Europe’s PC gaming market continued to confound expectations in the second quarter with strong revenue growth of 22,7% year-on-year, as enthusiasts sought out high performance and premium branded systems.
The Context PC Gaming report tracks all essential gaming products — including PCs, components, displays and accessories — across 23 European regions including Russia. It includes data from Context’s SalesWatch Distribution database, the largest ICT-distribution database of actual invoiced transactions in existence.
“Those that claim that PC Gaming is dead have been proven wrong once again,” says Biggles Bristol, PC gaming and VR consultant at Context. “While the current generation of consoles awkwardly “refresh” themselves, gaming PCs are going from strength to strength as vendors capitalise on the higher margins better specified PCs can bring.”
HP and Dell in particular have benefitted from the comparatively high-margin sector, while mainstream consumers continue to favour entry-level desktops and notebooks, shrinking profits. HP’s Omen is now the number one brand for OEM systems, while both it and Dell Alienware’s share of the high-end Enthusiast and VR-Ready categories more than doubled, from 6% in the first half of last year to 15% in H1 2017.
The good news continued in the display space, where gaming monitors saw 76,8% year-on-year growth in Europe driven by new curved displays and increased interest in 4K gaming. Samsung, AOC, Dell and Phillips have all been rewarded by increasing their focus on the consumer space; with triple-figure growth in Q2 2017.
Graphics cards (GPUs) are another area seeing a strong uptick in interest: sales were up 35,7% year-on-year in Q2 2017, while VR-ready GPU sales soared 121% over the same period, driven by interest from gamers and crypto miners.
Distributor average selling price (ASP) jumped by 27% year-on-year in the period as gamers showed they were prepared to invest in powerful GPUs to boost performance.
The growth of virtual reality has thus far been held back by the high price-tag for associated hardware and a wait-and-see approach from software developers, according to Context. The ASP for a VR-ready PC with VR headset in Q2 2017 was €1 840, while software development has been sluggish due in part to slow take-up of the technology.
However, this vicious circle may soon be broken, with Context consumer survey data indicating that new introductory price points around €400 could triple the high-end VR headset market.
This could help create a virtuous circle for gamers, vendors and publishers and give the sector a major push.