to launch built-to-order gaming PC
May 10, 2004 Posted: 2:07 PM EDT (1807 GMT)
ANGELES, California (Reuters) -- Seeking to take advantage of
the fast-growing video game market, Hewlett-Packard Co. on
Monday said it would begin to offer built-to-order custom
personal computers for game enthusiasts.
HP said the Web site allowing users to design their Compaq
"X Gaming" machines would go live in June or July
and offer a range of options with standard, off-the-shelf
components. Retailers will also offer access to the machines
through their own custom configuration kiosks.
Prices will start at around $1,599 after promotions, HP
executives said, and peak at more than $3,000.
"There's definitely a role for a company like HP in this
market," said Tom Markworth, a product marketing manager
with HP, in an interview.
The announcement came at the start of E3, the annual video
game industry trade show in Los Angeles. Computer hardware
makers have placed increasing focus on E3 as a way to
demonstrate the capabilities of their most powerful systems.
HP has been offering a Compaq gaming machine for a few months,
mostly in a standard configuration sold on a limited basis by
Those pilot sales, Markworth said, convinced the company that
it could compete in a market where well-known specialty
manufacturers like Alienware, Voodoo and Falcon Northwest face
increasing competition from mainstream players like Dell Inc.
While HP's name is not the first on the mind of gaming
enthusiasts today, Markworth said the company's long history
will be its advantage as it enters the market.
"Credibility is something you only earn over time,"
he said. "HP with its Compaq brand has a huge advantage
in stepping in as a newer player."
The X Gaming machines will feature a standard chassis from
CoolerMaster, known for its work in keeping system noise down
while also decreasing heat, and red glowing lights in front
and back that will make it stand out in the dark.
"We're able to use our purchasing power as the world's
largest consumer PC company ... to be able to procure some of
these higher-end components" and pass along cost savings
to customers, he said.
Pre-installed software will be kept to a minimum, so as not to
clutter the machines. The company plans to aggressively
support their rollout.
"We're going to compete hard here," Markworth said.