Hardware makers bet big on gaming – but are they going about it wrong?

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PCgaming

The PC industry is shrinking. That’s a sentence based on very selective assimilation, to be fair. While the prebuilt PC market is indeed on the decline, everything else surrounding PC and PC gaming are exploding.

We told you recently that nearly 60 million copies of games were sold on Steam in August alone; which is a nearly unfathomable number of games. People are playing more games than ever, and they’re doing so, overwhelmingly it seems, on PC. It would make sense then, that those invested in the PC hardware market set their beady eyes on PC gamers, who’ve often demonstrated limitless supplies of cash to fund their upgrades.

And that’s exactly what many of them seem to be doing. Companies like Acer, Asus, Lenovo and MSI are targeting core gamers more than ever, hoping that the PC industry can be given a shot in the arm thanks to the sort of person who’ll happily spend the down payment on a car to upgrade a PC.

To that end, they’re all releasing these great big ostentatious, garish machines that they think gamers would love – but I think they’re taking a few steps in the wrong direction. For one, while they’re making Desktop PCs and Laptops that are the gaming equivalent of mid-life crisis sports cars, they’re forgetting that the people they’re aiming their products at are the sort of people who prefer to build their machines themselves.

Lenovo’s got its Erazer X series, Acer has its Predator stuff, and Asus has its Republic of Gamers branded hardware – all of which use the most ridiculous hyperbole in their sales pitches.

This is Acer’s “Unstoppable War Machine”

Still, it makes sense to target gamers, right? According to John Peddie Research, the PC gaming market generated double the console, with $21.5 billion in hardware sales last year – but it’s worth noting that the figure includes peripherals as well. While they’re a great target market, I’m not sure prebuilt machines are the way to go about it – but then again, I’m still confounded by the existence of Steam Machines.

I’m the sort of gamer who likes to build his own PC, and have been doing so for years, so maybe I’m just old and set in my ways. What do you think? Are you likely to spend big on a gaudy and garish pre-made system?

Last Updated: September 9, 2015

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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