Despite subdued growth internationally, there remains a strong and stable market for desktops and laptops in South Africa.
PC gaming is a growing market, with powerful hardware and high-end laptops required to run the latest games.
While dedicated gaming desktops are still popular among PC gamers, recent improvements in laptop technology have made portable rigs a viable option.
To determine just how popular gaming laptops are among South Africans – and if there is a market for high-end notebooks locally – MyBroadband spoke to local online PC retailers.
Raru head of retail Ramone Pickover told MyBroadband that the company’s gaming laptop sales are seeing strong growth.
“We have seen an increase in the last year, especially on the high-end models in trade. About 40% of our notebook sales are geared towards gaming,” said Pickover.
“This shows us that many of our customers are looking for a portable solution to their gaming needs.”
The demand for gaming laptops follows an increasing interest in competitive gaming, with titles like Fortnite, Dota 2, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive attracting massive prize pools and esports teams from around the world.
“[Gaming laptops] have become more popular in recent years as esports has become more popular, with the need to have a robust solution that fits in a bag, but also offers a premium competitive gaming solution,” he said.
Wootware has also noted an increase in laptop sales, the company told MyBroadband.
The increase in laptop sales also correlates with the launch of Intel’s latest mobile processors, which offer increased core counts and processing power compared to previous generations.
“Since the launch of the new 8th-gen range of notebooks, there has definitely been an increase in notebook sales in general, including gaming notebooks,” said Wootware founder Rory Magee.
“We’re already seeing increased sales compared to last year.”
Slim and powerful
Purchasing a gaming notebook has historically been a trade-off between power and portability.
While you could buy a high-end laptop with impressive performance and specifications, the device would be far less portable than a standard 15-inch notebook.
This has changed over the past year, however, with the release of Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 10-series graphics cards and their Max-Q mobile variants.
Gaming laptops with Nvidia Max-Q GPUs retain their portability and small size, while offering performance similar to their desktop counterparts.
This means users with dedicated gaming desktops and slim professional notebooks can purchase one of these new gaming laptops to serve both sets of needs.
The release of Intel’s 8th-gen processors for mobile devices has also made buying a new gaming laptop more attractive.
Compared to previous-generation chips, the processors offer increased core and thread counts – making them more efficient at handling demanding games and professional tasks.
These improvements to laptop hardware architecture could result in the gaming notebook market seeing more improvement, and sales growth, in the future.