Industry trade group the PC Gaming Alliance (PCGA) today reported the global PC games market reached a record $18.6 billion in 2011, representing overall growth of 15 percent over 2011, a significant portion of which is due to the popularity of free-to-play games.

The upward trend was led by China, which grew 27 percent to reach 2011 revenue of $6 billion. No market showed a decline in overall PC game revenue however, with the mature game markets of Korea, Japan, the U.S., the U.K. and Germany together recording increased revenue of 11 percent in 2011 to $8 billion

Prepared for PCGA members by market research firm DFC Intelligence, the PCGA’s Horizons 2011 report found particular highlights of 2011 were massively multiplayer subscription titles like Rift (from Trion World Network) and Star Wars: The Old Republic (from Electronic Arts). Other PC gaming highlights included Battlefield 3, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Assassin’s Creed: Revelations.

Looking forward, the report forecasts that the PC game business will continue upward by 37 percent to approximately $25.5 billion by 2015, driven by increased access to broadband and continually improving digital distribution delivery solutions and payment methods.

Speaking at the Game Developers Conference 2012, Matt Ployhar, PCGA president and Intel analyst, said, “While reports of gaming sales at retail show signs of struggle, the impact hasn’t been as great for PC gaming, which had an earlier adoption of newer formats, business models and delivery.”

Noting the December IPOs of Zynga and Nexon at a valuation of around $7 billion each, Ployhar added, “Not only investment dollars, but real revenue and profits, are now being generated solely from purely digital business models, formats and delivery.”

Related links:

Press release –

Star Wars: The Old Republic