In a challenged PC market one user group is standing firm against the winds of change blowing many casual computer users to the "good enough" mindset behind sales of tablets and cloud computing devices – PC gamers. PC gamers continue to buy and build with a fervency that could be compared to motorcycle, 4x4, and sports car enthusiasts, always looking for more speed, power, utility, and handling.
"Not only is gaming becoming an even more important purchasing influence of PC sales due to the offloading of more basic functionality to smart devices, but we are forecasting growth in the most expensive discrete graphics products. We are also impressed with the embedded graphics offerings this generation and going forward," said Jon Peddie, president of Jon Peddie Research.
JPR believes that PC's have an advantage in casual gaming as x86 tablets expand the market, and new powerful CPUs with built-in graphics have opened the door to the living room. On the high end of the spectrum nothing can surpass PCs at this point in time because they can run ultra high resolution graphics better than any other platform. Because consoles have display restrictions and forgiving couch based control input, they just can't compete with the PC's precision and power.
"The effect that key titles have on hardware sales is phenomenal. Enthusiast PC gamers embrace content creation and modding, so when titles like Bohemia Interactive's ARMA 3 are in the pipeline; we start to see anticipatory hardware sales. In fact, we are estimating over $800 million of PC builds influenced primarily by this title. A major component of this situation is that many games are placing increasing demands on the CPU. The result is that swapping out the graphics add-in board is not enough this time around and gamers are building (and ordering) overclocked PC's from the ground up," said Ted Pollak, senior gaming analyst at JPR.
Despite of optimistic claims, total available market of PC gaming hardware this year will drop to $17.791 billion, or by 3.15% from 2012. Nonetheless, starting from next year the PC gaming hardware market will start to grow.