Jon Peddie Research predicts PC gamers will consume over $22 billion worth of PC gaming hardware in 2011. The number represents a 27 percent gain over last year:
New PC gamers worldwide who are hungry for the best may be giving the PC hardware industry a welcome boost this year. The unusual spike in PC hardware growth is due to various influences, says Ted Pollak, Senior Gaming Analyst for Jon Peddie Research (JPR): Pollak notes the natural cycle of PC hardware purchases from historical inflection points, system demands of modern FPS (first person shooters) and RTS (real-time strategy) titles, cheaper high resolution displays, SSDs (solid state drives), and the convenience of digital distribution services like Steam and Direct2Drive. But Pollak also attributes growth to newly converted PC gamers tiring of the limitations of aging console platforms, the widely applauded advancements in Direct X 11, and the increasing appetite of PC gamers for high quality speaker systems, headsets, mice, cases, cooling, and other accessories and customizations.
A Global Phenomenon
JPR identifies a very strong growth trend for systems, accessories, and upgrades in Asia. China is approaching $2.7 billion in expenditures, as gaming continues to grow in popularity and internet café's upgrade machines to run newer titles. Russia is also forecasted to make significant increases in PC Gaming hardware expenditures, showing notable growth in the most expensive Enthusiast class and an amazing 22% CAGR in the Mainstream sector out to 2014. The profile of the typical gamer has changed. Most gamers are technology enthusiasts equipped with the best cameras, several computers, new games, handheld consoles, and often, a new phone every year. In addition to games they are often photo and video enthusiasts who place extreme demands on their systems.
Jon Peddie, President of JPR, notes that interest in 3D capable machines and displays is growing and there is rising demand from PC gamers for monitors with higher resolution and better color capabilities. Traditionally used by graphic designers, "wide gamut" displays are capable of showing more of the color spectrum, often making games look better. Peddie also notes that Enthusiast PC gamers are showing interest in displays that exceed 1080p (the maximum resolution that HDTV and game consoles are capable of utilizing).
Mainstream Sector is Significant
The report also highlights the multi-billion dollar market opportunity for semiconductor companies and system integrators who market the game capabilities of sub $1000 PC systems. Jon Peddie Research has identified significant interest in the game capabilities of even the lowest level systems in the $500 range, as games offered through social networks and casual game sites claim more interest from consumers. This is of particular importance in Intel and AMD's race to provide the best graphics processing with their integrated chips that include the capabilities of both CPUs and GPUs.