In March this year company Commodore Gaming revealed its intention to enter the gaming PC market, combining the fondly remembered Commodore brand with high-end rigs and at the same time going head-to-head with the likes of Alienware. This announcement was quickly followed in May by the availability in Europe of Commodore Gaming's first range of PCs through its website, and next month the machines hit retail in the UK, France and Germany.
We recently caught up with Commodore Gaming CEO Bala Keilman to find out how the company's faring, future plans and what it reckons of Games for Windows and DirectX 10...
You're obviously not alone in the high-end gaming PC market. What does Commodore Gaming offer above and beyond the likes of Alienware?
Bala Keilman: One of our key strengths is that we focus 100% on gaming systems. Rather than branch into other areas of the PC market we believe that the opportunity is to get more people involved in PC gaming. Consoles have made gaming a mass market, yet PCs can be found in almost every household with the potential to offer the greatest gaming experience of all.
High end PC gaming performance is now streets ahead of consoles and this gap will continue to grow whilst the price gap will reduce considerably. For people who want to own a good PC as well as play games, we offer bespoke solutions with prices to suit all-comers.
Even our entry level G and GS range still pack enough punch to compete with consoles and would eat any ordinary PC for breakfast. Indeed, our intention to bring PC gaming to the mass market is a key driver behind our combined online and retail strategy. It means we can target the core gamers through the fully customizable online solution and simultaneously offer ready-made solutions for gamers at a retail level which is something quite unique in the PC market.
Aside from our market strategy, we also wanted to bring something fresh to the market that would allow the individual to decide what look and style to give their rig. The C-kin concept means that the chassis can be customized with high definition painted images and artwork which are baked onto the surface of high-grade solid metal and aluminium panels to give the same quality and feel of airbrushed paintwork but at a much more accessible price point.
Additionally, we have been able to open up cultural and lifestyle opportunities for the Commodore community as many of the C-kin designs are by upcoming local artists and photographers. We hope to see more people submitting designs for inclusion on the C-kin pages as we are planning design competitions, exhibitions and participation at local art/design events. It's a very organic way to interact with a huge audience.
All in all, we want to bring a fresh approach and some new ideas into the fold, aside from the pure performance and technical aspects which are core to our products.
How important was securing the Commodore brand to your goal? Would you have still continued with the high-end gaming PC venture without it?
Bala Keilman: We took a realistic look at the both the PC and video games industry and saw a gap in the market for a gaming-focused PC brand that could meet the needs of extreme gamers but also appeal and communicate to gamers of all levels.
Given that Commodore played a huge role in the evolution and growth of the videogames industry during the 1980s we felt that the association between Commodore, video games and high-end PC hardware was a very natural fit. Our research showed that Commodore still retained 80% brand recognition amongst our target group which is huge.