They note that core gamers are "willing to spend more money than ever," with an increase in PC gameplay here in the West compared to 2012. Asia a major contributor.
PC dead? Not if Asia has its way, which is fast becoming a true powerhouse for the market especially with the rise in MMOs. DFC Intelligence have been surprised.
"We thought with the lack of major new releases that overall usage would be down," said DFC analyst Jeremy Miller. "However, the top titles of 2012 continued to do well in 2013 and new titles like Battlefield 4 and Total War: Rome II had solid performances." 2013 was led by League of Legends, followed by DOTA 2, which grew the most in 2013.
"The big surprise is that an upfront payment business model still seems to do very well. Dota 2 charged a $30 beta fee before going free-to-play and a great deal of people took advantage of that. So really we see a hybrid business model working where you can call it F2P but still charge upfront," said DFC's David Cole.
"Also the traditional model where you charge a one-time fee is also very attractive....but again there is now a greater ability to upsell consumers after the initial purchase. We think this is a major driver of growth versus the pure free-to-play games." The research firm is most interested to see the effect of PC and next-gen consoles 'blurring'.
"One of the big things to watch is the crossover between big console games and their PC release. GTA V releasing for PC will be one to watch if that occurs. Titanfall, Elder Scrolls Online and many other titles are being developed for both console and PC. So I think the biggest item of note is the synergy now between console and PC," said Cole.
"2013 was a slow year for releases on the PC in large part because developers were gearing up for new console systems. We actually think the launch of the new console systems will help lift the PC game business because there is large overlap between console and PC gamers and it becomes another platform for developers."
DFC Intelligence estimate the high-end gamers market outside Asia to number around 285 million people, and this is the heavily overlapped target market. Now enters SteamOS and the rise of the mini-PCs! Resistance is futile.