The market today consists of approximately 4 Graphics hardware manufacturers (Microchips) and ca. 10 operating systems manufacturers.
Since 1995, 3D-Graphics have been accessible for the consumer markets.
Several software libraries and graphic chips enabling the development and visualisation of 3-dimensional computer graphics for the home PC subsequently emerged. Essential to this development was the decline in the cost of production for graphics chips, combined with technology innovations in the field of chip design, miniaturisation and higher density structures which offered new functionalities and higher speeds.
Over the years ever more functions were combined onto single chips which enormously increased the speed and accuracy of imaging. Todays graphics chips differ only minimally from eachother.
This is due to the fact that the basic algorithm („Z-Buffer“) applied has remained the same over the years. This algorithm was continually “bloated” by manufacturers with additional functionality which could be rapidly imitated by competing manufacturers.
In the final analysis, it is irrelevant to the customer which chip is integrated into his/her PC as long as the accompanying software is easy to install and simple to use.
In recent months this situation led to a reduction in the number of graphics chips/boards manufacturers, as competition hardened on account of the increasing similarity of the offers a price war emerged where the lowest price wins.
The market accounts for approximately 200 million graphics chips per annum. Market share (on "standard graphic chips") is decided by fractions of a Dollar per Chip (a few cents on chip prices of $5 to $40).