It’s a topic that is still hotly debated in the gaming world: which is better, PC or console gaming?
We’re not here to tell you how one gaming platform is better than the other, but rather to take a look at how PC gaming has grown. Some of this comes down to preferences in visual quality and controllers, some of it has to do with the actual games that are available and popular right now.
Many of today’s PC gamers are adults who started playing in the 1990s. That’s when classic games like Doom, Wolfenstein 3D, Duke Nukem 3D, Master of Orion, Diablo and many others made their debut. Today, there are more games available than any one person could play.
While PC gaming is appealing because of a wider range of gaming options, it is often criticized because of a very important barrier to entry: cost.
But now there are more budget gaming laptops available, and computer rental companies are even offering gaming PCs for gaming conferences and other short-term needs.
What’s more, industry analysis shows that high-end gaming PCs are slated for continue growth despite their costly price tags.
Now that PC gaming is becoming more broadly accessible to gamers, and the market has plenty of consumers willing to invest in the technology, the industry has seen significant growth over the past several years.
What is it that people love about PC gaming?
Gaming PCs, especially high-end models that people often like to rent for gaming conferences offer smoother frame rates with higher graphic settings than what can be achieved on an Xbox or Playstation. If there’s a budget for one of these machines, the gaming experience will be elevated by this one point alone.
Wider Game Selection
Thanks to platforms like Steam, PC gamers tout a wider game selection at better rates than what they find on console stores. For Mac, PC and Linux, Steam offers thousands of options from mainstream action to indie games as the platform is used not only to purchase games, but gaming developers can launch their products here as well. It also allows others to join gaming groups or play with multiple players.
One of the downsides to console gaming is that in order to play with multiple players, you have to sign up for a paid service that is typically around $60 per year.
Preference for Keyboard and Mouse
When it comes to PC or console, for some gamers it is all about preferring a keyboard and mouse to a controller. Users like this find they have greater precision than when using a joystick on a controller. This isn’t the case for every gamer, however. The good news for PC gamers is that they always have the option to use a PC controller, if that is their preference.
How has the market grown?
While the reports of overall PC shipments is touch-and-go, the projections for gaming PCs is a totally different story with all fingers pointing to an upward trajectory.
As mentioned previously, high-end gaming PCs do not come cheap. Yes, there are “cheaper” models that are coming to the market. But despite this, the overall spending on those expensive, high-end PCs is set to continue dramatic growth as DFC Intelligence found and reported in its PC Game Hardware Forecast.
The popularity of games like Fortnite and Player’s Unknown Battleground has driven up demand for the high-end gaming PC, leading to a 40 percent increase in 2017 at $40 billion. DFC projects spending on these machines to grow to $75 billion over the next five years.
For many familiar with the industry, it is no surprise. PC gaming’s roots go well back into the 1990s, and today’s players come from various ages and backgrounds. The adolescent 90s gamer is now a grown adult with his/her own money to spend, and for the reasons we listed above, are willing to invest in what will create the best gaming experience.
Who else is benefiting from the popularity of PC gaming?
Obviously the PC manufacturers are ringing in the profits from the rising popularity of PC gaming, but who else is benefiting from this market growth?
First, graphic chip makers like Nvidia and AMD stand to benefit from this trend. In 2017, Nvidia posted a 40 percent increase in its gaming revenue year-over-year, and almost double that of 2015. Similarly, AMD saw its computer and graphics revenue grow by 50 percent in 2017 from the previous year.
Let’s not forget headset manufacturers. For example, Turtle Beach saw its stock jump from $2 a share in March of 2018 to $16 in just two months. The company attributes this growth entirely to the popularity of Fortnite.
Also, companies that specialize in cooling, memory and casing for gamers who build their own machines are also set to profit from the trend. While it is one the fastest growing segments related to PC gaming, it is also influenced by other factors such as Bitcoin mining, which also requires high-end PCs.
What will happen in the future?
Over time, it will be interesting to see if the budget-friendly gaming PCs impact the growth of higher end machines, or console gaming. Even avid console fans may splurge on a gaming PC if it came at a more affordable price. As many gamers may have a preference of PC or console, it is still common for many people to enjoy and invest in both, if possible.
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