by Anton Shilov
01/18/2007 | 02:35 PM
Creative Technology, the leading maker of discrete audio cards and a supplier of digital media players, is losing traction in the market of gamers, despite heavily advertised EAX technologies several years ago. Only about 15% of gamers use sound cards by Creative Labs, whereas the rest use mostly integrated audio.
The most popular audio device, according to a survey among users of Steam game distribution system by Valve Software Corp., is Realtek AC97 audio, which comes with loads of mainboards and is used by 26.28% of users, or 222 thousand. The second most popular is SoundMax digital audio, which is utilized by 9.5%, while the share of C-Media Wave device is 7.69.
Even though Creative Labs’ audio cards are used by 14.53% of Steam users, the most popular sound card by Creative Technology is Audigy 2 ZS has share of only 3.26% among 847 thousand of all respondents. Meanwhile, Creative’s latest audio board – SoundBlaster X-Fi – is used by 21.5 thousand of Steam users, or 2.54%.
The relative reluctance of gamers to acquire audio cards by Creative Technology is a result of the lack of tangible benefits that the SoundBlaster cards may provide now due to the fact that game developers do not implement advanced surround audio features into games. Another reason is the lack of massive advertising of SoundBlaster cards and promotional events, something that add-in graphics cards developers ATI and Nvidia do to make graphics accelerators more popular.