PC gaming suffering least in games biz

According to JPR, the total PC games hardware market should drop US$1.4 billion this year

We've long heard how teflon-coated video games are despite the bum economy, but what if I told you PC gaming in particular's been the most resilient of all? That's what Jon Peddie Research just concluded in its market forecast for PC gaming hardware, a report that "took almost five years to bring it to life" and which combines "bottom-up" GPU and PC shipment forecasts with macro-economic "top-down" forecasts for 36 countries.

According to JPR, the total PC games hardware market should drop US$1.4 billion this year, down 7 points from $20.07 billion in 2008 to $18.65 billion in 2009. Blame a sales slump tied to the recession, but also lower prices on PCs and components due to the increasingly competitive economic climate, says JPR. Despite that, the report concludes, "PC gaming systems seem to have suffered the least discounting which illustrates the value consumers place on such systems."

And here's the particularly illuminating angle: The nearly $19 billion in PC games hardware sales? It's set to "eclipse" the hardware market for all gaming consoles combined by some $2 billion. Lest you balk at the apples-oranges comparison, note that JPR takes into account "the console, a certain amount of accessories, and a factor for the cost of an HDTV to display the games on."

Here's JPR's PC Gaming Hardware Market forecast (in billions) through 2012. *

2008 - $20,0762009 - $18,6582010 - $23,9372011 - $28,9072012 - $30,672

* PC gaming hardware includes the PC, a percentage for the monitor (because some people will already have one), a percentage of accessories like driving wheels and special mice/joysticks, as well as aftermarket and DIY parts and systems.

Why would the PC games market drop less than its peers? JPR believes -- aside from the usual assumptions about people staying home more, viewing fewer movies, eating out less, putting off vacations, and turning to alternative forms of entertainment -- that PC gaming is simply sounder economics. Says JPR: "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."

For more gaming news and opinion, point your tweet-readers at twitter.com/game_on.

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Matt Peckham

PC World (US online)
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