Just how big is the industry that we love? Well, according to market research firm DFC Intelligence, it's pretty damn big…and it's only going to get bigger. Their latest series of reports indicates that the worldwide gaming market (including consoles, PC, and online) is expected to grow from a current value of around $33 billion to as much as $47 billion by 2009. (source: Gamasutra) That's only two years, friends.

While PC software likely won't be driving the boom, they do believe the PC market will grow to over $13 billion by 2012 thanks mostly to online games revenue, including subscriptions, advertising and digital distribution. Handhelds are also expected to go through the roof (as if they're not already), and to be more specific, DFC analyst David Cole said-

“Revenue from portable game software has more than doubled in recent years and we think that the Nintendo DS could eventually become the best selling game system ever in five years."

That wouldn't surprise any of us, at this point. As for the home console market they're a little less straightforward, due mostly to the fact there are three prominent competing players. The DFC offers three different scenarios based on altering performances by the PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii, but overall, they do believe we'll see a significant increase in cumulative worldwide sales for all three systems, with total sales hitting between 180 and 210 million units by 2012. That's more than the total registered during the PS2 era, by the way.

And finally, the last interesting tidbit is that while the DFC has raised their forecasts for the PS3 and Wii, they've lowered them for the Xbox 360. "The Xbox 360 will need to build a strong base outside North America to avoid being in a fairly distant third," says Cole, who also predicts the Wii will maintain its stranglehold on first place at least throughout 2008. After that, the PS3 is expected to "come into its own." In the end, we have more reports, and while some may disagree with the console outlook, everybody should be able to agree on one thing: the games market is going nowhere but up. Fast.

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