TIBURON, CA — The computer graphics industry has been a growth industry since it was established in the late 1970s. It has weathered the storms of the recession over the last five years and is now showing signs of renewed vigor and potential, partly due to a big boost from mobile.
The computer graphics hardware market was worth $93 billion in 2010 and is expected to exceed $107 billion in 2013, with software growing slight faster than hardware.
Figure 1 : Overall Computer Graphics Market
In 2012, the CG software market was worth $14 billion (not counting services, maintenance and other aspects) and is expected to grow to $17 billion by 2013 as the industry shakes off the remaining effects of the recession and starts upgrading software tools.
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 graphics software and hardware platforms. According to JPR, we will see the development of traditional segments like CAD/CAM expand as new design approaches in automotive, aerospace, and architecture are adopted. Visualization, a market that has been almost dormant for the past few years, is now poised for significant growth due to the availability of more powerful and less expensive visualization technologies.
The hardware segment of the CG industry has had steady growth, with the exception of gaming PC sales, which dropped by 3.16% over the past year. The largest growth has been in workstations and monitors, with (the already high) mobile graphics segment coming in a strong third.
Figure 2: Computer Graphics Software Market
Software programs for making movies, inspired by the thrill of 3D computer games, high-style products, and simulations of products and activities too expensive or too dangerous to test in reality, are exploiting the features of today's CG rendering technologies. The result will be amazing realism and real-time capabilities in the next generation of films and designs.
The demand for programmers, artists, scientists, and designers has picked up again and firms are actively looking for people who can use and exploit these new programs and their associated hardware accelerators.
We are seeing new opportunities growing out of more mainstream applications for the web and consumer applications. The web is growing as a distribution medium for graphics content, which in turn encourages people to pick up and learn new tools, create content for pleasure, and even look for jobs in the field. What used to be a very closed society of experts is now opening up due to the democratization of CG, fueled by Moore's law and price-elasticity due to lower software costs.
Figure 3: Computer Graphics Hardware Market
Given the trends in dropping costs, and the increasing users and usage of CG tools and hardware, we predict that the rate of growth for the CG industry will remain fairly steady for the foreseeable future. Computer graphics is truly a worldwide industry now.