It may sound almost impossibly cryptic, but according to new reports, the secret to PC gaming
success is going to be a combination of bricks and steam. That sounds like an odd combination, but the report from the International Data Corporation makes it a lot clearer.
More specifically, the steam in this case is the Steam gaming platform, home to absolutely staggering deals on a regular basis. The bricks, meanwhile, are the so-called BRIC nations, that combination of Brazil, Russia, India and China that represents some of the biggest possibilities in developing markets the world over. Though the BRIC nations' exact impact as market growth drivers is somewhat suspect--it didn't take long for it to start being questioned after it first emerged on the scene--it's easy to see why these nations are getting a lot of attention these days thanks to a combination of impressive natural resources and huge populations.
But the two factors together, according to the International Data Corporation, are likely to help fuel a firestorm of growth in the sector. The IDC is actually looking to these nations to help drive a combined revenue total of $24 billion by the year 2017, with annual growth expected to be around five percent a year until 2017 arrives. Interestingly, the projections for North American
PC gaming, meanwhile, are expected to drop a bit, meaning that the BRIC nations will have to pull quite a bit to overcome the North American drop and give the overall picture a boost in the process.
There's a combination of factors said to give the BRICs a boost in PC gaming; among these is a greater focus on PC gaming in those countries, thanks to a diminished focus on console gaming--China, at last report, had only recently begun to consider bringing console imports back--as well as an overall increasing standard of living thanks to the countries' rapid development. Still, while China has something of a moratorium on console gaming, its PC and mobile gaming market is by itself doing $13 billion in business annually.
There's certainly plenty of business to be had in these places. Getting new markets interested in gaming will require some new experiences and maybe even some new styles of gameplay. Somehow I doubt that Russians would be terribly interested in playing, for example, anything out of the "S.T.A.L.K.E.R" line. But then, the idea of, say, a Chinese "Elder Scrolls" might be something downright exciting.
Certainly, the combination of a higher standard of living and a comparative dearth of console gaming culture might well pull some serious new numbers into the PC gaming market. However, I'm thinking that the numbers are a bit exaggerated here. There are some reports that the Chinese market as a whole isn't quite as robust as some believe, and it's further worth noting that these are developing nations. Something happens to the developing nations' markets, there could be some reduction in overall power. Still, expecting gains out of the BRIC nations isn't exactly the height of foolishness. I believe that there could be some big gains indeed in that sector, especially aggregate over the next four to five years. But a market capable of that kind of gain may well pull in console game makers' interest--Microsoft, Nintendo
and Sony could all stand some shoring up on the bottom line--and that could drive down some of those optimistic gains. Still, gain is likely, and that's certainly a good place to look for growth in the market.