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Study: PC Gaming Hardware Market Down, Not Out

Study: PC Gaming Hardware Market Down, Not Out

May 27, 2009 | By Kris Graft

May 27, 2009 | By Kris Graft
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More: Console/PC

The current economic recession has daunted the PC gaming hardware market, but overall, the segment remains strong, and will continue to grow healthily in the years ahead, Jon Peddie Research said on Wednesday.

JPR said that the market for PC hardware is so robust that it will actually top the amount of money consumers spend on console gaming hardware (HDTV, accessories and the console itself) by nearly $2 billion this year.

PC gaming systems seem to have suffered the least discounting [as a result of the recession,] which illustrates the value consumers place on such systems, JPF said in a statement.

The report split the 'PC gaming hardware' revenues -- actually a percentage of each PC system's revenue based on the consumer's wish to play games on it -- into three areas: Enthusiast, Performance, and Mainstream for both desktop and the newly emerging notebook category.

It was designed to outline the distribution of branded sales (HP, Alienware, etc), non branded ("White box"), aftermarket component sales and DIY sales, as well as peripheral sales of gaming components.

Game playing-specific PC market sales based on the the consumer's gaming predilection -- which includes a percentage for the monitor, accessories and the PC itself reached $20.07 billion in 2008, JPR found. The firm expects sales to decline 7 percent in 2009 to $18.66 billion in 2009.

For the years ahead, JPR forecasts the following for PC gaming hardware consumer spend:

-2010: $23.94 billion
-2011: $28.91 billion
-2012: $30.67 billion

JPR said that PC gaming continues to do relatively well despite the recession because people are staying home more, less movies, less dinners out, postponed vacations, and turning to other forms of entertainment. PC gaming is a very economical form of entertainment. A $50 game can provide hundreds of hours of play, and it's not uncommon for players to replay a game.

The firm added, Also, purchases of a PC for gaming can be shared since the machine can be used for watching (and creating) videos, as well as office work and web browsing, something consoles can't offer.

Gamasutra has reached out for comment on how the rise of lower-spec compatible PC games might affect the 'PC gaming'-specific hardware spend.

[UPDATE: Ted Pollak, senior analyst, game industry for JPR explained further in an email to Gamasutra how the firm arrived at the results: "After adjusting the computers of the various classes for home and personal use (versus business use) we apply a 'gaming influence factor' to each level of hardware."

He elaborated, "We talked to retail people and consumers to gauge the level of purchase motivation for the various classes of PC (performance, mainstream, and enthusiast)."

"For enthusiast level PCs we found that, on average, over 70 percent of the dollars spent were motivated by gaming, while in the mainstream (the cheap notebook you speak of), only around 7 or 8 percent of the dollars spent are motivated by gaming on average. We are only counting dollars spent which are motivated by gaming."]

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