Ether is more valuable than ever, and that's bad news for PC gamers

Shawn Knight

Posts: 13,152   +132
Staff member
Why it matters: Ethereum’s success directly impacts the PC gaming industry as high-end video cards like those from AMD and Nvidia are coveted for their high hash rates. This increased, unexpected demand would be an issue during normal times. In the middle of a global chip shortage where console makers, smartphone manufacturers and video card makers are all vying for a limited supply of silicon, and scalpers are buying up every last drop of hardware that does hit the market to flip for a huge profit, it becomes clear just how wide reaching the problem is.

PC gaming enthusiasts hoping cryptomining enthusiasts would soon lose interest in Ethereum are seemingly in for more of the same as the booming cryptocurrency platform has continued to set and subsequently break all-time high value records over the past month.

As of this writing, a single Ether is trading at $3,469.92, up 9.52 percent over 24 hours and 362.26 percent on the year.

On the flip side, those who got involved with Ethereum in the very early days – either through direct crypto purchases or mining – and managed to hold on to their coins over the years are no doubt elated by Ethereum’s recent success.

For now, it would seem that gamers' best course of action is to play the waiting game and keep checking retailers for those rare stock drops. eBay is always there if you absolutely must have a new card, but expect to pay a hefty premium.

Image credit archy13

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VitalyT

Posts: 5,538   +5,203
If you can find one thing in the last few month that's not bad for gamers, then you can call it a news. Alternating bad news with shitty news doesn't make a good read.
 

m4a4

Posts: 2,338   +2,604
TechSpot Elite
An investment app I use added the ability to invest into Bitcoin and Etherium (you don't manage the wallet, it's just another position). I didn't put much in, but I don't regret the more than doubling in value I see today.

Heck, I could buy a few scalper priced cards with what it's worth now without losing the initial value :p
 

Geralt

Posts: 271   +314
TechSpot Elite
An investment app I use added the ability to invest into Bitcoin and Etherium (you don't manage the wallet, it's just another position). I didn't put much in, but I don't regret the more than doubling in value I see today.

Heck, I could buy a few scalper priced cards with what it's worth now without losing the initial value :p
Why don't you go to...
 

terzaerian

Posts: 888   +1,273
It's only bad news for gamers that have emotionally wedded themselves to the destruction of a new technology because they don't understand it, have sour grapes about it, and are too stupid to harness the resources they do have to try it.

Which is well and good because those types of gamers are bad for gaming anyway.
 

Danny101

Posts: 1,623   +697
Wish I had bought into this years ago. Is it a bubble? Probably. But it looks like crypto currency is here to stay in some form or another. Short of war or a major electrical outage, it's the investment of the moment. Gaming? Huh. Many games have come down to resource gathering and are starting to feel like work. I might as well do real resource gathering as a better use of my time.
 
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terzaerian

Posts: 888   +1,273
Wish I had bought into this years ago. Is it a bubble? Probably. But it looks like crypto currency is here to stay in some form or another. Short of war or a major electrical outage, it's the investment of the moment. Gaming? Huh. Many games have come down to resource gathering and are starting to feel like work. I might as well do real resource gathering as a better use of my time.
There's no reason you can't do both, after all. My PC mines while I work and sleep, and then I turn that off when I want to play a game. It's the best of both worlds.
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 517   +858
Don't care about GPUs anymore. I just want AMD and Intel to make their integrated graphics both a bit better (We know intel *can* do better as they have shown repeatedly when doing their Iris line) and more readily available.

I'll deal with the eventual lack of AAA games and that entire industry dying out: I always favored smaller indie titles anyway and if big budged PC gaming development has shown anything is that it literally ruins anything it touches, including PCMR former darlings like CDPR

So just make it easier to pick up a desktop version of 5600g and intel releasing a desktop chip with Iris pro graphics and we'll take it from there.
 
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Geralt

Posts: 271   +314
TechSpot Elite
Wish I had bought into this years ago. Is it a bubble? Probably. But it looks like crypto currency is here to stay in some form or another. Short of war or a major electrical outage, it's the investment of the moment. Gaming? Huh. Many games have come down to resource gathering and are starting to feel like work. I might as well do real resource gathering as a better use of my time.
Keep dreaming.
 

Geralt

Posts: 271   +314
TechSpot Elite
Don't care about GPUs anymore. I just want AMD and Intel to make their integrated graphics both a bit better (We know intel *can* do better as they have shown repeatedly when doing their Iris line) and more readily available.

I'll deal with the eventual lack of AAA games and that entire industry dying out: I always favored smaller indie titles anyway and if big budged PC gaming development has shown anything is that it literally ruins anything it touches, including PCMR former darlings like CDPR

So just make it easier to pick up a desktop version of 5600g and intel releasing a desktop chip with Iris pro graphics and we'll take it from there.
Integrated graphics? Not even in my worst dreams. I have some powerful graphics card for two or three years of happy gaming (if it doesn't die out early). To have to descend to an iGPU (specially a crappy one from Intel) would force me to commit sepuku.
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 517   +858
Integrated graphics? Not even in my worst dreams. I have some powerful graphics card for two or three years of happy gaming (if it doesn't die out early). To have to descend to an iGPU (specially a crappy one from Intel) would force me to commit sepuku.

You don't understand, I am thinking far more long term: Being unable to buy a decent GPU for a full year or even 2 years it's surviveable for the PC AAA gaming industry.

So let's assume that the tendency is that Ethereum is just not going to crash for another 3 or 4 years and that the promised hyper-efficient (By comparison) ASIC devices just don't come in large numbers for that same timeframe of 3 to 4 years.

What would happen on that scenario? The entire enthusiast gaming hardware market would basically crash: there's no point in investing in any of all of the secondary market that's where the actual large margin of profits are made if nobody can play any games. Even used or older GPUs would still become far too scarce to reliably source and that's not even getting into newer and better games being developed since fewer and fewer people have up-to-date GPUs.

Like think about this scenario for a second: would you want to play something that's twice as demanding as Cyberpunk 2077 in 2025 if you still had to just use your GPU that you got in 2018? Or even further back as many people are still on 2016 cards? Have you ever tried to play 2077 on a card that was released close to 10 years before it's release date?

This is what could happen if Ethereum takes 3 more years to become irrelevant for gaming GPUs to be picked up by miners:


Think about it: is that really any different from playing with a 4650G integrated graphics only? I say the experience is basically the same. That's what will end up happening if there's no correction, no crashes and nothing is addressed.

So realistically speaking: As much as you'd hate the idea you'd be back with integrated graphics or playing on a PS5. And all of these RGB fans and mechanical keyboards and chairs and tempered glass cases would just cease to exists as people would lose interest in traditional PC gaming

OR

We just de-prioritize high end graphics and place far more value and importance on smaller, 2D indie games that still offer entertaining, compelling experiences on those APUs and iGPUs, or on those 1060s that would be almost as bad by the time they're 9 years into their life cycle.
 

terzaerian

Posts: 888   +1,273
We just de-prioritize high end graphics and place far more value and importance on smaller, 2D indie games that still offer entertaining, compelling experiences on those APUs and iGPUs, or on those 1060s that would be almost as bad by the time they're 9 years into their life cycle.
What you're describing here is mining saving gaming by asphyxiating studios that rely solely on marketing and xXxGRAPHIXxXx to make bank. Truly, everything crypto touches turns to gold.
 

Geralt

Posts: 271   +314
TechSpot Elite
You don't understand, I am thinking far more long term: Being unable to buy a decent GPU for a full year or even 2 years it's surviveable for the PC AAA gaming industry.

So let's assume that the tendency is that Ethereum is just not going to crash for another 3 or 4 years and that the promised hyper-efficient (By comparison) ASIC devices just don't come in large numbers for that same timeframe of 3 to 4 years.

What would happen on that scenario? The entire enthusiast gaming hardware market would basically crash: there's no point in investing in any of all of the secondary market that's where the actual large margin of profits are made if nobody can play any games. Even used or older GPUs would still become far too scarce to reliably source and that's not even getting into newer and better games being developed since fewer and fewer people have up-to-date GPUs.

Like think about this scenario for a second: would you want to play something that's twice as demanding as Cyberpunk 2077 in 2025 if you still had to just use your GPU that you got in 2018? Or even further back as many people are still on 2016 cards? Have you ever tried to play 2077 on a card that was released close to 10 years before it's release date?

This is what could happen if Ethereum takes 3 more years to become irrelevant for gaming GPUs to be picked up by miners:


Think about it: is that really any different from playing with a 4650G integrated graphics only? I say the experience is basically the same. That's what will end up happening if there's no correction, no crashes and nothing is addressed.

So realistically speaking: As much as you'd hate the idea you'd be back with integrated graphics or playing on a PS5. And all of these RGB fans and mechanical keyboards and chairs and tempered glass cases would just cease to exists as people would lose interest in traditional PC gaming

OR

We just de-prioritize high end graphics and place far more value and importance on smaller, 2D indie games that still offer entertaining, compelling experiences on those APUs and iGPUs, or on those 1060s that would be almost as bad by the time they're 9 years into their life cycle.
But you think that the gaming market generating millionaire (and sometimes billionaire) profits will permit those crappy miners to thrive forever? These s*** people will be stopped sooner than later because there are more millions in the gaming industry than in the Ethereum dream. Besides, governments won't tolerate the situation for longer too. It is about time.

By the way I had a Geforce 670 in 2013/2014. Good times!
 
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Dimitriid

Posts: 517   +858
But you think that the gaming market generating millionaire (and sometimes billionaire) profits will permit those crappy miners to thrive forever. These s*** people will be stopped sooner than later because there are more millions in the gaming industry than in the Ethereum dream. Besides, governments won't tolerate the situation for longer too. It is about time.

By the way I had a Geforce 670 in 2013/2014. Good times!

I wouldn't think they would be left alone, no. But I also wouldn't think that another Eth-mining craze would cripple them, in a worst and more prolonged way and that they would learn basically not a single lesson from the last time this exact thing happened, yet here we are.

Also while you're correct in assuming a lot of people with a lot of money wouldn't let a very profitable industry just die because Nvidia and AMD are complicit in shifting away to being 100% compute companies without PC gaming products at all, you've gotta think that the solutions from those people well, they wouldn't be to our liking either: It would basically mean "Just push people into Geforce Now and other cloud/on-demand type service" and with the added bonus of turning the PC market into just another console too.

Because after all they can't just march up to Nvidia and tell them "Stop fooling around and get control over your distributors and AIB partners or cut them altogether, our gaming businesses are dying cause you refuse to turn away miners in a serious effort"

That's not the way things work: Nvidia doesn't has to listen to anybody no matter how much money they've invested in being a partner for their game launches in the past and other such cross promotions: They're still an incredibly profitable company with just compute and companies exist to make profits for themselves, not to rescue failing past partners.

The "solution" Nvidia would give in the case long term mining continues for much more longer will be "Just use Geforce Now! Yeah mods? User servers? Custom content? You don't need those, we've got server farms with 3080tis so you can play 4k Ray Tracing without even buying a GPU!"

And that might just work, and I'd be worst imo.
 

Geralt

Posts: 271   +314
TechSpot Elite
I wouldn't think they would be left alone, no. But I also wouldn't think that another Eth-mining craze would cripple them, in a worst and more prolonged way and that they would learn basically not a single lesson from the last time this exact thing happened, yet here we are.

Also while you're correct in assuming a lot of people with a lot of money wouldn't let a very profitable industry just die because Nvidia and AMD are complicit in shifting away to being 100% compute companies without PC gaming products at all, you've gotta think that the solutions from those people well, they wouldn't be to our liking either: It would basically mean "Just push people into Geforce Now and other cloud/on-demand type service" and with the added bonus of turning the PC market into just another console too.

Because after all they can't just march up to Nvidia and tell them "Stop fooling around and get control over your distributors and AIB partners or cut them altogether, our gaming businesses are dying cause you refuse to turn away miners in a serious effort"

That's not the way things work: Nvidia doesn't has to listen to anybody no matter how much money they've invested in being a partner for their game launches in the past and other such cross promotions: They're still an incredibly profitable company with just compute and companies exist to make profits for themselves, not to rescue failing past partners.

The "solution" Nvidia would give in the case long term mining continues for much more longer will be "Just use Geforce Now! Yeah mods? User servers? Custom content? You don't need those, we've got server farms with 3080tis so you can play 4k Ray Tracing without even buying a GPU!"

And that might just work, and I'd be worst imo.
OK, understood. We'll see what happens in the near future, because this situation cannot continue forever, you know. I paid 2000 dollars for a 6900 XT. I won't do that again. It is a lot of money.