Analyst: PC Sales Reflect Shift to Digital Distribution

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An NPD analyst says that the $60 million drop in PC software retail revenue from 2006 to 2007 reflects the industry's movement towards digital distribution, GameDaily reports.

Analyst Anita Fraisure notes that the data, which currently does not account for digital downloads or subscriptions, is no cause for concern.

"As we've seen from a number of our studies, the PC continues to be a top platform in terms of total game playing time," said Fraisure. "I don't think this slight decline in retail sales is anything more than a reflection of a shifting of distribution channels."

The latest numbers reveal that PC sales accounted for only 14% of total revenue for game software sales in 2007. But without a comprehensive perspective of online activity, Fraisure says, the implications of the gap remain unclear.

"Video games software sales, and even just the console portion of that figure have been greater than PC retail sales every year that we've tracked. Yes, the (console and portable) video games retail sales have really exploded, but again, until we can get a measurement of dollars spent online, we won't have the true picture."

From The Chatty
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    January 25, 2008 12:22 PM

    In case someone decides to pop in and say "PC Gaming is dead!" I'd just like to remind you of something.

    PC Gaming will never be dead simply because PCs will be around forever, and so long as that is the case there will always be developers making games for them.

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      January 25, 2008 12:29 PM

      Actually, I think they were dead on -- they realized the sales were down, but it was because of digital distribution. Instead of crying doom one more time, they simply pointed the change in distribution trends.

      Here's to hope NPD will start covering Sream/D2D/etc sales some time, or that the digital publishers will start publishing their numbers. I really want to follow this (wonderful) shift to digital distribution closely so I'll have something to tell my grandchildren... stories of the days we still bought software in boxes. They'll laugh about it, I'm sure.

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        January 25, 2008 12:31 PM

        To what degree is it that NPD just turns their nose up at those numbers (Steam/D2D/etc) and to what degree is it that those companies (Valve in particular) just don't want to share their numbers?

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          January 25, 2008 1:13 PM

          NPD gives allot of lists and results by which companies make key financial decisions on. I'm sure their retail methodology is tried, true, and tested. Getting accurate sales from a multitude of online retailers comply with standard probably takes a bit more work. There are digital downloads and online retailers and I'm betting getting standardized system will eventually get ironed out.

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      January 25, 2008 12:29 PM

      Well, there are those that would argue that the PC might go somewhere eventually. At some point (in theory) everything you need will be "in the cloud". Your email will all be online (think Gmail), your apps will be online (Microsoft is making online versions of Word, etc.), games will be online (hell, id is doing this with Quake Zero), and all you'll need is *something* with a web browser which today includes the freaking Wii.

      But yeah it's been said again and again and I don't think it will ever happen. Photoshop would be horrible through a web browser (though, from what I hear Adobe is trying), games will probably never really work that way, and overall I think there will be too many "no seriously we need this to be a thick client program" tasks for the PC to ever go away.

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        May 22, 2008 12:27 PM

        Quake Zero won't be in a Web Browser! Id never stated that. In fact john carmack hates java/flash bcause its so slow! Its just heavily connected to the internet (like Trackmania United) and can be loaded through an internet website (which the innovative thing) but the client will be an application!

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      January 25, 2008 1:27 PM

      Honestly, does anybody even say "pc gaming is dying" anymore, other thann people in these forums? This comment appears on every thread related to PC sales.

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      January 25, 2008 1:32 PM

      PC Gaming will be dead when no new games are released for it. Yes, development of AAA titles looks to have shifted to consoles, but PC gamers don't appear to have been lacking for quality titles to play in 2007, either.

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        January 25, 2008 4:14 PM

        AAA titles shifted to consoles? They can keep Halo for one...compared to the FPS games available on the PC, Halo is a bastardized attempt at creating a mildly entertaining game at best for anyone who doesn't have an attention span shorter than that of a goldfish. I'd take Stalker(an awesome, but initially bugridden game) unpatched over Halo(flagship of FPS games on consoles). Anyways, time to fire up Stalker v 1.4, then some Savage 2 after that.

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          January 25, 2008 5:49 PM

          Halo is all about the hype, its made for ppl that dont actually like games. There are better FPS on the PC.