Fun and Games
According to a report produced by the PC Gaming Alliance (PCGA) the PC is the largest single platform for games with annual worldwide revenues of US$10.7 billion. This is more than any of the consoles currently available from Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo.
PCGA president Randy Stude told the BBC these figures underline the PC as the “Number one platform for gaming world wide.” He said, “Despite Xbox LIVE and PlayStation, the online platform that remains the most accessible and robust is the PC.”
The report, released to coincide with the opening of the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, noted the three biggest trends in 2008 were:
- The growth of online digital distribution via services like Valve’s Steam
- The growth of free games with a virtual item purchase model
- The growing presence of game cards at major retailers like 7-Eleven
The report also contains many interesting factoids such as:
- Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs) are the leading products for both revenue and profits
- World of Warcraft is generating over $1 billion in annual revenue
- PC games regularly generate over $50 million in sales but can generate substantially more in subscription and/or add-on revenue
- Several Asian MMOGs are generating over $100 million in annual revenue after 5+ years on the market
- The Lich King expansion to World of Warcraft outsold its predecessor.
- In 2008, two major new subscription MMOGs, Warhammer Online and Age of Conan, sold over 1 million units each.
However, the PCGA is an umbrella organization for companies interested in promoting the PC as a gaming platform. Mr Stude, its president, works for Intel, the chip manufacture behind most of the CPUs that drive PCs. So its reports may be little biased. Something the BBC interview did not point out.
Still, I don’t think anyone needs the PCGA to tell them MMOGs are where all the fun’s at.
Satellite Broadcaster BSkyB, has demonstrated its new three-dimensional television (3DTV) system. The new system can broadcast 3DTV into homes using existing high-definition TV infrastructure.
Three-dimensional viewing is on a roll. Games systems are pushing the development of 3D screens. Nvidia’s newer graphics cards use Stereo Gaming technology to enhance some of the most popular PC games.
The magic specs were back in the cinema this year with ‘Journey to the Centre of the Earth’ and ‘Beowulf’ both doing well at the box office. Other 3D movies such as ‘Toys Story 3’ and ‘Ice Age – Dawn of the Dinosaurs’ are due out in 2009.
According to BSkyB 3DTV is not far behind. Sky engineers have so far broadcast sporting events and the TV show Gladiators.
The BSkyB system requires viewers to wear special 3D glasses. Technology allowing viewing of 3D shows without special glasses will be cheap enough to use in the home in five to ten years time.
The system also requires a special television set capable of converting the dual pictures sent over the satellite link, into a 3D display. Mitsubishi launched a 73-inch 3D television receiver in June 2008. Other companies are expected to follow in 2009 with prices in the £2,000 range (US$3000).