Gaming PC: Raising the Bar

Niko Partners, a market research and consulting firm that studies the video games, eSports and streaming market in Asia, recently reported that India is the fastest growing game market in the continent and is on track to become a $1 billion video game market by 2025. .

So you understand why PC makers are pulling out all the stops to make the most of this multi-billion dollar opportunity?

In recent years, the online gaming business in India has expanded tremendously. Many mobile gamers switched to PCs for a more immersive gaming experience, resulting in a surge in demand for gaming laptops. Especially in the midst of the pandemic, gaming devices have been a major contributor to overall revenues for these manufacturers. More than 35% of Acer’s consumer PC revenue now comes from gaming devices and for ASUS the segment now contributes up to 30% of total revenue and is expected to be 40% of that this year.

IDC, another market researcher, estimates that gaming PCs account for 16-18% of current total PC shipments. The gaming PC market has enjoyed healthy growth during the pandemic, especially in 2021 with a growth of more than 28.9%, emphasizes Bharath Shenoy, senior market analyst, PC devices, IDC India. Again, ResearchAndMarkets estimated the Indian gaming market at $1.89 billion in 2020 and projected it to reach $4.01 billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 16.22% over the forecast period 2021-26.

Brands like Acer, Lenovo and ASUS have raised the bar with cutting edge devices. Lenovo entered the gaming space about five years ago and has quickly built up its gaming PC business. In addition to the entry-level IdeaPad Gaming 3 series and the premium Lenovo Legion series, it recently added a 16-inch 16:10 display to its gaming laptop lineup. Ian Tan, Asia-Pacific gaming leader, Lenovo, says that the share of gaming PCs in total consumer business is growing annually, contributing strongly to both sales and profits.

From the entry-level Aspire 7 laptop suitable for casual gamers to the Nitro 5 for avid gamers, Acer is betting on its stack of gaming laptops that meet the demands of gamers in a variety of segments, including the Predator series for professional eSports players. The recently launched Predator Helios 300 SpatialLabs Edition enables glasses-free, stereoscopic 3D gaming experiences.

Both Lenovo and Acer have been very active in the gaming accessories segment with products such as monitors, mouse, keyboards and headphones contributing to the entire gaming ecosystem.

Sooraj Balakrishnan, head of marketing at Acer India, says the brand spends nearly 30% of its budget promoting gaming laptops through e-commerce, offline retail and digital platforms. Apart from that, it invests in worldwide tournament sponsorship and has its own Predator Gaming League where it hosts the best teams in the country in eSports competitions. It also has a gaming community – Planet9 – that trains gamers to develop their skills and become professional.

ASUS is not far behind. It has revamped its product range by introducing laptops with 12th generation Intel Core H series processors and the latest AMD Ryzen 6000 series mobile processors; it has bolstered its Zephyrus series and launched ROG Flow Z13, the detachable 2-in-1 gaming tablet. Arnold Su, head of business, consumer and gaming PC, systems business group, ASUS India, says the company saw its gaming laptop sales triple in 2021 compared to the years before Covid-19. In 2020, during the height of the pandemic, it sold more than 80% of the 14-inch Zephyrus G14 within 24 hours of its release. Last year it introduced the Flow X13, a convertible gaming laptop. The products start from 50,000 and go up to 3 million plus.

Retail expansion

While online sales are largely driven by price points, offline sales are driven by experience. Brands are now turning to their own website stores where they can bundle accessories and gain good traction, as well as attract traffic that will form a foundation for future sales.

Initially, the demand for gaming devices came from subways, but gradually it is now spreading to smaller cities. Shenoy of IDC India shares that entry-level gaming notebooks are currently in high demand (priced) 55,000-70,000), and these prices fluctuate during online sales and festival offers.

In Acer’s case, a majority of the online audience is made up of novice and avid gamers, while offline gets more attention from premium laptop buyers. Su informs that Asus has more than 180 exclusive stores and plans to add 20 stores per quarter. He adds: “We have 1,200 premium kiosks in tier III and IV cities. In addition, we have 6,000 dealer locations, exclusive brand stores, multi-brand retail stores and are available on e-commerce platforms.”

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