Players and pundits alike have been pointing to NPD figures as an indicator that PC gaming is in a decline compared to console sales. However, as pointed out by Randy Stude, PC Gaming Alliance president and Intel gaming program director in a recent interview, these figures ignored MMO subscription sales, something NPD hadn't been tracking until earlier this year. "And lo and behold, after just a quarter of research, they found -- under a rock that they hadn't looked at before -- a billion dollars."
While Stude was essentially calling for the PC gaming industry to come together to clear up this sort of confusion, there is more at work here than simply saying that PC gaming is hale and healthy based simply on MMO subscription numbers. For one thing, MMOs are merely one arm of the industry, not the industry itself. World of Warcraft alone must count for a significant total of those NPD numbers, not to mention virtual worlds like Club Penguin.