The pandemic saw not only a spike in the number of new PCs sold in India, but also the categories these PCs came from. One of the biggest changes was perhaps seen in the laptop segment which quickly became an all-in-one solution for those who had to study, work, play or do all of those things in an affordable single device.This resulted in the number of gaming laptops sold in the country going up by many times during the pandemic years.
In a podcast with indianexpress.com, Arnold Su, Business Head – Consumer and Gaming PC, ASUS India revealed that the number of gaming machines sold in India went up to about 8,00,000 in 2021 compared to just 40,000 units in 2016.
However, the big increase is not just because of new people coming to gaming.
New verticals for gaming laptops
As Su said, the rise can be attributed to not just more gamers, but also more use-cases for gaming machines. This was especially true for gaming laptops, which have now become more versatile than ever, catering to the needs of gamers who also work, study, create content or simply, binge Netflix.
“Lots of customers procure a gaming machine just because they want a powerful machine,” Su said in the interview, adding that, “When we look at gaming now, we don’t look at only pure gaming, but also at content creation. We also look at multitasking and then we start to create a new segment to meet the customer’s requirement.”
Gaming laptops have always been more-performance oriented, which made them great for gaming, of course, but also when you wanted to work, edit videos, code or even transfer large files, among a plethora of other use-cases that demand power.
Large, heavy and often bulky, gaming laptops aren’t the easiest to carry around, but for many, that problem didn’t really matter during the first year of the pandemic as there was hardly any travel possible.
However, as we head into 2022, the situation is changing. Remote work, and even hybrid work-from-home and office-work cultures are being quickly adopted. New laptops now need to be more portable, and also cater to more users not just by performance, but also by design.
Su explained this with the case of webcams, tech that was almost eliminated from some ASUS gaming laptops series, but had to be brought back last year after the brand observed that having a webcam has become a must, even in gaming machines, thanks to the dependence on video conferencing.
Brands have also begun exploring new designs for gaming laptops. Take Lenovo’s Legion Slim 7 or the Asus ROG Flow X13 for instance. These are performance-oriented machines that also focus on portability and convertible, multi-use-case designs respectively.
Gaming laptops are also very popular among content creators, who desire powerful machines that they can carry around. The rise in the number of content creators over the last couple of years as well as new designs being more suited to them have both been important factors in gaming laptop sales.
“After the pandemic, the number of Indian creators like podcasters and YouTubers has increased a lot,” Su said.”Just using a mobile phone is not enough to create content. Although there are some mobile phones powerful enough to create content, PCs are still widely used for content creation while mobiles are used for content consumption,” he further explains.
The GPU crises and role of crypto-mining
While the versatility of customers has indeed played a big role in adding to gaming laptop sales, pure gamers who want a gaming PC have also been gravitating towards gaming laptops due to the sky-high prices of graphics cards, a crucial component in Gaming PCs. Interestingly, these are also enablers for minting cryptocurrency. Faced with supply issues, discrete card prices have been upwards of two-fold their normal rates in the pandemic.