At-home Gaming Eco-system: Opportunities and Risks in Gaming Pcs and Beyond

February 2021

The digital transformation in play and entertainment has been a key factor in growth in videogames in recent years, boosting the popularity of gaming PCs and related products, and also shaping the focus on at-home gaming eco-systems. High-end technology, customisation, improved virtual experiences and the rise of e-sports have attracted casual gamers, high-income consumers and hardcore gamers, and present opportunities for innovation and engagement in the developing at-home eco-system.

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Key findings

Growth in interest in videogames accelerated in 2020, setting the stage for growth in gaming PCs

The digital transformation in play and entertainment has been a key factor in growth in videogames in recent years. As consumers globally took to their homes in 2020 due to COVID-19, gaming grew in popularity as a way to pass the time and to stay connected with friends and family. As such, sales of gaming hardware, including gaming PCs and gaming peripherals, saw substantial growth in 2020, and will continue to grow.

Gaming PCs represent a premium segment in the desktop and laptop markets.

Gaming PCs differentiate themselves from traditional desktops and laptops by emphasising graphical and processor performance. Gaming units are also easier for users to upgrade and customise, though this applies mostly to desktop models that do not face the size constraints of portable computers. While the PCs are optimised for gameplay, they can also do everything a non-gaming PC can handle.

Consumers’ growing commitment to PC gaming leads to more investment in high-end hardware and related products

The growth experienced by major game developers Tencent Holdings, Activision Blizzard and Valve, among others, can be attributed to the increase in spending on PC gaming by consumers. These companies offer many of the top PC games, such as League of Legends, Call of Duty and DOTA 2, which continue to drive growth. This growth has led to many consumers investing more in high-end gaming PCs, accessories, and furniture, including high-end gaming chairs that also double as office chairs and provide more a comfortable and healthier experience for prolonged sitting.

The number of hardcore gamers is likely to increase due to growth in the e-sports industry

The e-sports industry saw a boost in popularity in 2020, as more consumers turned to entertainment at home. This is likely to increase the number of serious gamers, as well as consumers gravitating towards online gaming and e-sports, who will be more likely to invest in better gaming technology and surrounding spaces. This will encourage many companies to engage with e-sports teams and streamers as a platform for targeted brand and product communication.

Scope: Gaming eco-system
Key findings
Video games growing over 2020 and beyond, expanding potential market
Hometainment: Decrease in mobility a driver for gaming PCs
PC gaming growing despite competition from other categories
Sales of PC games driven by e-sports and competitive gaming
Gaming PCs a growth segment in a declining desktop category
Differentiating a gaming PC
To build or to buy?
Gaming PCs come with fit-for-purpose accessories
Gaming PC market made up of specialist and traditional players
Gaming PCs: budget friendly PCs as an entry point for new gamers
High-income individuals in key markets game more, driving innovation
Emerging technologies: PC game developers innovate within VR
Virtual reality use more common among higher income individuals
Gaming PCs feature top of the line hardware, but also have shortcomings
Looking beyond PCs: Reshaping multifunctional at-home space
Settling into new working patterns long term opens further opportunities
Growth in internet access to continue, expanding potential market
E-sports growth provides opportunities to engage with young consumers
Where next: Consumer and product segmentation to drive innovation
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