Posted November 5, 2015 by Adam Ghiggino in Feature

Alienware at PAX Aus 2015

Alienware’s presence at PAX was defined by rows and rows of playable machines – from desktops running FPS games at blistering frame-rates, to the company’s new range of Steam Machines, hitting the Australian market next year. The games and how they ran on Alienware machinery were front and centre at the booth, and did not disappoint, and PC gamers looking for hints into the future of their beloved master race would do well to check out Alienware’s new lineup.

!cid_image001_png@01D10598For starters, Alienware presented their Steam Machine, for the first time in Australia and the Southern Hemisphere. Joe Olmstead, Alienware’s Director of Product Planning, was on hand to explain why the machine could become a sweet addition to any PC gaming fan’s living room.

“Content is king and you play the hardware that best serves your content. Right? And, so, you want Halo, you buy an Xbox. If you want a PlayStation-only game, you buy a PlayStation. And there are a lot of cross-title games between all those different avenues. But, I think that if you want a PC game in your living room, that’s the section of the market we will fill.”

“It’ll be available in Q1 of next year in Australia. And once it’s here, you have access to 1600 Steam titles today – that’s gonna grow. You’re taking the content you already own on your PC, and you’re putting it into that next room and you’re playing with your friends. Most of the games we’re showcasing here aren’t AU $100 triple-A titles, which are awesome and great, but we have titles that are AU $15-$20 that are designed around that console couch kind of feel.”

Of course, there’s also the Alienware Alpha, which is essentially a Steam Machine but with Windows, opening up a lot more playable games.

“It’s the same hardware, Steam Machine and Alpha, just a different software platform, and if you buy the Alpha you get 4000 of the Steam catalog games, vs 1500. Again, all the games you already own. The difference is we’ve updated the Alienware UI with Alpha, we call it ‘Hivemind’. It’s built off of Kodi, but now you have the all the Kodi plugins you can add to your Alienware Alpha, and you’ve got all those Kodi apps. So now you’ve got two different environments, you’ve got that really streamlined console in SteamOS, and now you’ve got the Kodi backend in Alienware Hivemind, that allows you to do that with a full Windows experience.”


Joe also had nothing but praise for Valve’s new Steam controller, “It’s huge in Cities: Skylines. And that’s a mouse and keyboard game but you can play it on that controller. It took me about five minutes and then I’m doing roads and pipes, transforming into an underground, an overground, building up, building down…”

Other than showcasing the Steam Machine and Alpha, Alienware had their new range of desktops and laptops on show, as well as highlighting their new partnership with Rocket, who have basically become the company’s peripheral arm, incorporating Alienware’s lighting effects into their products.

However, off to one side, relatively inconspicuously placed was a podium where PAX-goers could sign up for a ‘Zero Latency’ demo in a room above the booth. Once word caught on about the demo, it quickly booked out for the entire weekend. What is Zero Latency?

“In February of this year, Zero Latency approached us, because they had purchased our Alphas off the shelf, put them in a backpack with a battery. And they’re doing free roam, non-tethered VR with a zombie game. And, it’s here in Melbourne and we of course were like ‘whaaaaa?’ Because, we’d never thought of taking an Alpha and strapping it onto your back and using a battery, it didn’t even dawn on us you could do that. So, to us, we brought them in to showcase this here because this puts VR into everyone’s hands because now you have a $500 box that can do something this fun.”

Zero Latency is currently operating in North Melbourne, if you want to try it for yourself. Bookings are available on their website, and as Joe notes, this could be very well show one way VR technology could become widespread in the future. “I wouldn’t want to be in the laser tag business!”, Joe quipped.

Alienware’s new range of products, including the Steam Machine and Alpha, are available to check out on their official site.

Adam Ghiggino

Owner, Executive Editor of Rocket Chainsaw. I also edit TV, films and make average pancakes.


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