JAN. 11, 2012 • According to research firm IDC, 352.4 million PC hardware units were shipped worldwide during 2011, an increase of 1.6 percent compared to 2010. Of that total, 92.7 million were shipped during the Fourth Quarter.
Impact: Five-plus years into the current console cycle, much of the luster has worn off the present crop of video game systems. Consumers today are much more enamored with smartphones and tablets. Yet despite a year full of natural and man-made disasters worldwide, PC shipments continue to grow at a reassuring pace. All of this bodes well for publishers of free-to-play content. By the time the next console cycle finally arrives, millions of consumers will be very comfortable with the freemium model on multiple platforms, and may not be as driven to invest in dedicated consoles.