Global stay-at-home orders were clearly a boon for PC games. After several years of fairly tepid growth, PC video game sales soared in 2020. The latest DFC Intelligence PC game forecasts estimates that worldwide revenue for PC video games was up 19% over 2019 to $36 billion.
This sales increase was across all regions. Even China, which has
seen movement to mobile games saw 11% growth in PC games. In regions like North America and Western Europe the annual growth was over 25%.
It is hard to point to a single game or category that was responsible for this growth. Pay-to-play games where consumers pay upfront saw the greatest growth, but the larger games-as-a-service categories also showed strong growth.
Both the average revenue per user and number of users increased and number of users increased. This is an extremely positive sign given that there was concern the market was reaching saturation.
Many companies did well through increased sales of existing products. For example, Activision Blizzard saw PC games sales increase 25% in the first nine months of 2020 without releasing any major new products. The Q4 launch of the World of Warcraft: Shadowlands expansion will drive sales of the 16-year-old game to over $1 billion for the year.
Forecasts for the PC game market continue to be strong for 2021 and beyond. PC video game sales in 2021 are expected to reach another record of $37 billion. By 2025 the PC video game market is expected to hit $40 billion.
This does not include the additional revenue overlap from PC video games that also launch on console and mobile platforms. Increasingly global video game consumers are playing games on several platforms. The numbers show that when people are staying at home, personal computers are the number one platform.