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Resurgence of PC gaming may threaten consoles

PlayerUnknown's Battleground is an online PC game that has seen more than 10 million downloads since March

With the prominence of consoles over the past few years, personal computers had been lacking behind in terms of gaming. However, personal computers are now enjoying a recovery in the gaming sector, with the aid of popularity of e-sports, customizable machines and quicker software releases.

At this week’s Tokyo Game Show, there will be a main-stage tournament for PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, an online mega-hit survival PC game, that has seen its downloads go above the 10 million mark since March. Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One consoles rule the roost as they head into their fifth years, while Nintendo’s Switch is in a dormant position, until new games are released for the Christmas shopping season.

According to reports, the spending on gaming-ready PC rigs are on the pathway to increase at an average of 6.6% per annum till 2020, while the gaming market as a whole is expected to decline by 3.8% yearly. The revenue from PC games will increase by 3-4% over the coming years, while the console-game sales are not expected to rise by much.

After being written off years ago for being too expensive, bulky and slow for gamers, gaming PCs are making a comeback, that could even pose as a big threat to consoles.

According to a Japanese gaming head employee, the ever-increasing number of games and popularity of e-sports is attracting a lot of excitement to PC gaming.

Even though consoles have dominated the gaming market in Japan, their long development chains and long release dates for new titles frustrate gamers, who want to quickly get their hands on new games. Moreover, the consoles also do not offer better graphic and cheaper online networks for multiplayer gaming.

PC gaming is on the rise, after it was taken over by console gaming

PlayerUnknown’s Battleground, more famously known as PUBG in the gaming community, was released on PC six months ago through early-access. After that, the game has seen more than 10 million downloads of it and has achieved a unique record for the most concurrent gamers on Steam, going past well-known games including Minecraft, League of Legends or Counter-Strike. Moreover, gamers are also attracted to buy PCs just to play PUBG, an idea which is more commonly seen in the console market.

On the other hand, console manufacturing giants Sony and Microsoft have not undermined the threat posed by PC gaming. Last year, both firms launched upgraded version of their consoles to stop gamers to migrate to PCs. Moreover, consoles are priced way less than PCs, and have the advantage of a range of exclusive games that force the user to stick with the consoles.

Moreover, the console market is also comparatively larger, with Sony revealing a stat of 18 million PlayStation units sold in the year through March, while Nintendo also forecasts 10 million unit sales for its Switch. In comparison, the whole PC gaming-rig sales are expected to be about 7 million units this year.

Moreover, in June, Microsoft announced a deal which would see the release of PUBG on Xbox, by the end of this year. On the other hand, Sony has not yet revealed when a version of the game will be available on its PS4. Meanwhile, the demanding graphics of the game makes it unlikely to be released on Nintendo’s Switch.

Another reason behind the resurgence of PC games is the laptops. With graphic chips reducing in size, and better cooling systems and battery features, some laptops now offer performances that can rival desktop PCs, also enabling gamers to play outside their houses, offices or living rooms. Moreover, famous gaming notebook builder, Micro-Star International Co. has seen their sales double from gaming notebooks in Japan, every year since 2014.

The Tokyo Game Show, which will be open to the public on Saturday and Sunday, will also see Japanese game-makers, who made their name by selling on consoles also showing a change in the trend. Square Enix Holdings Co. is likely to reveal their new game Left Alive on PC and PS4 at the same time in 2018. Just like that, Konami Holdings Corp.’s Metal Gear Survive will also see a simultaneous release on PC and PS4 in the coming year.

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