WidowPC Gaming Computers - PC Gamers Edge Out Console Players
PC gamers are a powerful group, and we're not going away! That means that we'll see an ever-increasing and ever-improving selection of games and gaming computers.
The following are excerpts from an article at SiliconValley's web site.
"Just when it seemed that PC gaming would be eclipsed by another new generation of video game consoles, the computer gaming market has come roaring back to put a little spice in the summer.
Today, Advanced Micro Devices will unveil a new gamer's microprocessor, the AMD Athlon 64 FX-57. Nvidia has launched a new graphics chip, the GeForce 7800 GTX with twice the performance of its previous chip. And Electronic Arts is offering `Battlefield 2,' a high-profile online combat game for the PC that exploits the fastest machines.
Sales of offline PC games are off 11 percent so far this year and were down 11 percent last year from 2003, according to market researcher NPD Group. However, online PC gaming is growing rapidly, industry insiders said. If online games are counted, then PC game sales are increasing.
This trio of events suggests the specialty market for gamer personal computers can still make comebacks even as interest in console gaming grows. It seems to be thriving in spite of the impending launches of new video game consoles for televisions. No one tracks sales in this market, but chip companies and makers of displays and other gadgets continue to pour marketing and resources into developing the coolest gamer `bling.'
`The market is big enough now to justify multiple chips in a gamer product line,' said Jonathan Seckler, Athlon 64 product manager at Sunnyvale-based AMD.
Although dozens of companies sell machines to gamers, the handful of companies that customize their computers for gamers are still leading the pack, says Loyd Case, editor of ExtremeTech, which runs www.extremetech.com for tech enthusiasts.
Gaming computer makers [Editor's note: like WidowPC . . . ] seem to have held off the likes of Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Gateway. HP and Gateway dipped their toes into the market but haven't consistently refreshed their lineups.
`Only Dell still has a presence,' Case says. `The other guys haven't followed up and been patient enough. But that's not because it's a bad market. My impression is that it is still a healthy and growing business.'
Dell has aggressively launched new Dimension XPS desktop gamer models and Inspiron XPS gamer laptops. But it has been hamstrung in part because it doesn't buy chips from AMD, which observers say has come to dominate the high-end gaming market. AMD has focused on delivering the fastest single-core chips, and has marketed heavily toward gamers by showing up at game tournaments and other gamer events.
Even if Dell did buy from AMD, it would have trouble launching the newest machines in a timely manner. That's because Velocity Micro can launch a new machine with just hundreds of chips in stock, while Dell needs higher numbers. By sticking with Intel, Dell is offering dual-core Pentium 4 chips. But gamers don't really need those chips, which have two microprocessors on one chip, Case said, because the games that exploit them haven't been created yet.
The question is whether gamer computers can catch on in the mainstream. The high prices for the machines shut out budget-conscious consumers. But several of the boutique companies are offering entry-level machines for $999 to $2,000. Velocity Micro is offering some machines at Best Buy stores, and Alienware is expanding into areas where it competes more broadly against Dell.
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