Throughout the last few years console game revenue has been falling. Much of this has been attributed to the rise of smartphone and tablet gaming, though the extended length of the previous console generation no doubt bears some of the blame.
At the same time, PC gaming has seen a resurgence. Console games ported to PC during the past few years have run well on even low-end gaming PCs and factors such as Valve's Steam Sales have made PC gaming a much more affordable proposition.
The release of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles is almost certain to influence console game revenue in the coming years. However, the PC gaming market may not take a hit as a result.
Market research firm IDC today released a report showing that combined global PC and Mac game and ad revenue is set to hit $24 billion by the year 2017. This would represent a 4% increase in PC gaming revenue each year from 2012 to 2017.
Though PC gaming as a whole will continue to grow in the coming years, established markets may actually see the reverse. IDC predicts that PC gaming revenue in North America is set to decline . This is primarily blamed on a drop in casual and browser game revenue due to to proliferation of mobile devices in the region. In addition, what IDC calls "hardcore subscription revenue" (money taken in by MMOs such as World of Warcraft) is set to decline as the genre fades and business models switch to free-to-play.
"Other than the casino genre, it's been tough sledding for most casual-leaning PC game genres in the past year," said Lewis Ward, research director for Gaming at IDC. "Most of the growth is coming from hardcore-oriented freemium titles such as Tencent's and Riot Games' League of Legends, Valve's Team Fortress 2 and Dota 2,Wargaming.net's World of Tanks, and a handful of Chinese MMORPGs."
Sinking Western revenues will be buoyed by game sales in emerging markets such as China, Brazil, and Russia. IDC points out that PC gaming has massive potential in these territories due to the relatively low sales consoles see in those nations.