A new report by market analyst Datamonitor predicts consoles will drive the untapped online games market.
Online PC gaming is nothing new, but it has failed to generate significant returns according to the analyst. However, Datamonitor predicts Internet-connected consoles will take online gaming to the mass market, growing from $US670 million in 2002 to almost $3 billion in 2005. According to the report, Global Online Games, the US market will eventually overtake the current number one online gaming country, Korea, by 2005.
"The launch of the PlayStation 2 and the Xbox online should mark the beginning of a true period of growth," said games analyst and report author Frederic Diot. "While it is safe to expect teething problems in the short term, once the market embarks on this road, the trend will be irreversible as consumers are bound to be seduced by the promises of massive multiplayer gaming."
According to Diot, PC games enjoy a large user base, but this does not translate into added revenue for the games' developers. Publishers and developers will have to come up with new services, such as targeted advertising, to make money from charging users who are used to playing games online for free.
Meanwhile, the PC games market in Australia continues to flourish. Figures from Inform support what games retailers have been saying for months - Warcraft III is a winner. Games sales for the title came in at 26,100 units in its first month of release and brought in $2.3 million for retailers, setting a record high for a PC title. The PC format continues to dominate the gaming market, accounting for 38 per cent of all games sold during July.