Alun Morgan

If you want to know where tech is going, watch the kids.

Video game sales were valued at $79 billion in 2017, larger than the global PCB market and growing at about 14% per annum. As far as gaming hardware is concerned, combined sales of pure game consoles and high-performing PC graphics cards for gaming generate about $50 billion each year.

Short product lifetimes mean gaming hardware is a constant revenue driver. In addition, gamers’ demands for more lifelike experiences have driven rapid technological change, including the development of dedicated high-performance graphics processing units (GPUs), which first emerged in the late 1990s.

The GPU was initially conceived to boost 3-D graphics performance, taking on specific workloads such as triangle calculation. As GPU capabilities have increased, game designers have increased the complexity of their scenes to ensure ever-greater realism. Ultimately, of course, the benefits of this “arms race” have transcended the gaming community: GPUs are now found to be remarkably adept at taking on performance-hungry workloads such as AI acceleration and blockchain mining, tasks that much of today’s world depends on but that could barely have been on researchers’ radars when the first GPU chips hit the market.

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