China Joy: Intel Doubles Down On China’s Hardcore PC Gamers

Amid a saturating PC market, Intel is sticking to one of its largest and most loyal user bases: hardcore PC gamers in China.

Intel joined Acer Inc. on Thursday to jointly launch the latter’s latest high-performance gaming laptop, the Predator GX-791. The souped up Predator is equipped with Intel’s i7 processor, a NVIDIA GTX 980 graphics card, and an improved cooling system that lets gamers pump their CPU up to 4.0GHZ.

“The users [of this laptop] are top level gamers,” says Haibo Pan, Senior Business Manager at Acer. “These people are definitely looking for the best overclocking experience.”

Partnering with Acer on the Predator GX-791 is Intel’s latest move to attract hardcore PC gamers in China, as well as worldwide. While general PC sales are slowing, China’s PC gaming market is still robust. According to market research firm Newzoo, revenue from China’s PC and MMO (massively multiplayer online game) market makes up almost half the country’s total games revenue, which is estimated to hit $24.4 billion USD in 2016.

“This is our market,” says Jingxiang He, the General Manager of Intel Asia Pacific R&D, referring to China’s gaming market. “We have a dedicated team in China that works with our partners to create a gaming ecosystem that fits China and has Chinese characteristics.”

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The Predator GX-791

Despite a solid user base, mobile gaming has been eating into China’s PC gaming market. According to big data and analytics firm Data Eye, mobile gaming revenue jumped from 5% of China’s gaming market in 2012 to 36% in 2015. Even with the rise of eSports in China, where gamers participate in live tournaments such as the League of Legends World Championships, Intel will have to move beyond hardcore PC gamers to maintain growth in China.

The company has not had an easy year. In April, Intel cut 12,000 jobs and reported slower revenue growth from its data centers. It also cancelled its Broxton and SoFIA SoC (System-on-a-Chip) plans, which were supposed to propel Intel into the smartphone chip market currently dominated by Qualcomm.

The company still managed to pull in $13.5 billion USD in revenue during the second quarter of this year. Intel has also branching out into other areas, such as game consoles. During CES Asia in May, Intel, Tencent, and Haier jointly launched the Tencent Games Platform (TGP) Box, a console that runs Windows 10. Intel also has plans to unveil its own VR-specific products at the end of the year, according to Kit Ho Chee, the director of platform management and operations at Intel.

Image credit: Intel

Update (7/29/2016 11:07): This post was updated to correct an error. The total revenue for China’s games market in 2016 is estimated to be worth $24.4 billion USD not $24.9 billion USD.