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Is There a Market for PC Sports Games?



As a PC gamer, the library of sports games available could be best described as abysmal. The only AAA title for those who don’t have a PlayStation, Xbox, or Nintendo console would be the FIFA series, NBA 2K series, or other outdated – irrelevant titles. Are there enough PC gamers who would be willing to buy and play games such as Madden 17, or NHL 17?

A detailed look at the sales of major EA titles may uncover some of the mystery as to why a PC gamer can’t play Madden 17, or perhaps just deepen the mystery further. FIFA has sold over 100 million copies throughout the years, according to its Wikipedia page, making it the best selling sports franchise in the world. Madden is close behind it, also selling over 100 million copies since the series started in 1988. Sales for FIFA 17 were mostly dominated by console users, as roughly 7% sold to PC users and 93% of the sales were for a console according to Although an exact figure is elusive, it can be assumed that FIFA will sell more than 5 million copies per year. That means PC sales could be projected in the ballpark of 21 million dollars (feel free to check my math on that). This makes it seem like EA is missing out on more than just pocket change by not porting their other games to PC; there is a cost to porting a game however.

It would be impossible to determine an exact cost to port a game to PC, but perhaps the cost isn’t the issue here.


How much does it actually cost for a company to port a game over to PC that was designed specifically for a console? Unfortunately, more than one would think. There is a lot more than just mapping controls to a keyboard and mouse to make a game work on a PC. A game has to be able to communicate with the hardware it’s running on to be optimized. If a game isn’t optimized properly, even a high powered gaming machine will have problems running a modern game. That being said, the actual cost to port a game over to PC is almost impossible to determine. Best guesses put it around one million or more as a general number. The possible range of cost, however, is quite extreme. For some games, it wouldn’t cost hardly anything; for other games that may have a harder time being optimized to fit a wider variety of hardware companies can expect to spend millions of dollars for a decent port.

It would be impossible to determine an exact cost (or even come up with a partially accurate guess) to port a game to PC. Perhaps the cost isn’t the issue here. Remember, EA has to release an NHL, NFL, FIFA, and other sports games on a yearly cycle. It could simply be that they feel they don’t have the time to port all their games to PC. Instead of trying to get all their games available for PC, they only port their best-selling title.


Von Miller wants to play as himself on a PC; you can see it clearly in his eyes here

All of these numbers aside, look at a more practical side of things. Would an American Football or Hockey game even control well enough to still be fun on a PC? Most PC gamers have a controller to use when a keyboard and mouse fall short, but not all have that luxury. There could be a working setup where instead of keyboard and mouse controls the user would just use two hands on the keyboard to simulate a D-pad and four button controller input, but this seems like it would make an incommodious style of play.

PC sales could be projected in the ballpark of 21 million dollars [for FIFA 17]


With all of the information under the scope, it is reasonable to see why EA decides not to port all of their sports games to PC. That being said, it is impossible to deny that they would make money off of the endeavor. Theoretically, they could make as much as 20 million for Madden games alone yearly. Put NHL on top of that and it’s hard to see why EA doesn’t cash in. It’s difficult to imagine that it could cost them more than what they could make to produce a PC version of their games.

Is there a market for sports games on a PC platform? Yes. Will EA look to PC for further installments of their sports franchises? No, they won’t. It isn’t a matter of if they will make money or not, or how well the games would control on a PC. The reason why they don’t, or won’t, produce their games on a PC is an executive somewhere along the line wrote off the idea and that is the end of that. That seems about as likely of a reason as any other. As much as many of us PC gamers want to play NHL 17, or Madden 17 and are willing to pay for it, the option to do so will not be there anytime soon.

What do you think? Is there a reason EA doesn’t release more sports games on the PC? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!


Science fiction, video games, computers, and an assortment of other nerd stuff are all essential to my everyday life. Mass Effect and Star Trek are my favorite franchises to date, but I am always up for playing any game at any given time. I even enjoy writing about them from time to time.