No one is simply a gamer anymore. Or at least that’s what most manufacturers over at Computex 2019 would have you believe. There was one overarching theme for this year’s PC hardware tech extravaganza in Taipei: content creation. And business is booming.
Computex is our favourite calendar event of the year. From the smallest brands to the world’s major manufacturing goliaths, it’s an open call to all purveyors of PC hardware and tech, and a giant playground for all those who rank tech gossip among their preferred pastimes. I can also assure you it’s a great place to get your 10,000 steps for the day into a single morning.
The show has always had one foot in B2B and another in gaming. In years gone by the focus on the latter has shifted from hardcore, LN2 overclocking products to the lightest, fastest competitive esports gear. But in 2019, esports itself has made way for another hot new trend. Yes, you’re all far more than gamers now – and, sorry, you have no say in the matter – you’re all megatasking, streaming, vlogging content creators making the ‘big bucks’ after putting your life on the web.
Creators are the new premium segment: a burgeoning addressable market most companies can utilise to upsell high-end product.
It’s not just the usual prosumer brands taking a shot on this growing market, either. Gaming brands, including Cooler Master, MSI, Asus, Gigabyte Aorus, and Nvidia, all brought heaps of tools for content creators to the show.
Take the Aorus AIC for example, the “world’s fastest and largest” PCIe 4.0 SSD. Does it still hold that title since a week ago? Who can say, it might not have held that title for more than a few hours following the flurry of Computex announcements. Either way, this is a gaming branded Aorus product that’s built entirely for the growing content creation market. Hence the massive 8TB capacity, blisteringly fast 15,000MB/s speeds, and what’s sure to be a colossal price tag.
Or maybe the ASRock X570 Creator, a high-capacity, 10G LAN, connectivity driven motherboard built to suit the needs of the modern multitasker. What it lacks is the liquid-cooling and flash aesthetics of its high-end gaming sibling, the ASRock X570 Aqua.
The MSI Prestige X570 Creation is a similar fare from the dragon emblazoned lot, a part of its Prestige “we are creators” range. The Prestige P100 is a similar small form factor rig to the Trident X, albeit with MSI’s customisable creator center [sic] app, and a far more palatable aesthetic for creators’ eyes.
And it’s not just ASRock or MSI, either. The X570 platform, by AMD’s design, is tailored to aid content creators and professionals alongside its multi-core Ryzen 3000 CPUs. The extra bandwidth provided via the PCIe 4.0 connection isn’t really going to make your graphics card game any faster, but it sure will help you load your rig up with superfast NVMe storage capacity.
In lieu of any major gaming announcements, Nvidia touted its answer to the creator conundrum at Computex: Nvidia RTX Studio laptops. These MacBook-baiting alternatives were the talk of the town over at Nvidia’s Taiwan office, with the green team peddling its RTX 20-series GPUs for much more than gaming, or even ray tracing. Instead it believes the Tensor Cores within its GPUs are useful for far more within a professional creatives workload.
Those powerful laptops will also see gaming brands, such as Razer, Gigabyte, and MSI, take their traditional high-end gaming machines to the wider professional market. Gigabyte’s latest Aero laptop designs, which are some of our favourites, are now also “designed for content creators.”
But it all makes sense as to why these brands are branching out. The stats are in. Gaming video content viewership, across the major sites including Youtube and Twitch, increased 28% from 2017 to 2018. That’s a grand ol’ sum of 850 million viewers last year, and that’s only set to increase through 2019.
And without GPU mining to bolster many gaming companies financials, it’s up to marketing departments to uncover the next big trend in the market.
Which explains why gamers are not supposed to only be gamers anymore. Or at least that’s been the theme for Computex 2019. But don’t let the furious marketing drive you inexorably to life in the public eye. While you might be able to stream, game, and record simultaneously on the very latest, expensive tech, you can still have a seriously good time in-game with or without broadcasting your mug to the world.
And you absolutely don’t need the pinnacle of high-end PC tech to stream, either. Streaming emerged from run-down rigs, makeshift studios, and ageing PC hardware. Money might be able to buy you stream fidelity and a fancy gaming chair, but, if you really want to broadcast to the world, passion will get you much further.