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New market research reports and analytical forecasts are looking ahead to the future. They're measuring data that relates to current trends and predicting what things may be like as soon as 2015 and as far as 2018. The results? It doesn't look good for the general personal computer landscape.
Mashable captured some data from an IDC forecast from Statista that measured the sales base of tablet devices, including hybrids, and how well they've been adopted by the general public and how well they'll be adopted by the general public, using a progressive, visual data sheet that you can view below.
As you can see, the rise of tablet sales in comparison to laptops and PCs takes a nice upturn over the years; being less than half at 2012 but then skyrocketing to nearly 70% of the PC and laptop sales by 2013. 2014 – this year – is expected to see a near rival in sales between PCs, laptops and tablets. By 2015, the chart suggests – based on current consumer buying trends – the tablet market taking the lead. 2018 is pretty much how everyone expects things to look between the PS4 and Xbox One.
Of course, the above chart fits a story that's been told dozens upon dozens of times before: how the mobile market, both tablets and phones alike, will completely overthrow traditional home computing and home gaming entertainment.
Big publishers like Ubisoft have repeatedly pointed to the overthrow of traditional gaming by mobile devices. Companies see the growing trend of mobile gaming in expanding markets like Asia (and more specifically, Japan) and think it's the untapped gold mine that is the video game gold rush of the 2010s.
Ad revenue is up in mobile, everyone is playing mobile games in the average home; mobile is doing so well that Nintendo just needs to make iPhone games because mobile devices will consume them. PC gaming is dying, they say (even though it's doing just the opposite, especially in Germany).
While there's definitely some schlong fawning going on when it comes to mobile devices, one thing to keep in mind is that despite the high rise in actual device sales, there's no real trend of showing software moving more on mobile devices than dedicated gaming devices, and software spent on mobile games is still dwarfed by the PC and console market. And as noted by Gamasutra, only 0.77% of mobile users actually spend money on in-app purchases. Pretty abysmal.
The reality is that while the PC/laptop hardware sales are shrinking, digital software sales are still on the rise. As indicated by the Steam hardware survey, a lot of people are still rocking old PCs and laptops but still capable of playing the latest and greatest games. What we're seeing is a saturation of hardware by comparison, hence the massive growth of the tablet market.
Whether or not publishers will keep pursuing the all-elusive mobile crowd to tap into the paying crowd that makes up for only three-quarters of a percent is something that remains to be seen, but smart developers are sticking to where they know they have an audience after trying to run through the mobile pastures that weren't all too welcoming.