers who played occasionally during downtime, to a new form of what you could (oxymoronically) call dedicated casual gamers. I know people who plan their day around when they have to be available to harvest their crops in FarmVille. I certainly have never heard of someone doing that for Minesweeper.

CityVille gaining 22 million users in the first 11 days is further proof of that. Has a hardcore PC title ever reached 22 million in sales, let alone 22 million concurrent users? And don’t discount the power of those 22 million eyeballs, these people are spending money. Zynga’s making a veritable mint off of microtransactions for their games.

The lesson for Indie Game developers is that Facebook games have grown on the strength of the low barrier to entry, and then made money on microtransactions.

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