Enthusiast Class Personal Computers Will Lose Market Share – Report

Popularity of PCs for Gamers Set to Grow

by Anton Shilov
03/25/2010 | 02:17 PM

The market of high-end personal computer components has been growing at a rather rapid pace in the last decade and while the appropriate hardware does not have high unit market share, they represent nearly a half of the market in terms of revenue. In three years time revenue share of enthusiast-class hardware is projected to decline, however, the PC gaming market is expected to grow so largely that in absolute values the cost of the market will be much higher than today.

 

Jon Peddie Research estimates 46% of the dollars spent in 2009 on gaming motivated PC hardware were directed toward the enthusiast class, which represents premium and ultra premium segments. By enthusiast class Jon Peddie considers boutique PCs, high-end processors and graphics cards, solid-state drives, specialized gaming mice, keyboards, speakers, monitors and other types of products.

JPR is forecasting a shift in product mix demand as the worldwide PC gaming user base continues to increase in size. By 2013 the enthusiast class will lose market share to the performance and mainstream classes from 46% to 35% of dollars spent. The good news for enthusiast hardware producers is that this "market share shrink" occurs in an expanding market and expenditures on the enthusiast class will grow from $9.5 billion to almost $12.5 billion in 2013.

"PC hardware has caught up to most of the software and people are able to play computationally intensive games on performance level systems. Performance systems now even support high-resolution for all but the most demanding simulations and FPSs. The frequency of Direct X updates is also driving some people toward mid-range GPUs. Some gamers are buying performance GPUs at a higher refresh rate to engage the latest Direct X version, instead of a longer term investment for Enthusiast GPUs,” said Ted Pollak, video game industry analyst for JPR.

Despite this phenomenon, the high-end will always be a good market, according to JPR. There is a style element to the enthusiast class as well as a "muscle car element". Enthusiast level hardware purchasers usually spend hundreds, sometimes thousands more, to maximize gaming performance, and have the cutting-edge of engineering and technology, such as DirectX 11 or stereoscopic 3D monitors and supporting hardware.

“Gamers are ordering, building, and modding their rigs with components that just a few years ago were simply not available with any economy of scale. SSDs, water cooling, gaming mice and keyboards and other components have come to the performance class and gamers are starting to snap them up,” said Jon Peddie, the president of Jon Peddie Research.

According to Jon Peddie Research, the market of do-it-yourself (DIY) PC builds and PC upgrades is significant with approximately $10.4 billion in sales annually. This total addressable market estimate goes beyond video games and includes all purchasing motivation, including business applications.