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PC Gaming Hardware Market Worth $21.5 Billion

#21SampsonMPosted 7/15/2014 10:02:35 AM
Here, back of the envelope math:

There are 300M pre-built PCs sold every year. PCs last, on average, about five years. That means, at any given time, the bre-built "PC fleet" is about 1.5 billion PCs.

Steam has somewhere around 75 million accounts. Let's be generous and say that half these accounts are gamers with custom built rigs (in reality, it's probably 10-20%). Not every PC gamer uses Steam, but the overwhelming majority do, so this is a good approximation.

So, running the math, 35M PC gamers with custom-built rigs vs 1.5B pre-built PCs...you get to about 2%. And that's under very aggressive and very generous assumptions.
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#22macmahon187Posted 7/15/2014 10:37:02 AM
But see when you build that first computer you never really need to the total cost back into again. You may upgrade a graphics card 5 years later or your MB and PROC 4 or 5 years later. But you never have to start over from scratch again unless you so choose.
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#23SampsonMPosted 7/15/2014 10:40:42 AM
macmahon187 posted...
But see when you build that first computer you never really need to the total cost back into again. You may upgrade a graphics card 5 years later or your MB and PROC 4 or 5 years later. But you never have to start over from scratch again unless you so choose.


Two things:

1. Motherboard standards change. You pretty much need to get a new rig every 5 years or so based on that alone.

2. What does this have to do with anything? I'm comparing the number of prebuilts in existence to the number of custom rigs. For every custom rig, there's about 100 prebuilts.

I think PC gamers lose sight of the fact that they're pretty rare, and even then, a good chunk of PC gamers use a prebuilt machine. It's like if you go to a gym everyday and see all these people in shape, you think there are a lot more people in shape than they're really are. Then you go to a mall and come back to reality.
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An artist is a creature driven by demons. He dont know why they choose him and hes usually too busy to wonder why.
#24clowningPosted 7/15/2014 11:11:28 AM
Sampson, great job pulling various numbers out of your posterior. Thanks for that highly speculative analysis. I'm sure Valve and all other game developers would love to have your highly scientific and throughly researched data and conclusions.
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It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. ...one begins to twist facts to suit theories.... Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
#25SampsonMPosted 7/15/2014 12:10:36 PM
clowning posted...
Sampson, great job pulling various numbers out of your posterior. Thanks for that highly speculative analysis. I'm sure Valve and all other game developers would love to have your highly scientific and throughly researched data and conclusions.


Lol. Wut?

300M annual prebuilt shipments is from IDC, probably the most well-respected PC analytics firm. 75M Steam accounts is from Valve itself.

The only assumption is what percentage of these Steam accounts are using pre-built vs custom rigs.
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An artist is a creature driven by demons. He dont know why they choose him and hes usually too busy to wonder why.
#26macmahon187Posted 7/15/2014 1:39:03 PM
SampsonM posted...
macmahon187 posted...
But see when you build that first computer you never really need to the total cost back into again. You may upgrade a graphics card 5 years later or your MB and PROC 4 or 5 years later. But you never have to start over from scratch again unless you so choose.


Two things:

1. Motherboard standards change. You pretty much need to get a new rig every 5 years or so based on that alone.

2. What does this have to do with anything? I'm comparing the number of prebuilts in existence to the number of custom rigs. For every custom rig, there's about 100 prebuilts.

I think PC gamers lose sight of the fact that they're pretty rare, and even then, a good chunk of PC gamers use a prebuilt machine. It's like if you go to a gym everyday and see all these people in shape, you think there are a lot more people in shape than they're really are. Then you go to a mall and come back to reality.


Well im planning on using my 2600k for 2 more years. And i built it in march of 2011. Ive added a few hard drives since then and got a 770 this year but not sure what else needs to be replaced. And even if do build a new one it will be substantial cheaper since i will reuse alot of my parts. And sell my older ones. Not sure what you getting at with all those numbers as this pertains to me.
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#27LvthnPosted 7/15/2014 1:53:45 PM
SampsonM posted...
Here, back of the envelope math:

There are 300M pre-built PCs sold every year. PCs last, on average, about five years. That means, at any given time, the bre-built "PC fleet" is about 1.5 billion PCs.

Steam has somewhere around 75 million accounts. Let's be generous and say that half these accounts are gamers with custom built rigs (in reality, it's probably 10-20%). Not every PC gamer uses Steam, but the overwhelming majority do, so this is a good approximation.

So, running the math, 35M PC gamers with custom-built rigs vs 1.5B pre-built PCs...you get to about 2%. And that's under very aggressive and very generous assumptions.


10 million custom built gaming PCs is a pretty respectable number considering how many people apparently think it takes an engineer. Especially since while a custom build can be cheaper, I'd guess a lot of gamers who do build would rather just spend the extra to go mid-range or better.

The percentage is going to be a ludicrous number just due to the number of prebuilts sold to businesses and institutions, nevermind home users. I don't think it's wrong to suggest that a slump in total desktop sales is virtually irrelevant to what the PC game market, including the gaming hardware market, is doing.

I also wonder about other factors, like whether there exists a "PC 1%" where a minority of users spend a disproportionate amount, or modified prebuilts (prebuilt with GPU or other parts added or upgraded to make it more suitable for gaming).

I guess what I'm saying is, even in light of your numbers I wouldn't be shocked to find out that custom PC builders spend as much on hardware per year as consoles combined. Nevermind profit margins, I'm pretty sure PC parts do not sell at a loss, consoles often do. In that sense I'd fully expect gaming PC parts to be a lot more lucrative than console hardware.
#28wizardmonPosted 7/15/2014 2:12:02 PM(edited)
JohnMafia posted...
By the way claiming that someone making $10k a year should be able to afford a $1000 PC or just move to a cheaper place is one of the dumbest things I've read on the internet.

Really? when I built my PC for 1200$ a few years ago I made 8500$ a year, paid for rent, food, clothing, transportation, phone, internet and was still able to get a really decent mid end PC with a 2500K, 8GB DDR3 1600 ram, decent 150$ MSI motherboard, two 1TB HDDs, and a 6950 1GB. Very mid end, very affordable, even had money to spare for a year of Eve online, 120 days of WoT premium time and some games on steam.

If your cost of living is high because of the location you live in and your only making 10K, then why in your right mind would you not move to a more livable location?
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#29SampsonMPosted 7/15/2014 2:22:22 PM
I don't think it's wrong to suggest that a slump in total desktop sales is virtually irrelevant to what the PC game market, including the gaming hardware market, is doing.


I agree with you. I'm just saying that having a custom built rig is a pretty rare thing, and even if more people are suddenly building their own PCs, it's still a tiny (insignificant) share of the larger PC market.

Another way to look at it is to look at Nvidia's earnings. Last year, they took in about $3.2B on their graphics cards. If we assume an average selling price of around $300, that's about 10.5M video cards. Include AMD, it goes to about 20M. Of course, that's quite high, given that Nvidia/AMD cards appear in prebuilt PCs, and that some chunk of their revenue is going to the super high-end cards that are used by businesses.
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An artist is a creature driven by demons. He dont know why they choose him and hes usually too busy to wonder why.
#30clowningPosted 7/15/2014 2:25:01 PM
SampsonM posted...
clowning posted...
Sampson, great job pulling various numbers out of your posterior. Thanks for that highly speculative analysis. I'm sure Valve and all other game developers would love to have your highly scientific and throughly researched data and conclusions.


Lol. Wut?

300M annual prebuilt shipments is from IDC, probably the most well-respected PC analytics firm. 75M Steam accounts is from Valve itself.

The only assumption is what percentage of these Steam accounts are using pre-built vs custom rigs.


Your out of the blue estimates and percentages are not based on anything factual. You are guessing. You have absolutely no idea.
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It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. ...one begins to twist facts to suit theories.... Sir Arthur Conan Doyle