PCGA: PC software sales rise to $13.1 billion in 2009

According to a report by the PC Gaming Alliance (PCGA), PC game revenues increased to $13.1 billion in 2009, a three percent increase from the previous year.

Despite the increase, boxed PC game sales showed a sharp decline by over 20 percent, confirming a shift to digital distribution among gamers.

"The most notable trend in recent years has been the movement to digital distribution and payment for subscriptions, and the growing popularity with consumers of online games as a service," says PCGA president Randy Stude.

Most countries in North America and Europe saw revenue declines of 10 to 15 percent, while Asian countries experienced a growth in sales.

"In 2009, we saw North America and Europe experience a rapid uptake in purchasing virtual items. This model is what drove growth in Asia, and we think it is just starting to come to Western markets."

Nonetheless the future looks positive with the report adding that "free-to-play games and social network sites continue to draw in thousands of new game players that can be progressively monetized."

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Have you made the switch to digital distribution?

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"...confirming a shift to digital distribution among gamers"

First of all, comapct disc IS digital distribution. But if you mean "online" distribution you are still incorrect. You can't just jump to that conclusion. Why? Because some games are ONLY avaialble in online distribution channels. If those games aren't even available in stores then you can't really make a comparison. It's like confirming yourself the winner in a race against yourself. Well, if there's no other option then yeah you will probably win your own race.

It is great to have online distribution as a choice but it should not replace boxed software.

And to those who are dismissing the piracy claims, how do you know that the figures wouldn't be higher if piracy wasn't a factor? You can't. There is no way to tell what the numbers would have been if piracy wasn't a factor. They may be higher or they may be lower.

The point is it's not lower. Yes, it could be higher if piracy didn't exist, but it's clearly not causing a bunch of money to be lost overall. A case could be made that piracy helps or hurts sales, but we can never have numbers to actually know what is going on so we're only left with speculation. Someone could pirate for a demo of the software then go buy it if he or she likes it or alternatively, someone could pirate it and then give it to all of his friends who were willing to pay for it. We'll never know.

For me, I don't need boxed software. It's more of a hassle to keep track of it and hope that my CDs aren't scratched or anything and then have to redownload all of the patches and whatnot manually. I'm referencing Steam, btw. It's nice and has some pretty sweet discounts on games. We are moving towards an online distribution era though. Boxed games won't disappear, but buying online will be pretty common for a good long time until some online distro company screws up and doesn't let you download all of the games you bought. It could be OnLive, D2D, XFire, or Steam. Who knows.

Now tell me again that PC gaming is dying. What an absolute crock.

And piracy? Give me a bloody break. The figures are in kids!

Good for the casual games market but not good for the traditional PC games market. Not only did the casual games manage to offset the revenue decline of the traditional PC games, they manage to post an overall profit. So the Asian style micropayments/virtual item free to play games are coming to the Western market? That will be interesting to see. I guess those type of games + Facebook games + Flash Game are going to be the main money-makers for the PC. PC has gone from next gen to Wii.

Pretty good news. Gaming in general is on the rise so this is not too surprising. Lots of great games lately as well.

CoD MW2 (despite having protests, it is a great PC game, quite performant too)
BFBC2 (pretty unstable on EAs end now, but all platforms are having issues now, but damn fun when it works, and beautiful)

Team Fortress 2 is still going strong as well.