Working alongside the hardware industry in Taipei, Taiwan, gives one an almost unique insight in the thought processes that affect product marketing and development in the computer hardware industry. Reading this editorial written by Vlad Savov and published at The Verge, I found myself agreeing with pretty much everything.
The key argument throughout the editorial is that Taiwan based computer hardware manufacturers are betting high on the PC Gaming surge resulting in new-found profits, but are limited by their own desperate attempts at making interesting products. Hence the sub-title "When all else fails, put LED racing stripes on it", a trend which makes overclockers and enthusiasts that care about high-quality hardware components cringe. Jon Peddie research indicates the PC gaming market produced $21.5 billion in hardware sales last year. Most interesting is that in the face of a declining PC market, gaming PC sales are expected to grow over the next couple of years. The Jon Peddie Research analysis suggests that about 40% of the revenue comes from the so-called enthusiast segment.
One of the key differences comparing the luxury sport cars to high-end desktops is that expensive OEM builds can often be replaced with cheaper, custom builds. To quote The Verge: "Sports cars are sold as discrete luxury items with no immediate alternative. Gaming PCs put on the same airs, but can be replaced by far cheaper and more personal custom builds. Their only advantage is more immediate convenience. And so, even though the flashing LED lights on a gaming laptop might suggest the opportunity for improving profit margins through smarter styling and marketing, it remains highly unlikely that any of these companies will find the gamer salvation that they’re desperately hoping for."
In the end, what the hardware vendors need to figure out is how to entice enthusiasts. We need more than a couple of controllable LEDs to find the energy to boast about your new products and designs! And if you're eager to find out who are the real enthusiasts adopting new technologies, consider that in August the Windows 10 adoption measured by Steam Survey is 16%. At HWBOT we see 60% (!) of the XTU submissions on Windows 10.