Revenues for video game software around th world and across all platforms -- console, PC, web, and mobile -- will grow from $52 billion in 2011 to $70 billion in 2017, according to new a study.
Market research firm DFC Intelligence admits that new and casual audiences are expanding the industry, but it argues that "core gamers," or male consumers aged 12 to 30 years old, will drive that revenue growth as access and monetization capabilities for that demographic improve.
"Digital distribution, already widely accepted among core gamers globally, is clearly broadening access to products and driving much of the industry growth," says DFC Intelligence CEO David Cole. He expects digitally distributed games to make up 66 percent (46.2 billion) of the game industry's revenues by 2017.
DFC Intelligence also notes that games played on PCs will make up most of that revenue growth, as much as 39 percent (27.3 billion), compared to 36 percent (25.2 billion) for console software and 25 percent for mobile titles (17.5 billion).
The company worked with firms like Xfire, Live Gamer, GamerDNA for the past five years for its study, using data from their respective services for its analysis of global consumer behaviors.
Underlining the importance of digital distribution for core audiences, DFC says the three most popular PC titles in the West according to Xfire -- League of Legends, Diablo III, and Minecraft -- managed to consistently attract as many as one million active daily users despite having little to no retail presence.
The firm also adds that browser and social games need to appeal to core gamers in order to grow its revenues. "The bottom line is core gamers spend money on products they like and right now the game offerings on sites like Facebook are simply not appealing to that demographics," says Cole.