Stay-at-home orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in the rise in the popularity of gaming PCs. In fact, the market is expected to grow by 25% from 2020 to 2024. Mid-range and low-range gaming PCs make up 53% of gaming PC profits, and they have actually grown by 60% over the last few years. However, high-end gaming computers are catching up, accounting for 47% of gaming PC profits, which is around £14 billion. This means that the number of gamers who are willing to shell out money for a gaming PC is increasing.
It’s currently a spirited time for the PC gaming market, from the creation of new PCs to a shortage of components. So if you want to know what 2022 will bring, below are a few things you can expect:
Handheld PC gaming
Handheld gaming isn’t a new concept, but it’s an aspect of PC gaming where you can expect a lot of innovations — and the latest of these is Valve’s Steam Deck. Looking at it, it may not immediately strike you as a good handheld gaming device as it’s longer than a standard Nintendo Switch. However, the size makes sense since it allows it to hold the power it needs to run, and it also spreads the heat to be dissipated effectively. Most of all, it’s made to house a complex controller setup, from dual capacitive sticks to programmable paddles, that allows for complete compatibility with the PC library.
But perhaps the most interesting aspects of the Steam Deck are the semi-custom AMD processor and the background operating system. Valve describes the processor as next-generation. It’s similar to the Xbox Series S but with reduced dimensions. Meanwhile, its primary operating system is Linux, but it comes with an upgraded version of Proton. This allows you to re-interpret any Windows code to make it run on Linux.
If you’re a hardcore gamer, you might prefer a powerful rig to a gaming laptop. After all, you get to run any game in high quality and play for hours on end without worrying about plugging your computer in to charge. Unfortunately, gaming PCs take up a lot of space and generate a lot of heat, with whirring fans competing with a graphically-intensive game like The Outer Worlds.
If you know this all too well, then you’ll be happy to know that you can get a mini PC and still get an amazing gaming experience. These PCs have mini motherboards with high-speed designs and precise routing, which reduces any potential losses and distortions as the signals travel between components. This lets them work just as well as their normal-sized counterparts. Mini PCs have all the power of a regular-sized PC despite being just as big as an Xbox. The Corsair One i160/164 is one of the most powerful models, with components that allow for 4K gaming even for the most demanding games.
You’ve likely heard of the PS5 shortage in 2020 — part of that is due to the shortage of GPUs. Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger predicts that the global chip shortage will last until 2023, although AMD CEO Dr. Lisa Su says that the situation will get better by 2022. Nevertheless, while there is a shortage of chips for both CPUs and GPUs, the low supply is especially affecting GPUs. This is because GPUs have become the target of scalpers and crypto miners.
The pandemic has also seen a rise of cryptocurrency miners, and mining requires a powerful computer as well, hence their need for good graphics cards. Meanwhile, scalpers have taken advantage of the number of people looking for these components, using bots to get large quantities of GPUs and sold them at inflated prices. Companies are trying to bring GPUs back to the gamers using various ways. Nvidia, for instance, has increased the price of their GeForce RTX 40 series cards to discourage crypto miners from using them.
The shortage of chips has made PC gaming harder to get into. And if you’re among those who are waiting for GPUs to become available at lower prices, you might not have long to wait. Nvidia, AMD, and Intel are reportedly launching budget-friendly GPUs in 2022. Nvidia is expected to release RTX 3050 and RTX 3050 Ti GPUs. Meanwhile, there’s news of AMD’s Radeon RX 6500 XT and RX 6400 appearing. Finally, Intel will be releasing its Arc lineup of GPUs. These companies are perhaps three of the most well-known GPU manufacturers, and their efforts can offset the high prices of GPUs that are currently on the market.
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