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PC Gaming Is Back… Just Wearing a New Suit

Back about 5 to 6 years ago the gaming media was flooded with stories about how PC gaming had died and that consoles were growing so fast that they would completely ellipse gaming on the PC. Well back then the numbers supported it. Console gaming sales were huge compared to a diminishing sale record for games on the PC. The life of the PC looked even grimmer when comparing the sales of multiplatform games that sold on both consoles and PC. It just wasn’t looking good.

Enter Digital Distribution

PC gaming has come a long way from those days of doom and gloom. One of those heroes to come save the day was Digital Distribution. Let’s face it, gamers on average tend to be a bit lazier than non gamers, and if there’s a way to increase gaming time and decrease other boring activities, like going to the store, gamers will take it.

The biggest player in this revolution is Valve and their digital distribution platform Steam. With Steam came the ability to click the mouse a few times, and in just minutes have a new game purchased, downloaded, installed, and ready to play. Making purchasing new games this easy sparked the massive growth of both Steam and digital distribution. At any given time of the day, there are anywhere from 3 to 6.5 million gamers logged in and online on the Steam platform. With stats like that, it’s easy to see why analysts are predicting that online game sales will surpass retail sales in 2013. Digital distribution has been wonderful for PC gaming, but it’s not the only hero in this epic saga.

Enter the Social Gamer

Anyone that has paid attention even remotely to the gaming industry in the past few years knows that social gaming has made quite an impact on the video gaming industry. As the definition of video games now includes web based games as well, the number of gamers that play on the PC has exploded. In gaming ecosystem where a company like Zynga can be once valued more than a gaming giant like Electronic Arts, social gaming is no laughing matter, anymore…

Taking a look specifically at Facebook itself and its gaming market, the statistics are astonishing. Numbers are now close to 300 million gamers, nearly the population of the US, play Facebook games at least once a month, and incredibly 81+ million gamers play on average each day. Investors have taken note of this, and more money is being invested in social/web based gaming every day. While most gaming consoles have web browsers, sadly the technology there isn’t really up to standards, so for now web based gaming can really only be found on the PC and select tablets. Thinking also in quantity of money, and not just number of users, there is still one more hero that we cannot leave out.

Enter Online Casino Games

This is a much overlooked category when it comes to gaming on the PC as many gamers don’t really find it falls in the definition of video games. Well no matter your opinion on the subject, online gambling and casino games can no longer be overlooked. Looking back again at Facebook in 2012, social casino games now account for 13% of the social gaming market, up from 8% in 2011, and 6% in 2010. With the US federal government leaving it up to the individual states to make their own laws about online gambling, several states have decided to permit such gambling. With the door now open, investment money is flooding into the market for casino and gambling gaming, much with success from companies like Playtika and Double Down.

Is PC gaming dead?

Well if you’re looking strictly at retail sales of games, then yes things aren’t looking great for PC gaming; however, PC gaming is not dead, but thriving better than ever, just not in the way it was a decade ago. I’m not sure why the media was so eager to shoot down PC gaming as a dying platform those few years ago, and why others still claim it to be dead (link) (HAHA not really). Long live gaming, whether it be on the PC or a console!

Adam Frick

Adam Frick, founder of GamesFinity, combines a BS in Computer Science and two decades of programming experience to provide in-depth game reviews. A former esports competitor and indie game developer, Adam specializes in the technical aspects of RTS, FPS, Simulation, and City Builder video games. Known for his expertise in video game history, his gaming journey started with an NES in 1993, leading to interviews with industry icons and convention appearances. Connect with him on Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

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