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Retail PC games sales decline 23 percent in 2009

By Jos · 29 replies
Jan 19, 2010
  1. Even with a December sales performance that “broke all industry records,” U.S. videogame sales slipped 8 percent last year over the $21.4 billion generated in 2008. Aside from portable hardware sales which experienced a 6% increase in revenue, every other category experienced a decline, among which retail sales of PC games suffered the biggest drop with revenues of only $538 million in 2009 according to NPD.

    Read the whole story
  2. Vrmithrax

    Vrmithrax TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,333   +280

    What I'd love to see sometime: A comparison between sales figures in the PC/Console arena and the number of releases (and/or developers) for said platforms. Might be interesting to have some hard numbers behind what is available, and how many development houses are actually supporting the PC side. Consoles tend to get all the flashy exclusives, then they get to PC eventually (if at all), and people wonder why PC game sales lag.
  3. treeski

    treeski TS Evangelist Posts: 984   +229

    Just want to put my continued support for PC gaming!
  4. Relic

    Relic TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,379   +16

    NPD is outdated like Nielsen imo and I hope in this decade they finally realize it and start moving forward. But I still think even with digital distribution PC gaming declined this year. I really would love to see digital sales numbers but sadly those are kept private for obvious reasons :( .

    Nevertheless I still believe the PC platform hands down is the BEST gaming system and by far most consumer friendly being open platform and all. Consoles however will always have an edge simply because they are easier and the masses enjoy that.
  5. People will be forced to cut back on their purchases whether it's PC or console gaming when they are unemployed or under-employed. Unless we have been under a rock, we are still in a recession.
  6. Timonius

    Timonius TS Evangelist Posts: 647   +58

    "Unfortunately, despite being aware of this, NPD is still not tracking game sales through nontraditional channels."

    NPD better get their act together. I believe the future of PC gaming solidly rests in online retail (as most of my local game stores practically shun windows and definitely mac games). If you plug in the digital distribution and subscriptions you'll definitely see an increase (ie. look at WOW).
  7. KG363

    KG363 TS Guru Posts: 515   +9

    Wow, NPD is just releasing numbers that trick people into avoiding PC gaming. I don't think that is their intention, but I fear that is what is happening. They need to track digital sales and subscriptions. They are providing unreliable information.
  8. That sounds about right... when you compare the price of a retail PC game versus the price of it online. I stopped buying PC games at retail when publishers decided that charging AUS$105 for a game was ok. Who the F*** is going to buy a game for the much when you can find the same game for $20-30 less online.

    And PC publishers wonder why there's a - perceived - decline in the PC game market. You'd think they'd realise by now that more quantity sold at a lower price is more important than selling less units at a higher price.
  9. gwailo247

    gwailo247 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,010   +18

    Last game I physically bought was Empire Total War. Only to find out three things.

    One is that you still need an internet connection and Steam to play it, making the physical disk merely a convenience to load the game an hour faster.

    Two is that on release it was buggy and need to be patched.

    Three is that when you're sitting at home fuming about your game waiting for a patch, you will invariably find it on a special sale in the next few months, and can get it for much cheaper than what you paid for at release.

    This happened to most of the games I bought this year in varying amounts.
  10. Cdwhenry New Holland PA USA wrote-

    Another reason for the lack in sales is the fact that most of the PC titles are ports from console games. And most of those games are no better then the consoles. I feel that most of these PC titles seem to be dubbed down. I put money into my computer because it is the best platform for gaming. I hope that these companies soon realize that if they screw the PC gamer over by giving us inferior console carts, we'll stop buying the games. Also if the games are being designed for 3 year old console hardware, why should I go and buy the top of the line videocard. This designing for the console and then port the game to the PC will in the long run, hurt the Hardware manufacturers.
  11. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,499   +2,294

    On Being the First Kid on the Block to Have Something.....

    Well, you can't be an early adopter and then moan about being a victim also. That's like having your cake and pounding it in your *** too. So "man up" and just get used to the "implantation" of the "magic price wand". Oh, and find a comfortable cushion to sit on while you're playing your new game. There's bound to be some tenderness right near where your wallet used to be.
  12. Those stats don't consider that most of the best PC games are available for download, and not at a brick-and-mortar establishment. I go to Best Buy, GameStop, or some other place and see nothing but Call of Duty, WoW, or crap for PC games. Most of the PC game I have are from online sources.

    Fry's usually has a pretty good PC stock, though. Online is still the best, and you can get either downloads or mail-order (or both!).
  13. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,979   +71

    This. With a few exceptions along the way, almost everything is "down." The retail market across the board in December was down.
  14. dustin_ds3000

    dustin_ds3000 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 869   +8

    Steam all the way
  15. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,499   +2,294

    Silly me, I thought it might have something to do with "Daemon Tools".
  16. dummybait

    dummybait TS Rookie Posts: 45

    PC FTW !!!
  17. xempler

    xempler TS Rookie Posts: 24

    These stats are misleading and useless unless you account digital dstribution like Steam...which alot of people are using nowadays. Whoever is running these numbers fails horribly at his job.
  18. yangly18

    yangly18 TS Rookie Posts: 217

    got to admit, I am one of thoes people that helped out in this decrease in computer games being purchased.
  19. chivenyc

    chivenyc TS Rookie

    How to fix it:
    1. Don't cut back on quality (voice acting, console-porting, story lines)
    2. End pay-to-play like WoW. The only company that benefits from it is Blizzard. Everyone else suffers from it; other game developers, non-WoW gaming communities. If everyone stopped playing WoW, then COD4, COD5, BF2, MW2, CSS would be so much better. There would be more servers, more players, more clans, more competition, more revenue for gaming hosts, and an incentive for game developers to release good multiplayer titles. Blame Blizzard.

    It's all about digital distribution now, not retail. Steam and xfire ftw.
  20. Vrmithrax

    Vrmithrax TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,333   +280

    So, you are saying that if WoW became free to play, less people would play it and play more of the other games? And that would somehow make the game development companies change their minds and release games on the PC first (or concurrently) rather than on the consoles first, with PC releases coming later (if at all)?

    Blizzard didn't invent the pay-to-play MMO concept, they just are the most successful example of that genre. And if surveys and market summaries like the one in this article actually counted subscription fees (as well as online sales), the PC gaming market would be far shinier than this dismal, skewed and limited statistical representation makes it out to be.
  21. TomSEA

    TomSEA TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,632   +689

    Another caveat is that 2009 wasn't the greatest year for games, period. There just weren't that many good releases. 2010 has a slew of highly anticipated games that will be making a difference.

    And as others have stated, unless you include digital distribution sales along with monthly subscriptions for MMORPG's, these figures are pretty meaningless.
  22. chivenyc

    chivenyc TS Rookie

    True, people wouldn't stop playing WoW if it became free. But the way I think about pay-to-play is that you bind yourself to a game to make it worth, "I just spent $15 on it, so I have to play WoW for a whole month, and nothing else" kind of thing. Would there be less people playing WoW if it was free? No, but they would be more likely to play something else. Just look at some xfire profiles of people who play WoW. That's all they play, nothing else. What's the incentive for companies to release games for PC if there is very little chance the players will play their game. It's a waste of time and money for them. Now take me for example.
    Is there a reason for the companies to make games for people like me? Hell yeah!

    Now, I don't want it to turn into another PC vs Console thing, but considering that PC gaming is superior in almost every way (except for cheats), games should be released on PC first, not the other way around like MW2.
  23. EXCellR8

    EXCellR8 The Conservative Posts: 1,835

    PC gaming may have been superior at one time, but with console sales skyrocketing and developers targeting the bigger audience it's not likely to return to the throne. on top of that, having to update your hardware every few years is a huge turn-off for most people and console gaming is just easier (i.e. no complete installations, no driver updates, no interruptions, no compatibility issues etc...). Sure, I still favor gaming on PC but at the end of the day it's easier to pop in a new game for PS3 and start playing right away without having to worry about how it will run or what i may need to update.
  24. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,499   +2,294

    Yes, it is a logical sequence to connect an "***** box" to the "boob tube".

    This coupled with the fact that the Xbox, (allegedly), burns up long before it becomes obsolete.
  25. I'm not surprised looking at shops like Game which has a tiny little section that's tucked in the corner for PC games! Then they overcharge £5-£10 more than online websites or distributors like Steam. One of the biggest problems for PC games I find is console ports. They focus way too much on consoles for games and their crappy controllers, I'm just hoping the new AVP doesn't end up like this and destroy the feel of the whole game.
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