GPU Analyst Says Prices Will Come Crashing Down When Gamers Take A Stand

GeForce RTX 3090
As the days and months go on, it gets increasingly difficult to remember a time when graphics card were plentiful and ripe for picking, like an orchard full of delicious apples just waiting to be yanked. Will things ever return back to normal? There have been some encouraging signs and developments, though for prices and availability to truly improve, gamers may need to take a stand.

In a blog post on Graphics Speak, Jon Peddie, a well-known GPU analyst, outlines how we got to this point and what it could take to flip the script on scalpers and price gougers.

"There’s a good probability that these inflated prices will come crashing down as gamers just say no, and the speculators and gougers find themselves with inventory they can’t sell. It hasn’t happened as quickly as gamers might like, but when it does, it will be satisfying to see the gougers lose out," Peddie concludes.

Leading up to his conclusion, Peddie offers up some interesting insight into the GPU market landscape and some historical context. He goes back to 2010, which is when we first saw GPUs being used in volume to mine cryptocurrency, starting with Bitcoin. ASICs would take over, but then came Ethereum and with it more surges, in 2017 an 2020-2021.

"In both instances, shortages of add-in boards (AIBs) occurred, which drove up the end-user price—classic supply and demand. As Ethereum value started to surge with the pandemic, clever speculators ran bots to buy every new AIB that came on the market. Then speculators offered those AIBs at two or three times the price they bought them for. And that happened as the supply chain was crashing and inventories dried up," Peddie points out.

What's especially interesting, according to Peddie's data, is that the surge in GPUs for gaming hit PCs the hardest. While gaming consoles are seeing high demand as well, the price increases haven't been on the same level. Likewise, Peddie says arcade systems, which are especially popular in Asia, have not seen substantial price increases.

Select AIB GPU pricing
Source: Jon Peddie (via Graphics Speak)

It's the desktop that's being hit the hardest, too. Graphics cards have seen price increase of 2x an sometimes 3x over laptop GPUs. According to Peddie, this means we can rule out a supply shortage as the culprit, and lay the blame squarely on "miners, speculators, and gougers. This is no joke."

One other interesting tidbit—Peddie says GPUs suppliers are not really benefiting from all this (which may seem hard to believe on the heels of the GeForce RTX 3090 Ti, a $1,999 graphics card). Instead, retail channels like Amazon, Best Buy, Newegg, and others are the ones reaping the rewards of a surge in pricing. And of course so are scalpers.

Even so, taking a stand is easier said than done because it requires a mass effort. Fortunately, there are other factors that could help bring prices down, such as Intel entering fray with Arc Alchemist, Ethereum switching to a proof-of-stake model, and continued improvements in supply.
Tags:  GPU, graphics cards