Refined Business Models and Targeted Content Help Drive Online PC Gaming Adoption, IDC Says

FRAMINGHAM, MA – OCTOBER 1, 2003 – The U.S. online PC gaming market has been sparked by a number of factors, including a widening demographic of gamers and the continuing penetration of broadband. But a broader scope of content and more highly – refined business models, such as delivering downloadable games for a fee, will legitimize this once fledgling market. According to a new study from IDC, revenues derived from the purchase of downloadable games will increase from $52.7 million in 2003 to more than $760 million in 2007.

"After years of experimentation and evolution, the online PC gaming industry is closer than ever to reaching substantial and ongoing profits," said Schelley Olhava, program manager, Interactive Consumer Services and Consumer Devices at IDC. "From serious gamers playing RPGs (role playing games) such as Everquest and Ultima Online to casual gamers playing pool or poker and everything in between, gaming has become a viable and mainstream online entertainment activity."

The rise in popularity of online PC gaming is driving significant change in the industry and at this point, practically any genre of game can be found to fit the various interests, desires, and skill sets of the connected gaming population.

Key Findings

The downloadable gaming model can be very profitable, quickly creating a lucrative income stream.

Downloadable game markets may reach saturation, hitting the limit of gamers that will pay to download.

Subscription-based gaming services must provide superior content and service to limit customer churn.

Advertising and sponsorship remain the bread and butter of casual game sites.

This study, U.S. Online PC Gaming Forecast and Analysis, 2003-2007: Not Just Playing Around Anymore (IDC #30098),

examines the online PC gaming market in several components. It looks at the state of today's market, including a contrast between serious games and casual games and a discussion of business models. It also provides an analysis of the challenges facing both the serious and casual game segments. It then provides a forecast that includes gamer populations, downloadable games, and industry revenue (based on subscriptions, paid downloads, and advertisement/sponsorship revenue). The study concludes with a brief discussion on the future role of broadband in online PC games.

To purchase this document, call IDC's sales hotline at 508-988-7988 or email

About IDC

IDC is the premier global market intelligence and advisory firm in the information technology and telecommunications industries. We analyze and predict technology trends so that our clients can make strategic, fact-based decisions on IT purchases and business strategy. Over 700 IDC analysts in 50 countries provide local expertise and insights on technology markets. Business executives and IT managers have relied for 40 years on our advice to make decisions that contribute to the success of their organizations.

IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world’s leading technology media, research, and events company. Additional information can be found at

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