Personal computers started to become a central part of our lives in the late 1970s, with the introduction of games, the internet and other advances making them increasingly popular for the next few decades. Despite regular reports in the last few years claiming that the PC is dead, there are currently signs that it is once again becoming a major force to be reckoned with.
The first indication that more people are turning to PCs comes with the increasing sales figures. A Gartner and International Data Corporation study revealed that sales of computers rose by over 11% in the second quarter of 2020 when compared to the previous year. The top three manufacturers were listed as HP, Lenovo, and Dell. When we take 2020 as a whole, the total number of personal computers sold was higher than at any point since 2014. With over 300 million units sold, the sales figure was some 13% higher than it had been in 2019. Lenovo ended the year firmly on top, with a 24% market share.
Why did so many people decide to buy a PC in the last year? There is no doubt that the global shift towards home working had something to do with it. By mid-2020, over 40% of the American workforce was working from their homes. Upwork’s Future of Workforce Pulse Report suggests that one of every four Americans will work from home in 2021, with over 36 million of us expected to be doing this in 2025. One of the effects of this massive move towards a new way of working has been the need for people to create new home offices, or update their existing offices. This has meant a surge in PC-buying. It isn’t just limited to the US either, as the concept of working remotely has taken a grip of many different countries around the planet.
Different Ways of Enjoying Entertaining Content
One of the key ways that our changing work patterns have impacted our habits is that many people – all over the world – have needed to brush up on their computing skills and find ways to make their computers more secure. Carrying out a Zoom call, loading documents onto a cloud service, or adding Safari as your Windows browser aren’t particularly difficult tasks, but 2020 saw a rush of newcomers learning how to carry out these and other tasks.
With this newly-gained knowledge, they were able to look into ideas such as streaming entertainment via computer. Live streaming of music concerts proved especially popular in 2020, with the record number of viewers sitting at 756,000 for the June 2020 Bang Bang Con concert by South Korean band BTS. Live casino games have also gained ground thanks to the popularity of streaming. The Betway casino has options like baccarat and roulette, as well as poker and wheel of fortune-style games. Their site confirms that the Andar Bahar card game that is popular in India and Live Bollywood Roulette are also available in this way, showing us that the market is growing in India, as well as in other parts of the world. The streaming option has also allowed more people to carry out their hobbies or learn new skills using their PC. Fitness and yoga classes on zoom have become highly advanced in the last year or so, with instructors following some simple tips from Zoom to produce polished, professional sessions that are easy to follow.
Where the PC Hasn’t Prevailed
An interesting survey from DFC Intelligence suggested in 2020 that 48% of the world’s three billion gamers use a PC to play. Yet, they also pointed out that many of us now use more than one device for this hobby. This research appears to confirm that it is no longer a case of PC vs consoles when it comes to how gamers play. The most popular games for Windows in 2020 included Minecraft, Dota 2, and PUBG.
This is worth looking into in more detail, as it has been suggested in the past that consoles like the PlayStation and Xbox could kill off personal computers. Yet, the arrival of Google Stadia, xCloud, and the PS Now service from Sony suggests the big technology firms think that PCs will survive. Indeed, it could be that PCs end up killing off consoles instead of the other way round, as more people are turning to powerful, versatile gaming computers that they can work and play on.
Taking all of these issues into account, it seems clear that personal computers are once again at the center of our lives, which means that we can look forward to more varied, interesting ways of doing what we enjoy in the future.