Spending by Mac and PC gamers will grow to more than $27 billion worldwide in the next three years, according to a new report from market research firm International Data Corporation.
Published Tuesday, the study also predicts that global PC and Mac digital game revenue will rise about 4 percent per year between 2012 and 2017, while North American revenue will slip due to the prevalence of more casual, browser-based games, as well as those on smartphones and tablets. IDC’s Worldwide Digital PC and Mac Gaming 2013–2017 Forecast also predicts a steady drop in subscription revenue from games like World of Warcraft.
Outside of North America, however, things look a bit rosier. IDC says that the digital PC and Mac digital gaming revenue should expand by more than five percent per year in countries with a currently rising standard of living, like Brazil, Russia, India, and China (BRIC).
“Other than the casino genre, it’s been tough sledding for most casual-leaning PC game genres in the past year,” said IDC’s Lewis Ward, in a press release. “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.”
Speaking of Valve, the report plans to see a significant expansion of its digital distribution service into North American and Western European homes with the release of Valve’s Steam machines initiative.
While the report focuses on personal computer gaming, IDC’s Ward notes that this category is rapidly fading at the boundaries.
“Demand for prepaid digital games should remain stable if not rise at the margins through 2017 partly because key developers, publishers, and platform providers will ramp up their offerings on HDTVs,” he said. “The difference between what PCs, consoles, micro-consoles, and perhaps even smart TVs will be able to deliver three years from now will be mostly semantic. The platforms that outperform will have great games, a wise mix of business models, an ability to strain key customer insights out of a sea of big data, and offer great a social experience.”
None of those things need be connected to any one single platform, of course, and for sure we’re already seeing a trend to move away from the computer and onto the same mobile platforms we already carry around in our pockets and backpacks.
Bottom line here, though, is that gaming is here to stay, and it’s only set to grow in the next few years. That’s good news, indeed, for both consumers and developers.