PC gaming has long been hailed as the ultimate form of the entertainment medium, with the ability to quickly upgrade the hardware always allowing players to experience titles in their best possible forms.
However, this premium angle and the very nature of PC gaming, compared to its contemporaries, makes its high-end format the least accessible. Mouse and keyboard controls, at least initially, are far less intuitive than console controllers or touch-screen controls, and the top-tier hardware is far more expensive than even the most costly home console.
Of course, PCs are multifunctional, and these costs are ratified by the greatly enhanced experience, but it’s impossible to deny that these factors have stopped people from turning to computer gaming. Even with this being the case, though, the PC gaming sector is worth over $35 billion globally, with its market value tipped to exceed $46 billion by the middle of this decade.
This predicted growth, somewhat surprisingly, isn’t primarily being driven by the most expensive kit. It might just be that the cheaper, low-cost, rewarding, and accessible platforms are what are helping to expand the audience. After all, not all games require the latest hardware, nor do all of the most popular cost $70 to play.
Getting people into gaming through user-friendly platforms
As is the case with most entertainment mediums, particularly sports, people need to have a relatively easy way to experience the content to know if they want to commit fully. It’s the same with gaming, and for decades, an entry-level way to play has been browser gaming. While perhaps not as hailed as it once was, browser gaming is still going strong today to offer exciting bouts of fun free of charge, all while being accessible to just about any computer.
Sites like Slither.io, BrowserQuest, and Kongregate remain popular choices for quick, instant gaming on PCs. All that players have to do is type in the URL, click on a game tile, and all of a sudden, they’re gaming. While the classics remain popular, new browser games have come a long way over the years, and so offer an easy to access and enjoyable experience, perhaps encouraging people to look at higher-tier creations.
The capacity of browser-based gaming continues to improve, which has allowed for a rather expansive scene of online casinos, all offering hundreds of slots, specialist live-streamed table games, and new game shows. To help their accessibility, due to the very nature of these pay-to-play games, many trusted sites offer user-friendly casino bonuses. Some of these bonuses even offer cashback to be appealing to modern internet users.
Even the big-name launchers are using free titles to their advantage
While hardware and software prices are what most people would think of as explanations for the gaming industry earning so much money globally, it’s actually the free game business models that tend to excel – especially in PC gaming. It was found that computers are the most lucrative segment for in-game purchases, with PC microtransactions, mostly within free games but also thanks to DLC, outdoing mobile microtransactions.
This prevalence of accessible gaming can be seen on the PC titan platform Steam, with Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Apex Legends, Destiny 2, DOTA 2, War Thunder, and Star Wars: The Old Republic all charting highly and being free to play. These all rely on in-game purchases for revenue, but as they’re free, anyone can enjoy much of the gameplay experience, missing out on some content, though, if they decide not to pay.
In fact, the space for accessible high-end gaming has improved even further in recent years. The hailed creators of the Gears of War trilogy and the popular powerful game engine that so many other developers use, Epic Games, barged onto Steam’s turf a couple of years ago. To make a stand against the near-monopoly, Epic didn’t just offer free-to-play games, such as Fortnite: they offered full-priced games for free. To this day, the platform continues to offer several games for free each month to those with an account (which is also free).
Of course, PC gaming isn’t only being powered by the free-to-play titles and offers, with it undoubtedly offering the highest tier of gaming experience. This is epitomized by the rapid adoption of the latest premium tech, virtual reality gear. While there are more cost-effective forms, the Valve Index managed to sell over 100,00 units at the end of 2019 despite its gigantic kit price that exceeds $1,000.
Still, for many people, it’s the offers and the opportunity to play games for free that get them into the new-age scene, with classy and accessible titles paving the way for the top-tier, big-hitting releases on PC.