For the first time in years, sales from PC games are projected to overtake sales from video games, according to research from PricewaterhouseCoopers, reported by CNET. PC game sales are expected to reach $29 billion around the world by the end of 2016. In 2012, more than 33 million games were played on PCs alone, according to VGChartz data reported by Steam.
Because PCs are still dominating the market, both in terms of how many people are playing and how many games are available, computer programmers continue to develop games for PCs more than any other gaming system.
Virtual reality, what many tech experts believe will be the next frontier in gaming, is primarily being used in games designed for PCs. Virtual reality system Oculus Rift creator Palmer Luckey said PCs fit his programming needs better than any other alternative.
"We're trying to make the best virtual reality device in the world, and we want to continue to innovate and upgrade every year — continue making progress internally — and whenever we make big jumps, we want to push that to the public," Luckey told TechRadar.
The fastest way to push a mass update to Luckey's gaming audience is by updating the PC gaming software. PCs are constantly being upgraded, and the games played on them can do the same because of that.
When developing games outside of VR, PCs offer programmers more processing power and higher quality graphics to work with, according to Forbes. Faster processing power, along with the overall sophistication of a PC, keep these machines at the front of groundbreaking gaming technology. Now, more than ever, gaming on PCs is more accessible, affordable and flexible.
Modding, or adding user-generated modifications to games, has been a large part of the PC gaming community since its inception. PC games that have been around for decades like Minecraft have a number of user-created modifications created for the game over the years. Without the modifications, the experience of playing the game is drastically different.
"Thanks to the way PCs work, you'll even find mods for many games that were never designed with them in mind," Chris Hoffman wrote in Make Use Of. "The PC allows for more user-created content and creativity, from maps and tweaks to total overhauls."
Outside of the versatility PC games allow, there are simply more PC owners and more PC games available to users than other systems. Last year, consumers bought 308 million PCs, according to market researcher IDC. With more people owning PCs, there's a wider gaming audience for them. Websites like Steam, Humble Bundle and Good Old Games make it easy for users to download a wide selection of games straight to their computers.
Online gaming sites like Steam also offer gamers an immediate community. Right now, there are over 7 million gamers logged into Steam alone. Once you sign on to one of these gaming sites and start downloading, you're instantly connected to thousands of people playing alongside you.
While gaming technology expands to new platforms, PCs are still the preferred place to play games today. From the sheer number of games available to the flexibility these games allow users, PCs continue to lead the gaming community.