Despite the doom and gloom around PC gaming that's gone on for years now, research shows that the PC gaming hardware market is still very strong. In fact, it seems that the type of people who like to read Tom's Hardware – the enthusiast class – account for nearly half of the dollars spent towards gaming hardware.
According to Jon Peddie Research, 46 percent of the dollars spent in 2009 on stuff like boutique PCs, high-end processors and graphics cards, SSD's, specialized gaming mice, keyboards, speakers, monitors and others come from PC enthusiasts.
The research firm figures that PC enthusiasts have a special style element to them that JPR calls a "muscle car element." These days, a respectable GPU from a recent generation has a pretty good shot at running any PC game at a decent frame rate and image quality level. This opens up the PC gaming market beyond just high-end systems and towards the more humble performance and mainstream users.
Jon Peddie, President of JPR, noted that "gamers are ordering, building, and modding their rigs with components that just a few years ago were simply not available with any economy of scale. SSD's, water cooling, gaming mice and keyboards and other components have come to the Performance class and gamers are starting to snap them up."
As a result of this, JPR estimates that the enthusiast class will only account for 35 percent of the dollars spent on gaming by 2013, despite projections of growing to $12.5 billion – up from 2009's $9.5 billion. This will be due to a spread of gaming towards the performance and mainstream segments, which should be good news to anyone making a PC game these days.