PC gamers are paying more for GPUs, and NVIDIA claims it knows why

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 (Image credit: Harish Jonnalagadda / Windows Central)

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070

Source: Harish Jonnalagadda / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Harish Jonnalagadda / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • PC gamers are spending $300 more on GPUs than the graphics cards that they're replacing, according to NVIDIA's Jeff Fisher.
  • The starting prices of high-end GPUs have crept up over the years.
  • The ongoing global chip shortage has caused graphics cards to retail at higher price points than their standard MSRPs.
  • Fisher shared that only (approximately) 29% of NVIDIA gamers have upgraded to RTX graphics.

The best graphics cards are difficult to get your hands on these days, but people who do manage to order them appear to be willing to pay more than in the past. According to NVIDIA SVP Jeff Fisher, gamers are "buying up" and spending $300 more on the new GPU compared to what was spent on the one being replaced.

While the data seems to show that people are willing to pay more for a high-end GPU, the justification for that spending is unclear. A recent statement by Fisher suggests that the graphics cards of today offer a strong value proposition.

"Looking into the millions of desktop GeForce gamers who we know have upgraded their GPU to a 30-series, they are buying up," said Fisher. "The GPU is offering more value than ever. Based on our data, they are spending $300 more than they paid for the graphics card they replaced."

Nvidia Stats

Source: NVIDIA/Valve (Image credit: Source: NVIDIA/Valve)

However, rather than because of any supposed value, PC gamers may instead be paying more for GPUs because they don't have a choice. The starting prices of high-end GPUs have crept up over the years (via PCMag). The NVIDIA GTX 1070 launched with an MSRP of $379 in 2016. When the RTX 3070 launched, it had a starting price of $499, and even that larger number often transformed into $700 or more depending on the vendor.

The ongoing global chip shortage has caused the real-world cost of GPUs to exceed their recommended pricing as well. If a newer NVIDIA GPU is in stock, it's not uncommon to see it retail for well above MSRP.

Fisher noted that roughly 29% of NVIDIA gamers have upgraded to RTX graphics cards. The SVP focused on the fact that there is a large market for growth among PC gamers that prefer NVIDIA GPUs. The flip side of that is that since graphics card prices have gone up so much over the years, people may be willing to hold onto older hardware for longer.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com (opens in new tab).

  • While I don't know what datasets are out there saying one way or another, I think there are several factors regarding what price people are willing to pay for a GPU. Admittedly, I'm not a high-end gamer who buys the most expensive GPUs, but I just can't justify paying the inflated prices for a GPU nowadays. I would rather work with what I have, or do something other than gaming until prices get more reasonable. I've been priced out of the market in some ways. I could be the odd one out, though.
  • You're definitely not the odd one out; a lot of people are in your situation on the PC gaming front.
  • "The crypto era has begun. Now, the choice is to either learn how to mine crypto and pick the best GPUs for crypto mining, or cling to physical currency and hope it maintains a place in the new world order." —You, in September
  • Magically, crypto doesn't appear in this analysis at all. "While the data seems to show that people are willing to pay more for a high-end GPU, the justification for that spending is unclear. Meanwhile, the guy from the company says his products are just so awesome."
  • Sorry but this is crap. People pay what they can for GPUs, and Nvidia saying this as they're happy their products are awfully overpriced is insane. You know what needs to happen? Someone come and make good GPUs at reasonable prices. Could it be Intel? We'll see. But this pseudo-monopoly is not something to celebrate.
  • There is absolutely no justification for a product to be sold over the MSRP, the only reason why vendors do is because people for whom money is no issue will pay it. And without a consumer watchdog overseeing this stuff it will continue to happen. It's all well and good for people to take the stance of "but if you can't afford it you shouldn't own it" but the fact of the matter is plenty of people CAN afford the MSRP price for a GPU but that's not the option they are given. If that crap happened in Australia businesses would be fined out the wazoo.
  • I honestly can't believe nobody steps up to regulate this.
  • But that's how free markets work. The price of a good or commodity is what someone is willing to pay; not what some regulators say it should be worth or whatever the MSRP (suggested retail price) is. If someone is willing to buy a graphics card for $3000 then that's what it's worth. Demand was high, supply was low, prices go up. If demand is low or supply is high, then prices will decrease. We are seeing this now as GPU inventories are available in many areas the prices are slowing coming back down (you can get a 3080Ti in my area for $1300 which is barely over MSRP). If this were a case of NVIDIA and AMD limiting production and driving up prices, then I would agree that that behavior needs to be stopped. That's market manipulation, which is BS! However, that doesn't appear to be what's happening.
  • And it's a bad system because of the vast difference in wealth. By your logic if billionaires pay $100 for a carton of milk then milk should be sold for $100 regardless of the cost or original value of the milk.
  • Are they gaslighting us?
  • Everyone is gaslighting us
  • Yup. This statemtent from Nvidia is the worst take I've read regarding this awful no-GPU era. They should know better.
    I hope Intel comes along and eventually offers a soid alternative.
  • I agree. I hope Intel or someone else comes up with a viable alternative to NVIDIA and AMD. Competition is good.
  • Yeah, because Nvidia started fleecing everyone with the 20 series with hardly any performance uplift. We, also have crypto to deal with - any analysis that doesn't include this - is completely flawed. The blame is squarely on Nvidia as they could have easily taken steps to reduce hash rates on gaming gpus and offer mining GPUs instead with high power efficiency (they only started doing so after consumer pushback). But, nope they want as much money as possible. As at end of day, Nvidia is a greedy profit driven company.