Disruption in the PC store space in 2019 “contributed to lower overall spending,” says NPD analyst

By Sherif Saed
24 January 2020 14:30 GMT

Platform wars on PC last year were part of why players didn’t spend as much money on games compared to previous years.

NPD analyst Mat Piscatella, who specialises in reporting on the business of the industry, has revealed that PC spending declined in 2019 due to a number of factors.

One of them being the disruption the PC market saw with the arrival of Epic Games Store, and the effect it had on the rest of the market. According to Piscatella, PC stores did not prioritise the store experience and player choice, which caused some to spend less money on games.

“The great PC distribution platform wars of 2019 did not do consumer spending on PC content any favors [by the way],” Piscatella said on Twitter.

“Priorities of enhancing consumer experience & choice and minimizing confusion were all deemphasized in 2019, contributing to lower overall consumer spend on PC content.”

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When asked, Piscatella pointed out that this isn’t necessarily the fault of Epic Games, just the general disruption in the market that created some confusion.

“PC content sales were down in 2019. Data suggest to me that all the movement with [distribution] platforms contributed to that, as did a number of other factors,” he explained in a follow-up tweet.

“I wouldn’t point to a single platform. PC was a rocky market in [2019] with quite a bit of disruption.”

It’s worth keeping in mind that while the Epic Games Store was a key player in this war, Epic’s initiative encouraged other publishers to break away from Steam – even if just temporarily. Ubisoft’s 2019 games did not release on Steam, and Red Dead Redemption 2 – one of the year’s most anticipated games, came to Steam one month after other platforms.

With that said, 2019 also saw Bethesda renew its commitment to remaining on Steam, while managing its own store on the side. EA, for the first time in a decade, returned to Steam.

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