'Through Subscriptions, Micro Transactions & Downloads'
It wasn't so long ago that analysts and publishers were forecasting doom and gloom for the PC games market, trumpeting "PC gaming is dying out" or words to that effect. Now, however, EA boss John Riccitiello admits that the PC is currently the "fastest growing" gaming platform, thanks to a surge in Free To Play gaming, digital distribution and microtransactions.
"Just five years ago people said that the PC game business was in a radical state of decline because NPD said it was down 10 percent, 20 percent, 30 percent, year-in year-out," Riccitiello explained in an interview with CNBC, acknowledging the malaise surrounding the PC market at the start of this console generation. Now, however, the situation is very different.
"The fastest growing platform for video games today is the PC," he declared, "but it's growing through subscriptions, through micro transactions and through downloads. So publishers like us are able to grow because we're transforming the way we deliver products to the consumer."
The EA boss pointed at the ever-expanding free to play sector as a key factor in the PC upswing, stating that it's infinitely more lucrative than the name suggests.
There's a lot of power in free-to-play," he said. "And by the way, for what it's worth, free-to-play is anything but free. We have lots of games that are 'free-to-play', where paying users are giving us ten, twenty, thirty dollars a month."
There are doubtlessly other reasons why PC gaming is expanding, among them the huge number of exclusive inexpensive indie titles, cheap game RRPs, falling hardware prices and the current console generation lasting so long. It's clear that EA are attempting to embrace this growing market with Origin and free-to-play endeavours, but let's face it, they can't take any credit.