This IDC study forecasts the online PC gaming market worldwide through 2016. A comparison of the three dominant online PC gaming business models — freemium, prepaid downloads and add-ons, and subscriptions — is used to describe how the market should evolve in the next several years and to identify areas of strength and weakness. The forecast is broken down into North America and the rest of the world and leverages survey data to distinguish key emerging trends.
"Digital ARPPU is trending down most sharply in the subscription business model, but this doesn't mean subscriptions will be gone in five years," says Lewis Ward, research manager of IDC's Gaming Service. "An interesting dynamic has emerged in which AAA/3D online PC gamers in advanced industrial nations in particular seem to appreciate the flexibility of being able to pay a monthly subscription, purchase prepaid downloads, or rely on microtransactions based on their varying interest levels and disposable income constraints."