Having more PC game clients hurt game sales in 2019 says NPD analyst

Written by Neil Soutter on Sat, Jan 25, 2020 2:00 PM

The battle of the PC clients has not benefited spending on the platform during 2019, according to analyst Mat Piscatella.

Epic’s arrival on the scene was, obviously enough, extremely divisive. The additional competition it provided was seen as a potential benefit for the PC gaming industry, particularly considering Valve’s overall dominance. Epic’s big selling point to the industry was a bigger cut for game developers on the Epic Games Store. However, it would appear the wider choice in game stores and greater competition hasn’t translated to a greater spend from PC gamers - quite the opposite, in fact.

“The great PC distribution platform wars of 2019 did not do consumer spending on PC content any favors by the way,” said Piscatella on Twitter. “Priorities of enhancing consumer experience & choice and minimizing confusion were all deemphasized in 2019, contributing to lower overall consumer spend on PC content.”

Piscatella is a video game industry analyst who works for The NPD Group, the de facto official trackers of video game sales in North America.

It’s really hard to pull any affirmative data from his standpoint but there are certainly signs that Epic’s aggressive tactics to expand its user base wasn’t necessarily a huge benefit to the health of the PC gaming industry. Piscatella will have access to whole swathes of data on sales figures, although even NPD Group will have incomplete data sets. However, Piscatella said “PC content sales were down in 2019. Data suggest to me that all the movement with distribution platforms contributed to that, as did a number of other factors. I wouldn't point to a single platform. PC was a rocky market in '19 with quite a bit of disruption.”

The Epic Game Store is the obvious standout here. A number of big titles were snapped up with exclusivity deals on the storefront. This would’ve undoubtedly led to lower sales than a concurrent Steam release. Epic also gave away more than 70 games for free. Far from Epic making PC a more profitable platform for PC developers, it actually ensured it’s never been easier to play on PC without spending a single penny. 

Outside of this, it could be argued that 2019 lacked big tentpole PC releases. Red Dead Redemption 2 came in at the tail end of the year, of course, while Call of Duty: Modern Warfare likely had a strong start. Outside of this though, there was a distinct lack of commercial smash hits (such as Fortnite and PUBG in 2018), all of which could've resulted in this decline in consumer spending.

Do you think you spent less than normal on games in 2019?

Login or Register to join the debate

Rep
38
Offline
11:30 Jan-26-2020

I can see that, personally I would've given Metro Exodus and Borderlands 3 a shot if they weren't Epic exclusive.

3
Rep
81
Offline
admin approved badge
05:28 Jan-26-2020

I'm certain that I would have bought Metro Exodus, Anno 1800 and The Outer Worlds if they didn't become exclusives. Instead, I did get to play two of them on XGP... for ONE DOLLAR. Well, I don't see what the problem is. Didn't Swooney say he already "paid for my copy"?

1
Rep
7
Offline
02:10 Jan-26-2020

Not many interesting titles. My most played 2019 game was Satisfactory. I'm mostly singleplayer gamer so these couple of years are bad for me, most money is in battle royale online games or DOTA/LOL clone.

1
Rep
7
Offline
02:18 Jan-26-2020

Also forgot to mention my computer is starting to be a crap . I'm saving my money and waiting for good deals on PC parts so I can switch to 1440p gaming.

1
Rep
59
Offline
admin approved badge
23:17 Jan-25-2020

Main reason for me is the games have been severely lacking for the past two or so years in my opinion. I have no issue with launchers as I primarily use steam or GOG with one or two games on Origin and Uplay at any given time.

0
Rep
76
Offline
admin approved badge
22:56 Jan-25-2020

I don't think I spend much less. Multitude of launchers never stopped me. Even before Epic I bought quite a lot of games on GOG. Not to mention publisher specific launchers. I guess my spending really depends on amount of interesting games that come out. I will go where games are, they just have to be worth buying for me.

0
Rep
45
Offline
admin approved badge
21:14 Jan-25-2020

I did spend less on PC games but I don't think that's only because of Epic. Not a lot came out last year that got me interested, I just played my backlog.

0
Rep
60
Offline
19:26 Jan-25-2020

Yes epic crap games saved me quite a bit of money and by the looks of it it might in 2020 too.

1
Rep
28
Offline
17:07 Jan-25-2020

Depends on the games dont really care what it on. If the game is good i´ll buy it.

3
Rep
15
Offline
admin approved badge
15:55 Jan-25-2020

The thing is that you have to know where you buy! G2A perfect place to get games much cheaper then in stores off game clients.


Since fiscal disk (Do i say this good? ) are not popular anymore never have buy the full price of a game. But now days its easy to buy also DLC so i spent the same amount of money always.

0
Rep
8
Offline
15:19 Jan-25-2020

When you grow up you spend less money on games and you play less. Also some times games are just not fun...

11
Rep
1
Offline
15:24 Jan-25-2020

Sadly true...

1
Rep
94
Offline
19:45 Jan-25-2020

I remember imagining that I could play the best pc games like GTA Vice City or something like 18 wheels of steel on my PSP in bed. Now that it is possible and that there are (actually used to be) good mobile games, I am not interested anymore really. Phone games are all infected with micro transactions, paid games are rarely to be found. For the PC, there are a lot of games and I still haven't finished all games I want to play that are in my inventory. It's like watching series at a slow pace. No need to buy games at launch

0
Rep
17
Offline
14:59 Jan-25-2020

Yes, but launchers were not the reason. It was kinda disappointing year for games and there is also xbox game pass for PC which saved me at least 120$.

2
Rep
60
Offline
14:19 Jan-25-2020

No, but I wasn't planning on buying any of the games that went exclusive with epic games anyway. (Except for maybe rdr2 which I bought a month later on steam. But if they release new AC on uplay / egs only I might get it in some legal way because I got the whole collection on steam and don't want it somewhere else.

0

Can They Run... |

| 60FPS, Low, 1080p
Core i7-9750H 6-Core 2.6GHz GeForce GTX 1650 Mobile 16GB
| 60FPS, Medium, 1080p
Core i5-4690 3.5GHz Radeon RX 580 Sapphire Nitro+ 8GB 16GB
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Ryzen 5 2600 GeForce RTX 2060 Super 8GB 16GB
Ryzen 5 2600X 6-Core 3.6GHz GeForce RTX 2060 6GB 16GB
80% Yes [5 votes]
| 30FPS, Low, 720p
Core i7-7500U 2-Core 2.7GHz GeForce 940MX 2GB 16GB
100% Yes [2 votes]
Core i5-4590 3.3GHz GeForce GTX 1650 12GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1440p
Core i5-10400F 6-Core 2.90GHz GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Inno3D Twin X2 11GB 16GB
33.3333% Yes [3 votes]
Core i3-9100F 4-Core 3.6GHz GeForce GTX 1650 Super 4GB 8GB
| 60FPS, Medium, 1440p
Core i3-9100F 4-Core 3.6GHz GeForce GTX 1650 Super 4GB 8GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
Ryzen 3 3100 4-Core 3.6GHz GeForce GTX 1060 MSI Gaming 3GB 16GB
100% Yes [2 votes]
Ryzen 9 4900HS 8-Core 3.0GHz GeForce RTX 2060 Max-Q 16GB
100% Yes [2 votes]
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Core i7-10700 8-Core 2.90GHz GeForce RTX 2060 6GB 16GB
100% Yes [2 votes]