With the arrival of Cloud Gaming, it is possible for anyone to play without the need for a gaming console or PC, which in theory should go against the interests of GPU manufacturers but the lack of news from GPUs below $ 300 on the horizon alongside NVIDIA‘s GeForce NOW promotion makes us wonder if Cloud Gaming is the end of low-end graphics cards?
One of the things that we have found to be missing during this CES is a graphics card at affordable prices for the consumer market, which makes us think that GPU manufacturers could be betting on Cloud Gaming to sell their hardware directly to suppliers. of these services, instead of to the final consumer.
The rise of Cloud Gaming
Cloud Gaming or cloud gaming is booming, especially after the appearance of several new services from various companies such as Google Stadia, Amazon Luna, NVIDIA GeForce NOW, Microsoft XCloud, etc. Which have seen in the growth of internet bandwidth an opportunity to make viable a concept that until years ago was almost a utopia.
The advantage of the game in the cloud for the user is that it avoids having to buy the hardware that reproduces the game since it moves to the server side, which is apparently a disadvantage for the manufacturer of said hardware, but it really is not thus, since this is sold to cloud service providers, so from the perspective of Intel, AMD, NVIDIA and other companies in the sector it is nothing more than a change of client.
Where are NVIDIA’s low-end GPUs?
After the CES presentation there is a question that many have not asked: where are the GeForce RTX 3050? Let’s not forget that the RTX 2050 never appeared and instead we received the GTX 1660 and 1650, but NVIDIA after presenting its RTX 3060 has not announced any other model below, indeed, if we look at the list of GPUs that are have leaked we can see how there is no mention of a graphics card below the RTX 3060.
If we add to this the interest of NVIDIA to promote GeForce NOW, this makes us think that the company Jensen Huang has completely left the race of GPUs for the low-end consumer range. but, what could be the reasons for this progressive abandonment of NVIDIA to the lowest range of the market?
The answer may lie in the increased cost of the chips in the new nodes and the very low margins that exist in the low consumer range, for NVIDIA and the like it is much easier and more profitable to sell the GPU to a gaming service provider. in the cloud with a high economic capacity that does not reach a group of users from which it obtained very little or almost nothing per graphics card sold.
The sector of PCs dedicated to education
One of the changes in the forms of consumption produced by COVID-19 is the rise of what we could call tele-teaching, which requires that each student have a computer. Since computers tend to exceed the average capital available for school supplies, this has made it necessary to implement a new type of PC.
These PCs are not usually based on the x86 platform and if they are based they do not have enough power to play high-caliber games and not the expandability to do so. The situation is that a significant part of gamers are minors and once they have obtained their computer from school and institute for their parents, who really control their children’s capital, there will be no motivation to buy a new PC or another more powerful.
The only way to reach that audience is through cloud gaming, which needs data centers with GPUs to function and this is where the business is highly profitable for hardware manufacturers, since the margins at the time of selling a graphics card to a cloud service provider is much higher than doing it to the lower end of the mass market.