Sony Online Entertainment’s president, John Smedley has rubbished claims that PC gaming is in decline and blamed analysts and industry watchers for having too narrow a focus on retail sales, stating that the industry is moving towards "a different business model."
"It’s ridiculous and foolish to say that PC gaming [is in decline]," Smedley told GameDaily. "I’ve seen some of the dumbest quotes out there about the business [falling apart]. It’s just not true.
Smedley’s comments were in response to Epic’s CEO Tim Sweeney slamming Intel and retailers for declining PC game sales.
"The simple truth is the online business is picking up in a huge way. If you’re able to add in—and NPD is beginning to track this stuff—the digital sales and regular sales and subscription money and all that stuff, the PC gaming industry is at its strongest point in its history period."
He said that the reason why sales have ‘appeared’ to decline is because the people who are meant to monitor the industry have not kept their eyes on the ball.
"I keep reading all this doom and gloom. It’s the same guys that have been telling us for years that mainframes are doomed. If you just look at the actual facts on the ground, World of Warcraft —and I have to give props to our competition here—it sat on top of the PC charts for three years now.
"At some point, and everybody keeps talking about this, but they’re just not realizing that a lot of people’s dollars are going into these online games now and a lot of them you can buy truly digitally, which isn’t getting tracked. It’s as simple as that."
"If you look at the number of people out there playing games like Runescape—11 million active players—or Webkinz or Club Penguin or WoW or EverQuest II… If you just start doing the math on all these games, there’s just a hell of a lot of people out there playing.
"What’s happening though is their playing habits are changing, and they’re going more towards a different business model. It’s not that dollar sales are down; it’s just that retail PC sales are the narrow focus that ignorant people are looking at."