HP is ready to play games
Shows prototypes of gaming technologies
IDG News Service - Any lingering image of Hewlett-Packard Co. as a stodgy company was dispelled Wednesday night in San Francisco as the company cried "Game on" in its bid for a piece of the online gaming industry.
The company's HP Labs research center is developing technology that could enable next-generation personal computers to play interactive video games designed for the broadband era. HP thinks it can compete against popular console-style game systems such as Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox, Sony Corp.'s PlayStation and Nintendo Co. Ltd.'s Wii.
At a press event that drew some of the company's technology partners, HP officials showed off prototypes of gaming technologies, including gaming PCs from VoodooPC, which HP acquired in the fourth quarter of 2006. The gaming unit within HP's Technology Solutions Group is called Game On.
The prototypes include computers with curved screens that let someone playing a race car game can see the track he's driving on ahead and to the sides, and a touch-screen computer built into a coffee table so players can sit on all sides. HP also played a video in which a teenage boy walks through a big city with his handheld game player. He points the device at a portion of the city's skyline, the device scans the outline of the buildings in view and creates a game scene from that image.
While its technology looks impressive, HP has a steep hill to climb. Sales of gaming consoles grew 33% in 2006, while sales of gaming PCs grew by only 1%, according to the retail sales tracking firm NPD Group Inc. HP doesn't expect consumers to camp outside retail stores overnight to buy an HP gaming PC, as they did for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, but company officials said there are promising signs of market potential.
Sales of gaming software that runs on PCs reached $6 billion globally in 2006 and are forecast to hit $12 billion by 2010, said Rick Wickham, director of Games for Windows at Microsoft Corp., citing figures from IDC.
Rahul Sood, chief technology officer at HP's global gaming business unit, who came over from VoodooPC, sees HP offering a premium line of gaming PCs priced higher than its current line of HP and Compaq brand PCs, but lower than VoodooPC's custom-made models, which can sell for $8,000.
Asked specifically if HP plans to soon introduce a line of PCs like that, Shane Robison, executive vice president and HP's chief strategy technology officer, said, "I am not allowed to go there."
HP is not the first PC maker to try to branch out into high-end gaming PCs. Dell Inc. acquired Alienware Corp. in March 2006, for an undisclosed amount. But HP appears to be taking advantage of its new relationship with VoodooPC more quickly.
HP's move into gaming could be a "game-changing" move, said Rob Enderle, an analyst at technology research firm The Enderle Group. HP could try selling high-margin gaming PCs to escape from the low-margin PC market it competes in with every other PC maker. But that could be a risky move.
"The buyer may say they don't want one, and that is the risk when you make a game-changer. You make a guess at where the market is going, and you get there first," Enderle said. "If you guess wrong, you're there all by yourself."
- Best iPhone, iPad Business Apps for 2014
- 14 Tech Conventions You Should Attend in 2014
- 10 Desktop Apps to Power Your Windows PC
- How to Add New Job Skills Without Going Back to School
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- OpenStack Hype vs. Reality: CIO Quick Pulse Open-source architecture can enable IT departments to build infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) clouds running on standard hardware.
- The Critical Role of Support in Your Enterprise Mobility Management Strategy Most business leaders underestimate the importance of tech support when they choose an EMM solution. Here's what to put on your checklist.
- Separating Work and Personal at the Platform Level: How BlackBerry Balance Works BlackBerry® Balance™ separates work from personal on the same mobile device, right at a platform level. Find out how it can work for...
- Protection for Every Enterprise: How BlackBerry Security Works Get an IT-level review of BlackBerry® Security, addressing data leakage protection, certified encryption, containerization and much more.
- Live Webcast On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy...
- Live Webcast Unmasking the Differences between Consumer and Enterprise File Sync & Share The consumerization of IT combined with the rapid pace of the modern mobile workplace is forcing enterprise IT teams to evaluate file sync...
- Live Webcast Workforce Mobilization for Improved Productivity A mobility research director from Aberdeen discusses reasons for extending legacy applications to mobile devices, and an integration strategist from Attachmate shows how...
- Getting Ready for BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10.2 Find out how BlackBerry® Enterprise Service 10 helps organizations address the full spectrum of EMM challenges, while balancing the needs of both the...
- Containerization Options: How to Choose the Best DLP Solution for Your Organization This webcast outlines a framework for making the right choice when it comes to containerization approaches, along with the pros and cons of... All Mobile/Wireless White Papers | Webcasts
As emerging technologies evolve they often find an initial niche in highly specialized scenarios, or in specific industry verticals, before expanding to wider areas of applicability. Within these initial niches, the early adopters can be anything from digital enthusiasts to fashionistas, or they can be folks simply using the technology because it serves a specific need extremely well. (free registration required) more