While not the towering juggernaut that the console market is, the PC gaming hardware market has been showing steady growth in recent years, and in 2016 reached an all-time highest Total Available Market (TAM, which measures the total revenue made by a kind of product across all competitors) of $ 30 billion.
Jon Peddie Research (JPR), a technology market research and consulting firm, announced that the PC gaming hardware market breached the new high mark. For JPR, the PC gaming hardware market is "Comprised of pre and DIY built gaming computers, upgrades, and accessories such as input devices and audio/communication systems."
The largest area of growth for the PC gaming hardware market is the Asia-Pacific region, where, according to JPR, "an entrenched PC gaming culture, large population, and a lack of significant console traction" lead to an $ 11.3 billion TAM last year. While the Asia-Pacific experienced the most growth, North America and Europe lead the market for high-end hardware. As of 2016, entry-level hardware makes up 22 percent of sales, mid-range hardware makes up 35 percent of sales, and high-end hardware makes up 43 percent of sales, making the high-end market (where the fewer purchases lead to more money spent) the most lucrative.
JPR cites a number of factors for the increased attention to PC gaming hardware across the globe. "The desktop ergonomic is popular because the display distance offers increased detail when using HD and UHD monitors," said Ted Pollack, Senior Game Industry Analyst for JPR. "Additionally, product designers have given PC gamers thousands of options for complete customization from a functionally and aesthetic perspective." Between all the flight peripherals, PC parts, thin and performance laptops, and other accessories, the market is flooded with thousands of choices, and PC players are buying them up. "The western appetite for PC gaming systems costing thousands of dollars is strong," said JPR. Pollak also cites "superior control with mouse and keyboard control interfaces. This has been validated with eSports overwhelmingly being played on PCs."
Following the new all-time high, JPR expects PC gaming hardware to grow "at a 6 percent CAGR [Compound Annual Growth Rate] through 2019."
Note: This article was updated to better reflect that the study focused on PC gaming hardware, not software.
I don't necessarily disagree with mouse and keyboard being "superior" to controllers (Pollak's quote doesn't mention controllers or consoles by name, but I believe that's the implication), but I find it hard to imagine that them being better methods of control is a significant factor in the economical growth of the PC Gaming market. Anecdotally, most of the people I know get into PC gaming so they can run games better and then play them with controllers. But hey, I'm no expert.