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Newell says Wrath will save PC gamers (as if they needed it)

Gabe Newell, co-founder of Valve (bringer of Half-Life 2), says that the PC gaming industry is waiting excitedly for the release of Wrath of the Lich King to rescue its market.

But, even though I breathlessly await Wrath, I beg to differ with Mr. Newell's comments. I don't think PC gaming is anywhere close to leaving the building, as some so-called experts in the field would have us believe. (Call me cynical, but I'm guessing a lot of those experts came from console manufacturers or optimistic mobile gaming companies.) The trouble with making these kinds of predictions is that there are currently no completely accurate ways of tracking the success of a game except to take press releases on faith. And in that case, you might as well believe the fox's promise to guard the hen-house. (Did you hear clucking? I thought I heard clucking.) Another problem with estimating market share for various games is that you're comparing Mana to Rage: each company can define "sales" and "subscribers" any way they please, making it nearly impossible to come up with clean comparisons of market share.

Blizzard makes approximately $120 million dollars a month. Compare that to Iron Man's opening weekend gross of $109 million. Blizzard beats that number every month, not just with one summer blockbuster per year. Also consider that most PC retailers have devoted entire sections of their hardware floors to gaming PCs. This devotion goes all the way up to the hardware manufacturers themselves. When I worked at Toshiba, we had a product manager whose sole job was to create and improve gaming laptops. (Oh, how I envied that guy!) Yes, Blizzard's release of the Wrath expansion will juice the market, but it's more like an injection of steroids, not administration of last rites.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Expansions, Wrath of the Lich King, Hardware

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