EA CEO: PC Gaming Has Grown for 'Several Years,' Too Focused on Retail Sales

Speaking on the state of the PC gaming, EA CEO John Riccitiello has noted his belief that the market has been "growing for several years" and that it has been "categorized wrongly" by a focus on retail sales.

"One of the things we try to look at at EA is the total business represented on PC game software, and we're seeing a growth in business there. It's been growing for several years," Riccitello said during a financial conference call yesterday.

"It's just been categorized wrongly by looking simply at the box side of the equation, he added. "The fastest growing [sector] is subscription, microtransactions-based and casual games, many of which are pretty much centered on the PC."

Riccitiello comments help explain EA's latest approach to PC gaming. Several of its upcoming titles, including BattleForge and the free-to-play multiplayer shooter Battlefield Heroes, are heavily centered around microtransactions.

"The box-side [sales] of PC [software] is soft. It's been soft for some time," he noted. "Were it not for The Sims and World of Warcraft box sales, [retail would] be a pretty dismal sector."

After retail sales of PC software accounted for a mere 14% of the overall games industry in 2007, NPD analyst Anita Fraisure came to a similar conclusion. She claimed the PC market wasn't shrinking, but rather shifting towards digital distribution and game subscriptions.