For most of 2020, the focus in gaming was on the new console launches of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. These two next-gen products released in November, and to great success, with the consoles still out-of-stock even now, three months on.
However, we cannot underestimate the success PC gaming had in 2020, either, with some equally strong PC hardware and software also launching to much demand in the latter half of 2020.
Because of this success, it appears the PC gaming market has had a tremendous boost in 2020, according to the latest figures...
Latest PC sales figures
According to The NPD Group's most recent data, consumers spent $4.5bn on PC gaming hardware and accessories in 2020 - an increase of 62% when compared to 2019. This figure includes the sales of headsets, monitors, keyboards and other hardware components such as NVIDIA and AMD's most recent graphics cards.
Spending on PC software was also up 19% in 2020, with consumers spending an estimated $7.5bn on digital games. Based on Steam's Best of 2020, this spending was boosted by a mix of new titles such as Cyberpunk 2077, DOOM Eternal, Fall Guys and Among Us, along with sustained income from CS:GO, GTA V, DOTA 2, and Rainbow Six Siege.
Looking forward to 2021, NPD's Stephen Baker stated the group expects to see 3% growth for PC gaming this year. "While we remain optimistic about the outlook for PC gaming hardware and accessories for the future, and expect the segments growth rate will exceed that of the total industry, we do not expect ongoing incremental dollar increases, but rather a plateauing of demand at these new elevated levels."
Why has PC gaming grown so much?
Baker cited COVID-19 as a key reason for such unprecedented growth in one year. The lockdown measures implemented meant that "consumers looked for ways to stay entertained while spending more time at home."
NPD's Mat Piscatella also commented on the accessibility and innovation that comes with PC gaming. "PC gaming is the most innovative, open and content-diverse segment in the video game industry," Piscatella said. "It is also one of the most accessible, as many households have a desktop or laptop computer."