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This is my ultimate post. A fact-filled false information busting beast of legitimate sources, information, and arguments. I present for your pleasure, the real facts on PC gaming:

Popcap Games = Bejeweled, Peggle, Zuma, etc. They make dozens of casual games. Obviously their biggest is Bejeweled, but they have certainly been incredibly successful in that market. They have been downloaded more than 175 million times. They are also played an estimated 3 billion player minutes per month. They make the console casual market look minuscule and insignificant. Saying you don't know Popcap games is like me saying I don't know Activision or EA. They are insanely profitable. None of these sales and downloads were tracked by NPD by the way.

NPD reported there were about 268 million games sold in 2007. About 36 million were PC games. 154 million were consoles (the rest were handhelds obviously). Let's just divide that number into fourths for the PS2, Wii, PS3, and 360. That's 38.5 million per console. That means that the PC managed to nearly match individual console game sales, without a single downloadable title counted. There are 15 million active untracked Steam accounts. Not only that, but Steam saw a sales increase of 158% year over year in holiday 2007 versus Holiday 2006. Newell estimates a developer can see a profit of $30 on a $50 game sold on Steam versus about $7.50 sold in retail. That's a 60% profit on Steam and a 15% profit in retail. Four times the profit on Steam... not to mention if you license Valve's engine for your game you will get 100% of the profits from Steam sales!

Many companies who don't have Steam sell their games over their websites or over other digital services like Gametap. Sins of a Solar Empire did amazing just from website sales according to their devs. Call of Duty 4 has topped sales on Steam almost every day since its release.

All this, and the US isn't even the PC's strongest market. It's nowhere near as big as Korea and Europe. Tell people in Korea that the PC market is dying and they'll just laugh at you. It's amazing the kind of success small-name games have found on the PC. Sam & Max, Audiosurf, and thousands of indie games. Audiosurf has been a runaway success. Sam & Max has pioneered episodic gaming and is the single longest running series of episodic content in gamingi history.

Now that we've talked about sales, let's talk about the gamers themselves. Xbox Live is the biggest place for online gaming right? Hah! Xbox Live has had 10 million people even connect to it in its lifetime. Maybe 1/3 of those actually pay for a gold account to play online. Steam has more than 15 million active subscribers. Steam is by its very nature a totally free online gaming service, and it's just one in a dozen! There is Gametap, X-Fire, Gas Powered Games, EANation,, many others for individual games, and that's not even counting 16 million plus active MMORPG accounts.

And that's just the paid for MMORPGs. I'm here to tell you about a little game called Maple Story. Maple Story has more than 33 million subscribers... as of freaking 2006. It generated more than $300 million in revenue since its inception. It's only grown since then.

Online gaming is miniscule on consoles. No, I should say it's inconsequential compared to the PC market. PC is the place for online gaming, for competitive gaming, for FPS and RTS gaming, for indie games, and for anyone willing to use Steam to get their game out there. A well-built PC can outlast a console generation with nothing but a new graphics card every couple years. A smart PC gamer waits till a new generation starts (or a year after) to upgrade his rig.

PC gaming provides more services, has more online gamers, and has nearly equal software sales to individual consoles in retail alone. All of this with cheaper games, better (and free) online services, and digital distribution services that make XBL, PSN, and WiiWare look like jokes. It is a haven for hardcore and casual gamers, developers both established and indie, and it is a market that only grows as digital distribution and internet connectivity becomes stronger.


And that, my friends, is the facts on PC gaming.