Electronic Arts recently spoke out about the misrepresentation of sales figures in NPD data claiming that without digital representation included in the sales data, these numbers paint a skewed picture of the gaming industry. This skewed picture is one that may have represented PC gaming as dying, while it may have been re-inventing itself all the while thriving.
As Valve’s Steam digital distribution platform has taken off and grown, the industry has mocked the PC gaming community as a dying breed. James Holtman, head of the Steam platform at Valve, claims that these traditional sales charts paint a picture of game sales that is “old” by today’s standards. Holtman spoke in a recent interview about this misrepresentation:
“If you look back at the way retail charts have been made, they have been proven to be telling an inaccurate story,” said Holtman. “They apparently had shown how the PC format was dying when it was actually thriving.”
Thriving it has been. As a part time PC gamer I love the convenience of digital downloads. Not only is there a convenience factor from a purchasing perspective, but an installation perspective as well. It’s never been easier to select games that you wish to play, determine if your PC is capable of playing said game, purchase, and play, as it is right now. We’ll see if PC gaming proves to console makers that digital distribution is a viable method better fitted for sooner rather than later.
As this console generation comes at a longer stretch than traditionally, I think we’ll see even more growth in the PC market. Gamers that clamor for bigger and better experiences aren’t going to find them on consoles, as we’ve likely seen the pinnacle of what current gen consoles can do, give or take a lighting or particle trick or two. Of course this all depends on developers and their ability to push the limitations of current graphics cards. If they continue to handicap their games so that they run on current generation consoles this might not be the case at all.