Money made from PC gaming is now greater than on consoles' equivalent thanks to the worldwide appeal of games like "League of Legends" and "Dota 2," according to the owner of industry analysis firm DFC Intelligence.
"The [Multiplayer Online Battle Arena] games 'League of Legends' and 'Dota 2' dominate everything else by an order of magnitude in terms of more usage than other products," DFC Intelligence owner David Cole told industry news website PCR.
MOBA games are typified by the emergence of tight-knit groups containing around three to five players, each controlling one powerful character, as two teams clash in intense, competitive battles.
Generally free to play and underwritten by optional items -- equipment, resources, but usually cosmetic adornments -- the genre's biggest operators put on multi-million-dollar tournaments with professional players flying in to compete, and fans tuning in from all over the world to see who will emerge victorious.
Proof of the MOBA genre's dominance of PC gaming can be seen in the way that DFC's tracking played out in 2013.
"We can say that our top 20 list for 2013 had no titles released that year," with "League of Legends" released in 2009 and "Dota 2" in 2011; both games stem from the original fan-made "Dota" which has been around since 2003.
There was a a shift in the first three months of 2014, however. "We saw three new titles crack the list," explained Cole, "'DayZ,' 'Rust' and 'Hearthstone.'"
"DayZ" is a zombie apocalypse survival game based on a side project created for niche military simulation "Arma II"; "Rust" takes the "DayZ" idea and reshapes it according to the vision of versatile "Garry's Mod" team Facepunch Studios and has certain advantages accordingly; "Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft" is one of several online card games, again generally free to play (with some exceptions) and supplemented by optional extras; its brethren include "Magic: The Gathering," "Duel of Champions" and "The Idolm@ster: Cinderella Girls."
And the emergence of "Hearthstone" demonstrates another new trend in gaming, with more titles playable on both PC and tablet devices, or featuring some form of integration between the two.
"There is a blurring of platforms where it starts to get hard to define what is a PC and what is a mobile device," Cole said. "Hearthstone was a great example of this as it released for both PC and iPad. Not all games fit that model but as we mentioned core gamers now tend to play on multiple devices."
"The big difference is that consoles are now the luxury item and PCs are the necessity. Just a few years ago the reverse was true. This means PCs have the broader audience."