A new report by analyst firm DFC Intelligence has claimed that the total worldwide market for both online gaming subscriptions and the trade of virtual in-game items will surpass $13 billion by the year 2012.
Of that amount, content downloaded via games consoles will account for $1 billion, with 40 per cent of the total figure coming from virtual item sales.
"For PC games, digital distribution is expected to become the leading business model in East Asia," the report stated. "The video game console systems are expected to see strong growth in digital distribution and by 2012."
MMORPGs currently account for over half of the total online revenues, but DFC predicts that genres such as FPS, racing and sports will grab an increasingly large slice of the market.