Gaming segment shines amid gloom

Last year, the PC gaming and enthusiast segment exceeded $40 billion in value.
Last year, the PC gaming and enthusiast segment exceeded $40 billion in value.PHOTO: REUTERS

What went down in 2017:

The malaise afflicting the PC market remains unabated this year as a 12th consecutive quarter of decline (the third quarter this year) was reported by market research firm Gartner in October.

Amid the gloom, the bright spot was the PC gaming and enthusiast segment. It is poised to maintain the explosive growth that saw it exceed US$30 billion (S$40 billion) in value last year, two years ahead of forecast.

Market research firm GfK said in August that "gaming PCs have developed from a niche segment to a strong-selling mainstream product". The firm reported that revenue from gaming desktop PCs increased by 55 per cent in the first half of this year compared with the previous year, while gaming laptops recorded a revenue increase of 24 per cent.

The popularity of e-sports and growing adoption of virtual reality will generate more momentum for the PC gaming market, said GfK. The rise of gaming PCs also helped accessories like mice, keyboards, monitors and headsets achieve double-digit growth this year.

Gaming monitors with high or variable refresh rates, and curved screens, in particular, have done well. GfK says they are the fastest-growing accessory segment, which is unsurprising, with mainstream PC vendors like Dell and Lenovo joining the fray in recent years.

This year also saw the revival of chipmaker AMD in the high-end PC market. Its new Ryzen processor, available with up to 16 cores, prompted market leader Intel to release an 18-core chip. These high-end chips are for power users who could be gaming at 4K resolutions and streaming gameplay videos online simultaneously.

What to look out for in 2018:

PCs using the same Qualcomm ARM chip as smartphones (and promising up to 20 hours of battery life) are on the menu for next year. Asus and HP both showed off such upcoming PCs earlier this month.

Vincent Chang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 27, 2017, with the headline 'Gaming segment shines amid gloom '. Print Edition | Subscribe