If you think the graphics industry has reached its peak, time to reconsider. A new study indicates that demand for graphics-related hardware, software and skilled personnel is going to grow in the coming years, even if the PC industry is still struggling.
The study, released Tuesday by Jon Peddie Research, said the growth will be driven by mobile devices, games, and the use of high-end graphics in a variety of applications. Graphics are increasingly being used in many fields, such as engineering firms employing computer graphic-based visualizations prior to implementation.
The study noted that "we are seeing new opportunities growing out of more mainstream applications for the Web and consumer applications." As with so many other fields, the Web's role as a distribution medium is driving a demand for new graphical experiences, which is being made possible by high-end integrated graphics now being offered in a variety of computers and mobile devices, and by a wider availability of fast connectivity.
$142 Billion a Year
In fact, it's difficult to find any industry that is not using computer graphics in some degree. Virtually every major TV series or movie utilizes computer-generated graphics, Sony and Microsoft's new gaming consoles will drive the production of a new generation of graphically intensive games, mobile devices are getting high-end displays, Web-delivered experiences are increasingly becoming visual, and virtually every scientific field uses some form of visualization.
The report said the hardware and software market for graphics in 2013 will be about $121.5 billion, an increase from 2012's $115.8 billion. By 2016, the market will be larger than $142 billion annually.
The hardware portion alone, which includes monitors, mobile components and gaming consoles, will reach nearly $107 billion this year, about $5 billion more than 2012. In 2010, the total revenue of the computer graphics hardware market was about $93 billion.
Imaging, video, simulation, CAD/CAM, animation and modeling software will be nearly $15 billion this year, about a half-billion dollars more than last year, excluding services and maintenance. By 2016, the computer graphics applications market is expected to reach about $17 billion.
The report notes that "the sharp curtailment of household and corporate spending during the recession has resulted in a renewed desire among consumers and businesses to begin increasing spending on the latest graphic software and hardware platforms."
It also pointed to expansion in certain CAD/CAM oriented fields, such as the automotive, aerospace, or architecture industries, and predicted that visualization, "a market that has been almost dormant for the past few years," is ready for a burst of growth because of cheaper, more powerful visualization technologies.
With Apple reportedly trying to buy the company behind the Kinect gestural controller, gestural interaction becoming a new norm in video gaming and possibly in personal computing, and visualizations of every sort and level becoming common, the predictions from Intel, Advanced Micro Devices, and others that we have now entered the era of visual computing could mean that this boom in graphics hardware, software, and talent is just beginning its rise.