We all want videogames, but videogames must be exchanged for money. Damn you, capitalism! Games ain’t cheap, either; especially if you play on consoles, which remains hideously unfair (anybody care to explain why the currently digital-only Hitman reboot is cheaper on PC than consoles?). The one good thing about paying for games, comrades, is that the capitalist pigs who rule the world stand up and take notice of our hobby with all that cash flying around. The amount of that cash, if The Open Gaming Alliance is to be believed, is set to increase significantly within just a few years.
At the weekend, the OGA presented research at the Game Developer’s Conference to support their theory that the games market will be worth (to be said in your best Dr Evil voice) one hundred billion dollars by 2019. That’s crazy cash. That’s mega moolah. That’s a dizzying amount of deniro, bazinga bucks, an insane amount of – well, you get the picture. Interestingly, this model also has the PC as the platform with the biggest share of the market, at $36 billion. Here’s a quote lifted straight out of the press release, from DFC Intelligence analyst David Cole:
A major driver of industry growth is not just software, but hardware, […] The emergence of eSports and virtual reality is driving consumers to buy high end PC systems to not only play games, but watch others playing games.
Hmm. This Cole chap probably knows what he’s talking about – if you visit the DFCI website, you can purchase their reports on the gaming industry for heart-attack-inducing amounts of money – but we’re nonetheless cynical. The rise of eSports is an undeniable (and to some, mystifying) phenomenon. But has it really inspired that many purchases of expensive hardware just to spectate? The part of this speculation which truly has us sliding into our comfortable Trousers Of Cynicism, however, is the implicit assumption that virtual reality will prove to be a roaring success in the gaming sector. Yes, expensive PC setups are required in order to run VR properly; but this may well prove to be a reason for VR gaming’s failure, rather than its success. Time, as they say, will tell.