What does all of this mean for PC gaming?
This means that Valve's business model does not rely upon the game sales alone in order to be successful. Valve cannot and will not hide behind a claim of being a victim of piracy, but rather innovate around it. By decreasing the price of CS:GO to $15 and the price of DOTA 2 to free, they have effectively de-incentivized piracy and at the same time have significantly increased their legitimate audience. By decreasing the price, Valve made CS:GO and DOTA 2 affordable to almost everyone, and as a result of pure economics, their market is expanded. What does this mean? More people are going to buy these games and whenever more people buy a game, computer hardware sales go up, bringing the entire PC gaming industry with it.
There is no doubt that people with old and underpowered computers will buy these two games and likely be happy with the playability they get. However, there is a large audience that will either buy the games for a cheap PC or console, and yearn for the full quality experience, knowing that it is available for a slight increase in investment of their hardware. I cannot tell you how many people I know got into PC gaming at the very bottom of the cost and performance tiers, but eventually got interested enough to start spending more whenever possible to improve their experiences. There is no doubt that these games will be very playable on laptops, even laptops with integrated graphics, but those gaming scenarios will always leave gamers wanting better performance and quality, and that desire will drive PC sales and the PC gaming industry up. This, in addition to the fact that there will not be any new consoles coming out this year or likely during the first half of next year (the Wii U notwithstanding, as it runs on outdated hardware), increases the likelihood that people will start (and continue) to gravitate back to the PC for gaming.
Another aspect of the PC gaming world that most people have long forgotten about is the world of competitive gaming. During the recession, 2008-2010, many advertisers and sponsors of these online gaming leagues discontinued their sponsorship, causing many of them, like CPL, to disappear completely. Since then, the professional world of PC gaming has begun a revival with games like Starcraft 2 and League of Legends. These two games have jump-started the professional gaming circuit in MLG
, and with the introduction of CS:GO and millions of new gamers, there will be an even greater audience involved in this digitally powered economy. Counter-Strike was one of the original games that sparked pro gaming circuits, and there is no doubt that its successor will introduce many new gamers to the professional gaming world. We foresee Counter-Strike: Global Offensive potentially driving Counter-Strike franchise sales well into the 40 million to 50 million unit category, if not more, when one considers that CS:GO will be launching simultaneously on ALL platforms.
If people begin to buy games like CS:GO and DOTA2 purely due to the competitive aspects to the game in the hopes of going pro, there is unlimited potential for growth of both Valve and the PC gaming industry. I believe that we are on the verge of a PC gaming renaissance and we are only just starting to see the changes now.
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