The PC is the driving force defining the future of gaming, and 2016 delivered in spades.
It’s no shock that the action was focused on PCs. It’s the most open, customizable, scalable gaming platform – the home of passionate fans. Where the limits of realism, immersion and storytelling get pushed by hardware innovators and game developers.
But even by the platform’s usual dynamic standards, stunning progress was made this past year. Consider the spread of eSports, the surge in digital content sharing, the transformation of games into Hollywood-like spectacles, and the rise of VR.
As one of the world’s biggest gaming brands – with a community of over 200 million GeForce gamers – we did our part to help shape the future of this incredible force.
PC Gaming Booming, Revenue Doubles
The PC’s share of global gaming revenue continues to grow. PC game revenue hit $31 billion in 2016, doubling over the past five years, according to market research firm DFC.
The number of core PC gamers is climbing, too — expected to grow 50 million in 2017 to 400 million, according to market researcher New Zoo. We estimate 70 percent of them play on GeForce gaming PCs. Reflecting these trends, our gaming business has doubled in the past five years.
It’s a business that’s on the move, in part because gaming laptops now go wherever gamers do. With the huge power efficiency gains achieved with our Pascal architecture, gamers can now enjoy a full desktop gaming experience on a laptop, including virtual reality. Our family of 10-Series gaming laptops is complete with the launch of GeForce GTX 1050 at CES, adopted in over 30 designs. In 2016 we saw sales of gaming laptops accelerate, becoming effectively the fastest-growing gaming platform.
These laptops offer gamers a great 1080p gaming experience and anchor our offering all the way up to our flagship GeForce GTX 1080. All told, more than 200 GeForce GTX laptop models were released in 2016, the most in our history. In 2016 gamers bought almost three times as many gaming laptops as they did two years ago.
Let’s take look at what else is driving this growth.
Forget Soccer, eSports Will Be Biggest Sport
eSports was born on the PC and will remain players’ platform of choice. Nothing compares to the PC’s keyboard and mouse for mastering control of player versus player gaming, and it has further cemented its leadership in 2016 by attracting a new generation of PC gamers – the number of MOBA players increased to 100 million in 2016 from 70 million in 2015, according to DFC.
And like any sport, eSports is also building a passionate audience of spectators that rivals and surpasses some of the largest sports in the world. Casual and diehard fans alike tune in online or on TV to watch their favorite teams compete.
More fans watched the League of Legends finals than the NBA Finals. Remarkably, the global audience for eSports hit a record 323 million viewers in 2016, according New Zoo. One day eSports could be the largest spectator sport.
Fast paced, competitive multiplayer games are becoming much more graphically rich, and the top AAA titles released this year have delivered amazing realism, effects and storytelling.
Following the success of our Maxwell family, we delighted PC gamers this year with the release of our Pascal family, the 10-series. In fact over the past 5 years GeForce performance has increased by 10X.
These performance gains gave developers an open canvas to push the envelope, and they are taking advantage of it. Some of the most visually rich, physically accurate stories we’ve ever seen launched this year. Major hits including Battlefield 1, TitanFall2, The Division, now boast life-like details that easily rival Hollywood.
We see this trend continuing, as the graphics performance recommended by developers to play the top games released in 2016 increased dramatically. For example, the performance required for Call of Duty Black Ops in 2010 to Infinite Warfare in 2016 increased by 10x.
It’s no surprise, then, that the PC has become the pre-eminent publishing platform for AAA content. Over half of developers targeted the PC first in 2016, more than any other platform, according to the annual Game Developers Conference State of the Industry Survey. Last year, more than 3,500 PC games were released, bringing the total to well over 10,000, compared to 1,000 for current generation consoles.
Your Gaming System Will Eat Your Social Network
As the PC platform continues to grow, PC gaming community has grown with it. More than ever, PC gamers want to boast about their wins, share their gameplay and learn from each other. The past year saw a large increase in gamers sharing recorded video and live streams of their gameplay.
The amount of content available for gaming fans to enjoy has exploded, and gamers have taken advantage. In 2016 over 600 million users watched gaming video content globally with 2 trillion minutes of game content streamed.
To make game sharing easy and accessible for everyone, we released a complete update to GeForce Experience. With a single click gamers can record their game play for others to watch on demand, or stream it live to Twitch and YouTube.
Others are seeing this trend, too. Facebook recently launched a live service as a destination for streaming and viewing gameplay. We just announced that GeForce Experience will seamlessly connect directly to Facebook’s 1.8 billion monthly active users.
World’s First 4K G-SYNC HDR Monitors Will Shock You
A GeForce gaming PC is not complete without a great gaming monitor. This past year saw the release of exciting G-SYNC gaming monitors with features like 4K resolution, curved displays, and 120Hz frequency from virtually every monitor brand – and 2017 in following the same path.
At CES we just announced the newest addition to our G-SYNC monitors featuring the most advanced HDR panel ever created – enabling a wider and richer range of colors, with brighter whites, and deeper, darker blacks. These new gaming monitors join the 60 G-SYNC monitors and laptops on the market today.
Entering 2017 the PC gaming ecosystem is thriving. It’s open, innovative, and adaptable in ways no other platform can be. And the fundamentals driving its growth — advances in graphics, technology like VR and AR, and the ability to share digital content freely — are stronger than ever.