The UK MD of former console big shot Sega has stuck up for PC gaming, saying that the often reported decline in sales figures doesn’t tell the whole story.
In a conversation with games business site MCV, Sega UK’s big cheese, John Clark, acknowledged that "the PC market is third in terms of its year-on-year performance with a decline of 26 percent.” However, he added that "this doesn’t really reflect the full picture."
He points out that although many PC gamers now download their games from services such as Steam and Gametap, the download sector is "somewhat invisible as it’s not yet covered by Chart-Track." In actuality, says Clark, the PC gaming market is "performing much better than is currently reported and remains a vital and strong sector to be involved in."
Chart-Track compiles the retail charts for games across all the platforms, and its figures also form the basis of ELSPA’s often quoted charts. However, it only monitors over-the-counter retail sales, and doesn’t even account for sales from e-tail sites such as Amazon and Play. This isn’t necessarily a bad way of gauging the success of mainstream console games, but it becomes misleading when applied to PC games.
Not only do most PC gamers regularly use download services, but many also pay subscription fees for online games such as World of Warcraft. This is a lucrative business, but again it’s not reflected in the charts.
So why is a company that’s synonymous with console gaming standing up for the PC? According to Clark, "Sega was ranked the second biggest PC publisher in the market. In 2010 year-to-date, we are once again ranked second." The company’s success in 2010 has been apparently boosted by titles such as Napoleon: Total War and Alien vs Predator, as well as the chart-topping stalwart Football Manager 2010.
“Long may it continue,” says Clark. After all, Sega makes games for every platform, and the PC is apparently making a lot of money for the company.