PC gaming may be the forgotten sector of the modern PC market, but it's also the most financially important.
That's according to Green Man Gaming's Darren Cairns who told an audience at Games Retail 2020 today that, according to Juniper Research, PC, handheld and console revenues will hit $43.2bn by 2019.
Intel's most recent financials claim that there are now 711m PC gamers worldwide.
Furthermore, DFC reckons the PC games market will reach revenues of $26bn by the end of the year, with JPR adding that PC gaming hardware revenues will hit $23bn by 2017, across pre-assembled systems and self-builds.
The mainstream sector will only account for 26 per cent of this, with enthusiasts still the more important segment at 44 per cent.
Beyond the numbers there are many other potential advantages for the consumer with PC gaming, too. The open platform means that PC remains the home of innovation and creativity in games development, and a high number of dedicated PC gamers also own one or more consoles, meaning there's crossover potential for success game makers too.
Add to that the fact that PC gaming technology is leaps and bounds ahead of consoles, with consumers able to tailor their machines specifically to their needs – and with a big enough spend achieve resolutions and performance that obliterate even next-gen machines.
So why the lack of an E3 PC keynote? Because no-one owns it,” one audience member replied. And that's true. The PC sector is hugely fragmented, with companies such as Steam, Origin, uPlay and Battle.net all vying to share.
All of which could possibly change were Steam to take to the LA stage, of course.
With this seemingly not on the horizon, though, how should developers and publishers go about addressing and discovering those 711m PC gamers?
Cairns says that data will drive the evolution of retail. This starts with the gamer – their location and membership data – and in turn their browsing habits and how they use any particular retailer's website. Buying patterns are a key factor, but don't necessarily reflect usage. More informative are their connections with other on social networks, which is very revealing about the games that interest them and their future choices.