PC Gaming Is Growing Dramatically In Australia

Today the IGEA and Bond University released its annual Digital Australia report, which takes an in-depth look into what we're playing, who's playing and why we're playing. It's a comprehensive survey into our gaming habits and every year we seem to find out something new and interesting.

This year, for me, it's all about the dramatic growth of PC gaming.

Consider this: according to the survey in 2013 only 53% of people reported using their PC to play video games. In 2015? 83% of people reported using their PCs for video games. That is a dramatic, dramatic increase. Console gaming on the other hand is completely static: 63% were using consoles to play in 2013 and 63% were using consoles in 2015. Tablets and mobiles saw growth — but you'd expect to see that. Only 'handheld' gaming was on the decline, from 22% to 15%.

Here's what the report said with regards to PC gaming:

PCs have undergone a resurgence for game play over the past two years in response to the growth of new content delivered online. Nevertheless, mobile devices such as phones and tablets have increased their presence for games over the same period. Moreover, despite the competition for player attention, consoles have remained as popular as two years ago while only dedicated game handhelds have declined in use.

But I think there might be more to it than that. I see it as a combination of a number of things. The growth of Steam as a service has been a big deal: lower prices, lower barriers to entry. I think this has had an impact. I've never been much of a 'PC gamer' but I'm using Steam far more often than I used — mostly because there's a broader choice of experiences on the services. Unique games, niche games.

The growth of games like League of Legends, Dota and World of Tanks has to be part of the shift. These games are huge and they're bringing in a different type of audience.

Whatever the reason, it's an interesting shift.

The major focus of the study seems to be on how older people are using games. The tagline for this year is 'video games mature for education, health and ageing'. One of my favourite statistics: more and more women play video games the older they get. There's an upward trend as women move into their 70s and 80s — both in casual and what the survey calls 'in-depth' play. I think that's fantastic.

Another cool statistic: 50% of Australians have watched games being played online, either livestreams or video game walkthroughs. Yep, the Let's Play thing is here to stay.

You can check out the full report here.


    Was piracy of PC games taken into account?
    Anyone can play PC games for free if they choose and this may skew the results.

    Still, the price of a PC game is a lot cheaper than the console version.

      I think Steam (/origin/GoG) has done for gaming what Spotify or Netflix does for music or TV. It's made it simple and cheap to access games legally. I think PC piracy is likely dropping off as Steam becomes more popular.
      There's always going to be people who pirate games (and movies, and music), but the easier it gets to buy the game legally the more those people are just jerks.

      Last edited 28/07/15 10:06 am

        Whilst I think you make good points, I would have thought Steam was already *quite* popular in 2013...

      Unlikely - the report has been coming out regularly for the past few years. Such a spike would not be caused by piracy, especially when services like Steam make PC gaming easy and affordable.

      I don't have any facts to back me up on this, but I would of thought since the introduction of Steam the rate of people pirating PC games might have slowed if anything. Early 2000's most of my PC games were purchased from the local market, now Steam.

        Massively for me. Also steam has introduced me to loads and loads of games I would never have otherwise heard of. Currently Kerbal is eating my life, can't imagine picking that up from EB Games.

        When I was young (like 15 years ago) I used to pirate a lot of PC games. Now I don't pirate anything but that is a combination of Steam, good pricing and maturity to know it was wrong to pirate these games, music etc.
        I think people as a whole (GabeN said this) are willing to pay if the price is good and it is the easiest means to get the product.
        Hence the success of iTunes, Bandcamp, Netflix etc etc

      Anyone can play 360 and PS3 (I know, I know, they're last gen consoles :p ) games for free if they choose to.

      I'm just kidding, btw

      Last edited 28/07/15 10:18 am

      I think it is partially due to us getting constantly screwed by the multinationals in the console environment...

    My computer was mid-range several years ago and is holding up very well. We're no longer in a graphics arms race where people need to keep dropping money into gaming PCs to be able to play the latest and greatest. You can do that, and many people do so that they can have the shiniest of shiny graphics, but it's not necessary.

    On top of that, indie games are continuing to flourish. There are so many cheap, low spec titles that people are happy to check out.

    It's a good time to be a PC gamer.

      Yeah thats right, I have an average system with a 3 year old cpu and 2 year old gpu that were mid range at the time and still plays all the latest releases in 1080/60p with high to ultra settings. The high end hardware now really only seems necessary for higher resolution or frame rate monitors.

      Yeah. A GTX 750 ti is still a perfectly acceptable gaming card. And they are what, $190?

        Im still on a gtx680 for battlefield. it chugs along fine at 120hz average @1080p with a few of the more taxing settings turned down.

        Although i have bitten the bullet on a new 980 ti strix and a rog pg279Q monitor to match which should see me happily for another 2 or 3 years before i do a major upgrade.

        My origional pc build was upwards of 3k at the time but with the amount of playtime/worktime ive got out of it it would be mere cents per hour. I see nothing wrong with an entertainment investment like that i dont think.

        Last edited 28/07/15 2:14 pm

          I'm still on a i7920 and 560ti sli!!!
          Can still play new releases. obviously not in ultra any more but still good enough.

          The biggest think for me has been the second tier games like dayz, rust, ARK: Survival Evolved etc. All work on mid tier gear.

      I think you've hit the nail on the head with this.

    I like watching let's plays as long as there is zero commentary because 90% of all lets plays that have commentary are by people who have an annoying voice.

    All hail the glorious PC master race.

    But wait, what about all those people telling us PC gaming is dying/dead?

    Man, I can't wait until we get some great new games made by Australian game developers... wait... where did they all go? There used to be heaps of them, now there's only a handful... :(

      I completed Hand of fate last night and if you haven't played it then it is well taking a look

        Haha, Hand of Fate is the only game I have ever played during Early Access. I saw them at PAX a couple of years ago and started provided them feedback on it after I picked it up.

        The people at the studio were genuinely cool people and really passionate about the game and their gamers.

        Genuinely great game.

    Mark, Haven't you seen all the other Click Bait articles saying the PC is dying!! Get on bored the death train brah! :P

    Last edited 28/07/15 11:23 am

    I know this is super not-with-the-times...but I STILL can't bring myself to see the average 45yr old mum who has a go at Angry Birds on her iPhone every now and then, as a proper gamer. I feel like basically everyone has done SOME kind of game on their phone at some point, and would tick the "oh yes, I guess i have played the video games' box in surveys. Sure there's more 'regular' games in phones now as well, so it muddies the waters somewhat...but yeah. The whole 'casual' game thing is really a catch all thing to me.

    Ok, I'll go back to shaking my fist at kids on my front lawn now...

      I get what you mean. I doubt that the 'snake' enthusiasts of the good ol' Nokia 5110 days were ever ticking those boxes in surveys in 2001.

    There may be more to these numbers - the number of households with PCs may not have increased, but the number of people counted may have.
    Brain wants to reverse engineer the numbers from all these little clues on the report.

    that "50% of Australians watching a game online" statistic, that can't be right - in my extended family of 20 adults, 8 kids - I'm the only one that would watch a Twitch stream or YouTube walkthrough. I didn't include my grandparents in that either. Seems too high.

      I was pretty surprised by that, but if you think about it, if 83% are PC gaming (in whatever way) and 63% are console gaming, it's not a stretch that the majority of folks that fall into either of those categories to have conceivably watched a youtube vid once to see how someone else did something or wanted to know how a game played before purchasing etc.

      Maybe they thought the question was asking if they were ever in the same room as someone who was playing online and looked at their screen. "Yes, I've watched someone play online."

    meanwhile pc games are broken and console ports, isn't pc gaming the best?

    I can imagine this trend will only continue over the next decade or so as the VR/AR market matures and transitions to primetime (something which I don't think will necessarily be spearheaded by the games industry, but that's another conversation). While consoles are capable of running current pre-market technology at a reasonably acceptable level, their static spec makes them a poor platform choice for what will be a rapidly evolving technology. On top of that, PC is also a more accessible platform from a development and product marketing standpoint, which would put it at the cutting edge of software innovation in that area as well.

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