If PC gaming is dying, as many have claimed, why are gaming-oriented PCs selling so well? Market analyst Jon Peddie estimates that the market for PC gaming hardware stands at $20 billion today—and predicts it will expand to $34 billion by 2012.
Peddie, principal of the market-research and consulting firm Jon Peddie Research, estimates that hardware sales pull in an additional $6 billion in sales of software and related services annually. “Retail software figures are not an accurate barometer for the health of the PC gaming industry,” said report co-author Ted Pollak. “The retail numbers don’t capture the casual and digitally distributed games, either.”
PC Gamers, on the other hand, don’t buy all that many games, according to Pollak. “Enthusiast PC gamers often latch onto one or two games that offer multiplayer options and stick to these titles for years,” he said. “Hardware is where they spend the big bucks.”
It will come as no surprise to this audience that in addition to the market for fully assembled PCs, Peddie “discovered a robust market of do-it-yourselfers and consumers who upgrade their PCs with high-performance gaming graphics boards.” Obviously Tom’s Hardware knew about this "discovered market" years ago.
Peddie forecasts the highest worldwide compound annual growth rate—21 percent—for “mainstream” gaming PCs, but he expects the “performance” segment to grow at only a slight slower pace (19 percent) and the “enthusiast” segment, where prices are highest, to grow at a healthy nine percent.
The report also predicts that the ongoing economic recession could stymie the growth of the console gaming market because consumers might be reluctant to invest in the HDTVs needed to deliver the best gaming experience with those systems. Personal computers, Peddie surmises, are useful for a much broader range of applications than televisions and gaming consoles.