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Cloud Streaming Services Could Be a 'Gateway' for PC Gaming

Google's Stadia cloud streaming service. 

Google's Stadia cloud streaming service.  (Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Analyst bureau IDC today shared forecasts for desktop and laptop shipments over the coming years, and despite the appending rise of cloud gaming, it does not expect the PC gaming market to be negatively impacted by the dawn of the new technology.

The numbers, via the IDC Worldwide Quarterly Gaming Tracker, December 12, 2019 report, are for the EMEA market (Europe, Middle East and Africa), so it doesn't represent expectations for the U.S. Additionally, IDC's research only included desktops and laptops with a "premium- or performance-grade GPU." Any system that doesn't have a dedicated graphics card or has an AMD Radeon Pro or Nvidia Quadro GPU are not included in the forecast calculations, as these serve a different market and won't be representative of the gaming community.

IDC's forecasts show that closing the year 2019, a total of 2.99 million desktops and 5.54 million laptops will have shipped. 

Advancing forward to 2023, and desktop shipments are expected to sit at 2.87 million with notebooks up to 6.94 million, showing a small decline in desktops but a notable increase in gaming notebook shipments. 

"In the mid- and long-term forecast, the market will benefit from increasing consumer awareness and growth in the gaming community. Gaming systems are of major interest to vendors because of their higher costs and margins, as well as their more frequent replacement cycles," Nikolina Jurisic, program manager, IDC CEMA, said in a statement. "End users are therefore benefitting from a broad gaming range, new product launches and more attractive pricing due to fiercer competition. Cloud gaming is still in the early stages of acceptance in CEMA and is not expected to negatively affect the gaming market in the mid- or short-term forecast."

Some examples of cloud gaming services are Google Stadia and GeForce now. In our Google Stadia review last month, we concluded that while the premise is promising, it was clear that the service hadn't ripened enough to offer the best experience.

With that in mind, it's also interesting that Liam Hall, senior research analyst at IDC in Western Europe, noted that "beyond early adopters, it is unlikely we will see a sizeable migration of gamers away from traditional hardware in favor of the cloud any time soon."

"Conversely, by providing a lower barrier of entry for new gamers, cloud gaming could actually act as a gateway into console and PC gaming for those who otherwise wouldn't have discovered their passion for gaming and now want to take it to the next level," the analyst said.