3-D Graphics Software Entering Boom Period - Study

From: Yakov Horenstein (yakov@planet.it)
Date: Thu Jun 25 1998 - 17:55:26 EEST

               3-D Graphics Software Entering Boom Period - Study

                             (Newsbytes; 06/24/98)

TIBURON, CALIFORNIA, U.S.A., 1998 JUN 24 (Newsbytes) -- By Craig Menefee,
Newsbytes. Jon Peddie Associates (JPA) says in a new report that 77 million
new PCs will have shipped as three-dimensional (3-D)-hardware- enabled
machines by the end of this year. As a result, the market for graphics
software to handle complex tasks like animation, CAD (computer-aided
design) and visualization will explode, says Peddie.

Given the hardware, Newsbytes notes, software will be written for it. Given
the software, companies and individuals will figure out how to take
advantage of it and make it indispensable.

"It has taken years for the technology and demand for 3-D to meet, which is
what we are witnessing today," says Jon Peddie, president of JPA.

Peddie told Newsbytes that his firm's new study, "The 3-D Tools and
Applications Market Study '98," makes the coming 3-D boom clear. Right now,
he says, 3-D chips have come down so far in price that vendors buy them by
the boatload and put them into everything, including devices like servers
that have absolutely no need for graphics.

"In that sense, tracking how many chips are bought would be misleading. You
might have, say, a million chips bought but only 300,000 actually put into
a machine used to display 3-D graphics. That's why we talk about
3-D-enabled machines. But even so, the trends are very clear."

JPA says about 84 percent of all new PCs shipped now have 3-D graphics
installed, a figure the researchers predict will grow to 98.9 percent of
the total PC market by the year 2003. The firm also says there will be 18
million 3- D users in 1998, a number expected to grow to 79.3 million, or
98.9 percent of the total PC market, over the next five years.

One factor driving the boom, says JPA, is a massive shift from Unix to
Windows NT. The researchers say that, at the high end of servers, the
changeover may only be around 20 percent, but at the low end, NT is taking
over as much as 70 percent of the market.

Peddie says the nature of the NT market makes it hard to generalize, but
3-D chips and therefore 3-D applications are coming in fast at the massive
lower end. "We're playing dodge-ball a little on that because of the
range," he notes. "We break NT into three parts -- servers, general purpose
office or what is generously called workstations, and what we concentrate
on, which is professional graphics. The rate of NT incursion depends on
what particular segment you want to talk about."

One fast growing area that JPA describes as "explosive" is visual
simulations. JPA estimates the current growth rate to be 32 percent
annually, not including games. Serious players don't use NT for games
because of an insulating layer added to the original version to make the
operating system compatible with Alpha processors as well as Intel
platforms, says Peddie. Windows 95 lacks the intervening layer and so can
be more tightly bound to the graphics subsystems.

In terms of segments, JPA says software tool revenues for 3-D Internet
creation should reach $681.7 million by 2001. Even more impressive, the
total animation market is expected to reach $2.58 billion in 1998 and keep
moving up.

Asked what basis JPA used to make the projections, Peddie told Newsbytes,
"We go out and count the stuff -- we ask the manufacturers directly, and
even the little non-public ones mostly tell us. We've been doing this since
1984 and they've learned they can trust us."

Stated JPA senior analyst, Wanda Meloni, "The past two years have proved
that 3- D on the PC is big business."

More on graphics and other reports published by JPA are available on the
World Wide Web at http://www.jpa.com .

(19980624/Press & Reader Contact: Cindy Krause, JPA, 415-435-1775, e-mail
cindy@jpa.com/WIRES PC, BUSINESS/)

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