Computer Graphics Continue Steady Growth

Since it was established in the 1970s, the computer graphics market has been a growth industry. Recessions have come and gone, but new features and applications – UltraHD, the move to mobile – have continued to propel the market.

Jon Peddie Research predicts that the worldwide CG market will grow from a value of $105 billion in 2014, to more than $129 billion in 2018. Software will grow slightly faster than hardware.

Hardware has tended to enjoy steady growth. The overall PC market has declined 12% over the past year, but certain segments – monitors, workstations and PC gaming – have performed well. The total PC gaming market, for example, is estimated to be worth more than $30 billion. New activity in APIs, including developments such as DirectX 12 and Apple’s Meta, ‘will contribute to faster, richer, and higher resolution graphics for everyone’, writes JPR.

Computer Graphics Hardware Market
Vendor 2013 2014 2017 2018 2014 – 2018 CAGR
Monitors for Graphics $0.70 $0.68 $0.79 $1.79 27.4%
Workstations $7.15 $7.80 $8.73 $9.01 3.7%
Game Consoles $8.96 $12.48 $9.79 $9.79 -5.9%
Total Gaming PCs $20.88 $24.74 $29.97 $31.89 6.5%
Mobile Devices $67.86 $72.41 $87.38 $92.62 6.3%
Total $105.55 $118.11 $136.66 $145.10 5.3%
Source: JPR

The CG software market was worth $66 billion last year (excluding services, maintenance and other aspects). JPR predicts growth to $90 billion by 2018. The market will be driven by end-user software (such as games) and content creation tools. Software suppliers have also changed their sales model in recent years, moving online.

Traditional segments, like CAD/CAM, will expand as new design approaches are adopted in industries such as aerospace and automotive. The visualisation market is growing, due to the availability of more powerful and less expensive technologies. GPU compute, using OpenCL and CUDA, is penetrating further into new and traditional applications.

Market leaders, however, have had a tough time in software content creation. These vendors are operating in a mature market. There are new opportunities emerging, though, as new approaches to content creation become practical, new distribution channels open and younger generations arrive.

JPR details some of the workers and growing industries that use computer graphics; these include designers, artists and scientists; and start-ups working with AR, VR and casual games. The firm forecasts that the growth of the CG industry will remain steady for the foreseeable future.

Analyst Comment

One of Jon’s long term tenets is that “In computer graphics, too much is never enough”. Despite the vast processing power in modern graphics systems (which have multiple billions of transistors), there is still a long way to go before CG specialists are completely satisfied. (BR)