The Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 will primarily be driven by AMD hardware, and have the potential to be quite powerful when they go on sale near the end of the year. Desktop gaming PCs are always a competitor, but Nvidia thinks the biggest challenger to the new consoles will be gaming laptops. In a recent conference call with investors, Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang said that the gaming laptop category is essentially a "new game console" in its own right, and the largest one at that, in terms of popularity.
Jensen's comment came in response to a question about projected gaming laptop sales this year.
"Our notebook business ... has seen double-digit growth for eight consecutive quarters, and this is unquestionably a new gaming category," he said. "Like it's a new game console. This is going to be the largest game console in the world I believe. And the reason for that is because there are more people with laptops than there are of any other device."
"The fact that we've been able to get RTX into a thin and light notebook is really a breakthrough," Jensen added. "And it's one of the reasons why we're seeing such great success in notebook."
Nvidia's introduction of Max-Q designs made this possible. While Max-Q GPUs are not as powerful as their counterparts, they do allow for thinner and lighter form factors. For example, MSI's G65 Stealth Thin, one of the best gaming laptops, measures just 0.69 inches thick and weighs just over 4 pounds. Same goes for Acer's Triton 500, which packs a GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q GPU inside a laptop that measures 0.7 inches thick and weighs 4.41 pounds.
Be that as it may, do the numbers add up? According to IDC (opens in new tab), gaming notebook shipments grew nearly 13 percent year-over-year in the second quarter of 2019. At the time of the report, IDC had forecast 19.4 million gaming laptop shipments for the full year.
As PCGamesN (opens in new tab) notes, 106 million PS4s have been sold over the past six years. That works out to around 18 million per year on average. During its first year, the PS4 sold 13.7 million units.
So from my vantage point, yes, the numbers do add up: Gaming laptops are a big deal right now. It's hard to predict how things will go when the Xbox Series X and PS5 arrive, or what effect Nvidia's upcoming Ampere GPUs will have, but it is fair to say that gaming laptops represent a major force in the industry, and that they can easily be hooked up to a TV should help them compete with the consoles.
Thanks, Seeking Alpha.