As the world of professional eSports continues to mature, Dell has made sure to stay at the forefront of that growth. Earlier in the year, it was announced that their Alienware brand was partnering with Team Liquid, one of the top and most recognized gaming teams in the world. The partnership entailed an 8,000 square-foot building in the Los Angeles area being outfitted with everything necessary for Team Liquid and others to train and stay at the top of their game. The facility is called the “Alienware eSports Training Facility.”
You might be asking yourself, “Why are computer companies such as Dell pouring so much money into the fledgling eSports?”
As of the mid-2010s, the broad PC market has seen a drop in overall sales and has continued to decline. This has been due in part to a lack of technology improvements to convince every-day PC users to upgrade to newer models, as well as the rise of overpowered tablets and smartphones that have begun to replace computers in the homes of the general consumer base.
However, the one area of PC sales that continues to grow is that of gaming. Despite the rise of bit-mining that has both profited and bloated the GPU market, high-performance and attractive hardware have helped to keep the industry afloat. As many of us will concede to, gamers are ready and willing to shell out cash for the fastest and often flashiest system available.
Having acquired Alienware in 2006, Dell has been able stay at the forefront of this hardware shift. The Alienware line is widely known for their gaming systems. At this year’s E3, I had the chance to tour the Dell and Alienware booth. A representative walked me through some of the current lineups, including their Alienware 13, 15, and 17 laptops.
“I love all of them,” said the rep. “The 13 is more compact. It doesn’t have as high of a performance ceiling as its brothers, but man is it a nice little machine. It’s the one that I use for work; it’s my favorite.” He then highlighted the Alienware 15 and explained it can go up to a GTX 1080 graphic chip. He also remarked on the machine’s keyboard, noting how good the keys feel, even for a laptop keyboard. Last but not least, he showed off the Alienware 17. “This is the big daddy. For a lot of people that use these, the computer doesn’t always go far from their desk, but it’s nice to have the option, and they’re excellent. They’re great machines. They are desktop power in a laptop form factor, nice big display, and no problem powering additional displays, additional peripherals. You’re doing top of the line VR on a laptop. You’re doing it with one of these.”
The Alienware line of desktop PCs are also worthy of note. The Alienware Aurora is the brand’s “bread and butter” as the rep told me. “It’s our best seller right now in the desktop category. It is the official gaming PC of the E league and it’s what Team Liquid and all of their other teams practice on. It is basically anything you need to ask a gaming PC to do, that one’s going to be able to do it.” The next step up is the Area 51. It’s instantly recognizable “triad chasis” and large form factor pack a lot of punch. The design is the culmination of research and input from artists that decided on a “machine based, angular approach.” “If you want a machine that can mega-task and do all kinds of stuff, that’s where Area 51 really starts to come in,” said the rep.
Dell isn’t content on just supplying gear to strict PC gamers. They also hope to also lure that of seasoned console gamers to the world of PC. “The overlap between console ownership and PC ownership is increasing, and I think, and we think, as a company this is the perfect feature set and price point for someone who’s looking to buy their first gaming PC,” said the rep referring to Dell’s line of PC gaming machines called the Dell G3, G5, and G7 come in. They share a similar design to that of Alienware’s line but are priced to be comparable to what the console gaming market is more use to. “People who are super into gaming, who know that they are into gaming, who are making the next jump into their gaming hobby, are ready to go spend $800 to $1000 on a laptop, in addition to the console that they are playing on. The G series is for real gamers that are ready to take the next step.” The highest graphics chip the line has to offer is a GTX 1060.
As eSports continues to thrive, and more and more console gamers make the leap to PC ownership, you can be sure Dell and Alienware will be standing nearby.