In a series of interviews, Neowin has talked to the heads of Falcon Northwest, Maingear, Velocity Micro and Origin PC, covering the companies behind today's high-end and gaming PCs. This week Neowin chatted with Frank Azor, general manager of Dell's Alienware division, which makes gaming PCs such as the X51, the Aurora and a reknown lineup of gaming laptops. Founded in 1996, Alienware was acquired by Dell in 2006 and is arguably the most well known brand of gaming PCs.

First, Alienware recently announced the X51 PC, which has a case that made it look more like a game console. How did the concept for the X51 come about?

Several factors came together that inspired the design of the X51 including TVs making the move to 1920 x 1080 resolutions and considerably improving their response time and overall image quality, the improved cost and quality benefits we have seen from the Dell integration and the desire to have an open platform like Windows on the TV whereby we can run any applications and access any websites we desire.  The X51 is just the latest in Alienware’s growing portfolio of innovative products addressing the needs gamers.

We see a lot of reports about the "death of the PC" due to the smartphone and tablet industry. Why do you think the hardcore PC hardware market is still going to be around even with the rise of both of these products?

Absolutely!  The PC gaming market is thriving.  According to Jon Peddie Research, the PC gaming hardware market is on pace to hit $23.6 billion in 2012. JPR estimates that there are 54 million performance and enthusiast class PC gamers spread out around the globe. New entrants and console converts are expected to drive that figure to 72 million by 2015 as the PC gaming hardware market approaches $32 million. Tablets and Smartphones have constraints to them by the nature of what makes them attractive, their mobility and battery life benefits over desktops and notebooks. Those constraints come at a cost though and in the case of gaming those costs will come in the forms of limited immersion and control.  These are just two of some of the basic attributes of PC Gaming that have kept it growing for over 3 decades and that will continue to fuel its growth for the foreseeable future. 

As a gamer I struggle in foreseeing a day when I would replace the incredibly immersive graphics and high fidelity of control with a keyboard and mouse on my favorite FPS or RTS for the limited screen size and control-set a tablet or smartphone has to offer.  I own a tablet and smartphone and I play games on both of those devices but I have no plans of replacing my PC Gaming with either of those devices.  I see them as complimentary to my PC Gaming experience.

Read the rest of the interview.
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