Research company Jon Peddie Research claims 46 percent of dollars spent in 2009 on gaming PC hardware were directed to toward the Enthusiast class. JPR reports expenditures on enthusiast-class gaming hardware were $9.5 billion last year, and expects this will grow to almost $12.5 billion in 2013. This includes all kinds of top-of-the line stuff, including boutique PCs, high-end processors and graphics cards, solid state disks, gaming mice/keyboards, watercooling, speakers, displays, etc.
While total expenditure will continue to increase, JPR estimates the enthusiast class will lose market share to the performance and mainstream classes from 46 percent to 35 percent of dollars spent. One of the reasons for this is that a lot of games are cross-platform, consoles are less powerful than current gaming hardware and cutting-edge is only necessary for the most demanding games.
Ted Pollak, Video Game Industry Analyst for JPR, cites a number of influences for this phenomenon. "PC hardware has caught up to most of the software and people are able to play computationally intensive games on Performance level systems. Performance systems now even support high resolution for all but the most demanding simulations and FPS's. The frequency of Direct X updates is also driving some people toward mid-range GPU's. Some gamers are buying Performance GPUs at a higher refresh rate to engage the latest Direct X version, instead of a longer term investment for Enthusiast GPU's."
Despite this phenomenon, the high end will always be a good market. There is a style element to the Enthusiast class as well as what we call a "muscle car element". Enthusiast level hardware purchasers will spend hundreds, sometimes thousands more, to maximize gaming performance, and have the cutting edge of engineering and technolgy such as S3D (stereovision) and HD 120 Hz monitors.
Jon Peddie, President of JPR, noted that for all levels of hardware "gamers are ordering, building, and modding their rigs with components that just a few years ago were simply not available with any economy of scale. SSD's, water cooling, gaming mice and keyboards and other components have come to the Performance class and gamers are starting to snap them up. "
The company also released a report about Do-It-Yourself (DIY) PC builds and PC upgrades, they estimate this market is worth about $10.4 billion in sales annually:
In addition to the PC Gaming Hardware Market Report, JPR has just released a Global Market Analysis for Do-It-Yourself (DIY) PC builds and PC upgrades. The market is significant with approximately $10.4 billion in sales annually. This total addressable market estimate goes beyond video games and includes all purchasing motivation, including business applications.
The analysis includes estimates of refresh rates for System Integrated PCs, Gamer System Integrated PCs, DIY builds, and Gamer DIY builds. The DIY/Upgrade Market Analysis also estimates the number of DIYers, the number of PC's upgraded annually, the System Integrated/DIY ratio, and a component ASP analysis for Mainstream, Performance, and Enthusiast DIY builds.