It's Official: Retail PC Gaming Is Dying

As much as PC gamers would love to come to the defense of their beloved rigs, towers and skyscrapers with enough juice running through them to power a small city block, it’s time to concede to what many of us already knew: retail PC gaming is dying. Reports have emerged confirming that the retail PC gaming market is, in fact, dying and there are some hard numbers to prove it, too.

Earlier today PricewaterhouseCoopers unveiled to the press some of the research data collected pertaining to the market value and expansion of the video games industry and while a lot of it showed growth in just about every nook and cranny of the interactive gaming industry the world around, there was one area that showed (and continues to show) a decline in retail value and it’s with the personal computer.

As stated in the market research…

Retail sales of PC games have been deteriorating for a number of reasons: Developers are producing fewer PC games because of the fear of piracy. Consumers have been migrating from PC games to those played on the current generation of consoles. Retailers do not make the same effort to market PC games, often relegating them to the backs of their stores. Last, the move to digital distribution of games makes downloading them directly to the PC an easier alternative to purchasing the games at retail.

There is some good news, though: there is an increase in microtransactions and spending for online gaming, breathing a new kind of life into an otherwise starving market. According to the research…

The growth of MMOGs is aiding the retail PC game market, as most MMOGs require a retail purchase of the game, after which the gamer pays a monthly subscription fee to play the game online. Despite being five years old, World of Warcraft continues to be the most popular MMOG in the world.

However, if you’re not a fan of World of Warcraft, StarCraft, Call of Duty or The Sims, then there weren’t a lot of other gaming titles to help propel the market forward for retail PC gaming. And if you’re not much of a fan of MMOs, well then you’re out of luck when it comes to heavy PC game development support. As stated in the research data…

The US PC game market will decline by 3.0 percent annually from $539 million in 2009 to $464 million in 2014, while the Canadian market will decline from $62 million to $50 million, a 4.2 percent compound annual rate.

What’s worse is that in many of the Asian markets the piracy of PC games is so bad that some of them don’t even have market data to share. Ouch.

I know there’s going to be a lot of butthurt PC gamers rallying up in arms because of the news, but the best way to keep development strong in the PC gaming community is to forfeit the urge to pirate every game that comes out for PC. That might help a little. If you’re not convinced about the numbers you can read e’m and weep below…and weep well. You can check out the stats for the online and digital distribution market right here.

Will Usher

Staff Writer at CinemaBlend.