Sure, you can play some pretty sweet games on a console, smartphone, tablet or handheld. But nothing will ever compare to that hardcore gaming experience you get on a tricked-out, full-scale rig.
Fortunately, new PC gamers who are hungry for the best hardware are likely to give the industry a welcome boost in 2011.
Senior analyst Ted Pollak of Jon Peddie Research attributes the projected (and rather unusual) demand for hardware to "various influences," including the natural cycle of PC purchases, system demands of modern FPS/RTS titles, cheaper high-res displays, SSDs and the convenience of digital distribution services such as Steam/Direct2Drive.
However, Pollak also links the expected jump in hardware sales to a new generation of converted PC gamers tiring of the "limitations" imposed by aging console platforms.
Other critical factors include "widely applauded" advancements in Direct X 11, as well as the increasing appetite of PC gamers for high quality speaker systems, headsets, mice, cases, cooling and other accessories.
According to Pollak, the profile of the typical gamer has clearly changed over the past few years.
To be sure, most gamers are now classified as "technology enthusiasts" and equipped with the best cameras, several computers, new games, handheld consoles and often, a new phone every year.
Meanwhile, Jon Peddie, President of JPR, explains that interest in 3D capable machines and displays is growing, along with a rising demand for monitors that boast higher resolution and optimized color capabilities.
Traditionally used by graphic designers, "wide gamut" displays are capable of showing more of the color spectrum, often making games look better.
Peddie also notes that Enthusiast PC gamers are showing interest in displays which exceed 1080p - the maximum resolution HDTV and game consoles are capable of utilizing.