Demand for consoles, add-ons skyrockets as PC games plunge
UK Gamers shifting to dedicated devices?
Videogame sales in the UK will eclipse the combined value of music and video purchases in the UK this year for the first time ever, despite plummeting demand for PC titles.
Verdict Research said that, by the end of 2008, UK gamers will have splashed out a credit crunch-defying £4.6bn ($7.2bn/€5.7bn) on gaming kit, including consoles, accessories and games. Sales will be up 42 per cent on the total spent in 2007, Verdict said.
But sales of music and video in the UK will still be strong, Verdict predicted, with an end-of-year forecast of £4.4bn ($7bn/€5.4bn).
According to fellow market watcher Chart Track, console game sales alone were worth £1.7bn ($2.7bn/€2.1bn) last year in the UK. Music sales were worth £1.4bn ($2.2bn/€1.7bn) and video sales £2.2bn ($3.5bn/€2.7bn).
However, Dorian Bloch, director of UK sales at Chart Track, told Register Hardware today that Verdict's prediction is too high. "Sales of over £4bn is likely," he forecast, "but I don't think the figure will rise above £4.6bn."
He noted that although the gaming industry expects Q4 sales in the UK to be the "best ever", sales of PC games have dropped dramatically.
Chart Track's figures show that, between 1998 and 2004, PC game sales averaged £200m ($320m/€247m) in the UK. But he said last year they were roughly £150m, and that this year's figures will be "way down" on the 2007 total.
If its not dead, its certainly looking a funny colour...
I agree with almost all everyone's comments as to why PC game sales are in decline, especially those that highlight the ease with which you can play games on consoles without having to check specifications, bug check, download patches and jump through various DRM hoops. I admit that whilst I still buy PC games, I now tend to buy more games for my XBox 360, which is simply easier to use for a quick gaming fix. I also agree with the points about having to constantly drop hundreds of pounds on new PC kit to even be able to run a title, let alone play it with half decent graphics without the risk of the game turning into an interactive slideshow. I just can't afford to keep buying new processors, graphics cards, PSUs, memory, operating systems and hard drives every few months!
However, I don't think anyone has mentioned the important fact that games shops are perpetually reducing the size of their PC games sections, sometimes to the degree that they are smaller than the 'miscellaneous items of game-related tat' sections, (Mario plush toys, and so on). They're also almost always stuck out of the way in some rarely visited area of the store or conversely, in the most awkward place imaginable.
Gamestation seem to be particularly prone to doing this - my local store appears to be selling off most of their pre-owned PC games for a pittance, and have placed the pre-owned section directly in front of the staff door to the stockroom. Similarly, the brand new PC games are placed on a very small number of shelves directly in the way of where people queue for the till. If you want to browse either section, you're either continually being 'excuse me'd' out of the way by staff carrying armfuls of console goodies to and fro, or bored punters waiting to pay for stuff.
And then theres the criminal lack of variety in stocked titles - I know for a fact that there are more games out there than are displayed in stores. Now that Gamestation is part of the same chain as GAME, their stocked PC titles are pretty lacklustre and usually identical, an example of this being the fact that as my wife has a liking for LEGO games, I was looking to try and find LEGO Batman shortly after its release - this proved more difficult to find than a piece of hay in a large stack of needles. In the end, I ordered it from an online retailer.
Stores like as HMV and Zavvi are even worse than the supposed specialist game stores. Even my local CEX (traded games only) have shifted their PC games from right next to the area where people queue for the tills to a dank area right at the back of the store, (see what I mean about the PC game placement trend?). Even supermarkets have stopped stocking PC games entirely, or if they have some, they tend to be the top 5 or 10 games, which invariably means half of their stock are bloody Sims expansions that no-one actually wants.
So although I've been a staunch supporter of PC gaming in the past, and have often posted rambling diatribes against lazy console ports, I think I'm on the verge of giving up on the PC as major gaming platform.
It just seems to be getting progressively easier and cheaper to get a console and an armful of good games instead, set myself up on my settee and crack on with the serious business of having fun...
Plus, PC Zone magazine seems to be turning into a tri-monthly games leaflet, with people pulled off the street with a shepherd's crook every other month to take a turn as a reviewer/freelance journalist/magazine editor before they leave the sinking ship. But thats another gripe I have...
RE: Unfair comparison?
I agree with you, to a point, but do you buy a new hi-fi every time that "must have" album comes out that hasn't been released for your current CD player? Oh ... wait a minute ... it doesn't quite work like that for music. ;)
As long as
I can plug a keyboard and mouse into the console, I'll have one. Then there would never be any reason to use Windows.