Even though PC gaming is currently experiencing a renaissance of sorts, with developers and publishers realizing the importance of the space, the PC industry in general is having a tough go at it. According to data from the IDC (International Data Corporation) PC shipments suffered the worst single quarter decline since they started recording stats.
In the first quarter of 2013, worldwide PC shipments stood at 76.3 million units – a 13.9 per cent decline over the same quarter in 2012, which is the single largest quarterly drop since IDC started tracking the PC market in 1994. It was also significantly higher than the 7.7 per cent drop IDC anticipated.
IDC PC research director David Daoud labeled the magnitude of the contraction both “surprising and worrisome” and added that “the industry is going through a critical crossroads, and strategic choices will have to be made as to how to compete with the proliferation of alternative devices and remain relevant to the consumer.”
In simple terms, tablets, phones and other similar devices are taking a chunk out of the PC market, giving consumers less of a reason to purchase a desktop or laptop computer. Although this can be attributed to the natural order of things, the alternate choices to PC’s at the moment are quite limited, so there must be other factors at play. Namely: Windows 8.
“At this point, unfortunately, it seems clear that the Windows 8 launch not only failed to provide a positive boost to the PC market, but appears to have slowed the market,” said Bob O’Donnell, vice president of Clients and Displays at IDC, in a statement.
“While some consumers appreciate the new form factors and touch capabilities of Windows 8, the radical changes to the UI, removal of the familiar Start button, and the costs associated with touch have made PCs a less attractive alternative to dedicated tablets and other competitive devices. Microsoft will have to make some very tough decisions moving forward if it wants to help reinvigorate the PC market.”
Failing to create an operating system that is up to standard is a huge misstep, not only for Microsoft, but for the PC industry. Without a reason to buy a new computer, consumers will simply find other less expensive alternatives. Although the PC gaming space is somewhat insulated from this broader issue, it will eventually be affected by the negative ramifications of fewer shipments.
Fortunately, game developers are publishers are still very enthusiastic about PC gaming, with many companies now starting to use it as lead platform, namely Ubisoft and their highly anticipated open-world tech thriller, Watch Dogs.
Even the next generations of consoles (PS4 and Xbox 720) are moving to a PC-centric achitecture, making the two “competitors” much more similar than anyone would have expected. This is a good thing in the long run, but the PC industry needs to continue to differentiate itself and step up its game to effectively compete against all the new devices coming to market.
Lets hope that Microsoft and the rest of the PC industry can evolve with the times and create the user experience necessary to keep consumers happy. If not, it will eventually have a pronounced effect on the gaming sector, which is something none of us want.
What are your thoughts on the PC shipment decline? Can you think or reasons beyond Windows 8 that are holding personal computers back? And what does the PC industry need to do in order to stem the bleeding and come back strong? Let us know!!
Source: Wall Street Journal