The PC games market grew a lot more than the console games market last year, says research firm

Baldur's Gate 3 screenshot
(Image credit: Larian)

2023 was a "recovery year" for games, according to the market researchers at Newzoo, and the platform that saw the greatest recovery was the PC. Revenue from PC game sales, microtransactions, and subscriptions grew 8.4% over 2022 revenues, says the firm, whereas console game revenues only saw a 0.3% increase, and mobile game revenues shrunk 2.1%.

The console and mobile game markets are still quite a bit bigger than the PC market: Newzoo puts 2023's total mobile gaming revenue at $89.9 billion, console at $52.4 billion, and PC at $39.6 billion.

(Image credit: Newzoo)

These numbers are estimates, and don't include hardware sales, but the closing gap between the PC and console markets certainly aligns with the feeling we've had for years that PC gaming has hit the mainstream. The most talked about game of 2023, Baldur's Gate 3, released on PC first, and console exclusivity FOMO was at an all-time low. 

Newzoo partially attributes the PC's growth to multiplatform publishers continuing to embrace it, and I'm sure we'll see that reflected in this year's estimates, too, as more than half of Helldivers 2 sales have been on PC.

"PC revenues from publicly listed companies were up nearly 9% YoY [year over year]," said Newzoo. "On the private company side, Valve, Epic Games, and miHoYo showed strong performances. We also saw that successful gaming companies pursuing cross-platform strategies acted as a beneficial catalyst for the PC market." 

As exciting as PC gaming feels today, the notion that the industry is recovering from a slump does feel rather abstract given that the big companies keep laying off hundreds of employees at a time. We tallied 16,000 recent layoffs back in February, and that number is already well out of date.

Following the early pandemic boom, Newzoo says that gaming revenue shrank in 2021, stabilized in 2022, and grew by an estimated total of 0.5% in 2023, hence why the year is characterized as a "recovery." The firm cautions, however, that "playtime hours have dropped precipitously" (we touched grass, it seems), and notes that "90% of new game revenue in 2023 … was captured by 43 games."

Tyler Wilde
Executive Editor

Tyler grew up in Silicon Valley during the '80s and '90s, playing games like Zork and Arkanoid on early PCs. He was later captivated by Myst, SimCity, Civilization, Command & Conquer, all the shooters they call "boomer shooters" now, and PS1 classic Bushido Blade (that's right: he had Bleem!). Tyler joined PC Gamer in 2011, and today he's focused on the site's news coverage. His hobbies include amateur boxing and adding to his 1,200-plus hours in Rocket League.