Get a Console, not a Graphics Card
Does it makes sense on the current GPU economics?
There is something very wrong with the current pricing for graphic cards. Latest “next gen” cards have been put in the market with unfathomable prices, and pretty much everyone on the Internet is pissed off.
Look no further than the last 6 months. The newest RTX 4090 would have been a $599 card in any normal year, but it’s almost triple. The RX 7900 XTX would have been a decent $499 competitor, but AMD followed the price structure. NVIDIA responded with the RTX 4070 Ti that is not $399, but more than double at best.
The market has stagnated by a cementing a duopoly where both parties are not interested in competing by price, but rather, high margins. What you can do about it?
What makes sense for them
There are two key things that a publicly traded company, backed by investors which only care about profits, may want from the market:
- Few to none competitors
This was how Intel was back in the last decade, where AMD (or anybody) couldn’t compete in any price. As long that Intel offerings were superior, they where the ones setting the price structure. The market had to accept them.
It’s the same case for NVIDIA, but the company it’s more aggressive. This is true, given NVIDIA latest earning call, even if GPU sales have slowed down to an historical low. The money they make most is not on the gaming side since years, so they don’t care too much.
This has transformed the PC Gaming market from a mainstream to a niche, where only those who can fathom $1,000 graphic cards, and maintain it, can enter. Like dominoes, other manufacturers follow suit by selling “gaming” hardware that follow the higher price trends, like motherboards or peripherals. Everything becomes more expensive because there is proof: the market will pay that amount of money for games.
Steam says we’re in 2018
Steam Hardware Survey show that more than 50% of the current GPU models gamers have are old mainstream models from 2 years ago, even more. The three flagships of the list are the GTX 1650, GTX 1060, and RTX 2060.
It will be difficult to remove them from the Steam Hardware Survey given the current market shape. Remember the prices these cards had at launch? Since there is no performance upgrade for the same price, consumers will be hesitant to replace them for something that costs more. This is double true for laptops.
Radeon graphics participation in Steam is a joke that doesn’t deserve a mention.
What it makes sense to you
While the graphic card market is still on the “crypto hangover”, there are two options for gamers on the PC side of the equation.
The first option, the most risky, is to cautiously buy an used graphic card. You may find them on eBay, Wish, AliExpress, Facebook Marketplace, to to name a few. These reconditioned cards come from mining operations, but there are valid alternatives.
The second and most sane option is to buy an XBOX or PlayStation. You will have to pay some bucks to play online on some games (not all), but in exchange of the price tag you get a complete new system with zero of the headaches. You may not need a computer at all, if an iPad or cheap laptop works for your usual office & home tasks.
In the meantime, we can only wait some years until the market goes to normal, if it does. Depending on what hits the $499 markup, you may upgrade to an RTX 6080 or a PlayStation 6.