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50 years of PC vs console gaming revenue visualized, PC maintains lead over consoles!

PC games have generated more revenue than console games for the past 10 years, but mobile dwarfs them both.

(Image credit: Visual Capitalist)

Visual Capitalist recently released an infographic and article showcasing the market share of video game revenue, scaled to the massive success of mobile gaming at $101 billion in 2022. PC and console, meanwhile, were at $45 billion and $30 billion, respectively— and data available in charts at the source reveals PC revenues outstripping consoles since 2013. 

If the PC lead held into 2023, it would mean PCs have enjoyed a solid ten years, trouncing consoles in gaming revenues. That said, the same data also reflects a mobile gaming revenue lead since 2009, at $18 billion to PC's $17 billion and console's $25 billion of the time.

Mind you, this is a measure of revenue, not necessarily unit sales. For example, it most likely includes MMOs like World of Warcraft (2004) and live service games with or without functioning economies, like Team Fortress 2 (2007, live service since 2010), in its calculations. And yes, both of those games still run today — TF2 is still in Steam's Top 24 Most-Played in 2023, and both titles receive semi-frequent updates from their developers.

Unit sales aren't bad on PC either, though. On Steam alone, over 14.5 thousand games were launched in 2023, and Steam revenue has been estimated at $9 billion in 2020 by itself. Even consoles have also seen a fair surge in 2023, following the release of many AAA and AA games delayed by the pandemic. This includes the likes of Final Fantasy XVI (2023) and Spider-Man 2 (2023) on PlayStation 5, especially.

While we typically focus on PC and console gaming at Tom's Hardware, it's impossible to look at this infographic and not remark on the status of the mobile gaming market. 

Beyond the Free To Play and microtransactions for ad-removal or playtime models adopted by the majority of mobile games in the 2010s, pushing closer to the 2020s has also seen "gacha games" rise from a mostly Japanese thing to a global sensation. Of 2023's Top 10 Grossing Mobile Games, two of them are gacha titles from Mihoyo, the developer of Genshin Impact (2020).

While there's no end to debate around game publishers, developers, and business models, the statistics show that the industry is relatively least, in terms of revenue. These numbers by themselves can't reflect the realities of an industry with AAA players that regularly perform mass layoffs after successful game releases. Reports suggest that, somehow, not even Spider-Man 2 (2023) broke even.

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