SoundBlaster accounts for only 1% of the market?

By Justin Mann on February 5, 2007, 3:26 PM
If you were computing back when 3D games were just taking off, you'll remember that the cream of the crop for sound was always some iteration of the SoundBlaster. Everyone supported it and a huge number of prebuilt machines came with it. What's the market look like today, though? With huge numbers of boards shipping with acceptable, if not quality, onboard sound, with many other vendors offering hardware accelerated sound and a host of other reasons, it seems today that Creative may be just a tiny fraction of the audio card market, maybe as little as 1%:

If average sales price of an audio card is $100, then Creative Labs ships about 324 thousand of audio cards per quarter, meaning that less than 1% of 57.15 million PCs sold per quarter include a discrete audio card by Creative Labs.
They are faring considerably better with the Zen, but still don't hold a candle to the behemoth that is the iPod. The day of SoundBlaster dominance is long since over, but I had no idea that they'd been relegated almost to a bit player. It makes sense, though, when I think about the last three machines I've built. All of them included onboard sound that supported 5.1 or better, with audio quality enough to satisfy. While a SoundBlaster may sound better, apparently it isn't enough to convince the PC building masses. Overall, audio cards are only 10% of Creative's business.

User Comments: 4

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Rick said:
"Overall, audio cards are only 10% of Creative's business."Maybe this accounts for their absolutely horrific driver support. :)
DragonMaster said:
Well, Creative takes a lot of time to upgrade their cards, and older ones are still pretty good, so a couple of persons still have Live 24-bit in their computers. Only computer enthusiasts buy CL cards, but a lot don't care about EAX(And don't want crappy support, crappy drivers and more Creative marketing and support BS) and get something else or use onboard sound. As for the rest of the world, they probably don't know CL exists since they only buy prebuilt computers and never upgrade them.The main reason is probably onboard sound, everyone needed a soundcard before that, so they bought a sound card and got a Creative card. I guess it's the exact same thing with network cards, who still buy these things, it's included on the mobo(But cheapo CPU sucking stuff, I can't even listen to a song w/o skips when downloading something).
black_death said:
What does it mean by the sound card market, if you're including the sound cards that are already included with motherboards then yes obviously Creative has no chance against that but I sincerely doubt the biggest name in the sound card business has only 1% marketshare of sound cards you go out and buy and install yourself, when you go to Future Shop most of the sound cards there are Creative.
Julio said:
1% of the market is somewhat of a statistical lie, considering the market for add-in soundcards is much smaller than the whole pie. However the article gives a perspective that currently SoundBlaster soundcards account for about 10% of Creative's sales, and a big chunk of their revenues came from patent royalties from Apple.
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