Perk up a bit, fellow PC gamers! Despite some rather disappointing news coming from the darker side of our sector of the industry, comfort yourself in the knowledge that at least some folks are doing well for themselves without succumbing to the allure of the console toys. Who am I talking about? Obviously, I’m talking about Valve.
A recent Forbes profile of Valve founder and gatling gun blacksmith Gabe Newell noted that Valve, thanks to its Steam digital distribution platform, was “tremendously profitable”, with an estimated 2010 revenue in the “high hundreds of millions of dollars”. Though it doesn’t release financial reports, Valve itself is allegedly valued at two to four billion dollars.
Wait, what? That’s not a whole lot in the world of big corporations. Google is worth an estimated $192 billion, and Apple a whopping $300 billion. The trick is in perspective! For running a platform that controls up to 70% of the PC game download market (which recently passed retail sales for overall revenue), Valve only employs 250 people. That’s a fraction of a fraction of Google and Apple’s corporate population. So, taken on a per-employee basis, Valve is worth more. Clever!
All that said, the PC gaming market is still smaller than the console market, making up just 8% of the $50 billion industry. Plus, publishers make a much larger margin per sale on PC games via Steam versus retail, roughly 70% versus 30%. AND, for better or worse, gamers can’t sell PC games back onto the used market, eliminating that publisher annoyance.
Long story short, PC gaming is hardly “dead”. But PC gamers knew that already. We’re cool like that.
Master of Online Mayhem [Forbes]