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Alienware’s Frank Azor reflects upon twenty years of gaming

Alienware is now twenty-years old, and Vice President and General Manager, Alienware and Dell XPS, Frank Azor, was on hand at PAX AUS to celebrate.

“We were in a mode of discovery I would say, for the first year and a half,” Azor recounted to Stevivor.

“We started as just a regular PC company trying to build regular computers. After that, we didn’t really succeed very well. Then Alex [Aguila] and Nelson [Gonzalez, Alienware’s co-founders] took the gaming angle; I joined them right about that time.”

Simply put, Alienware was ready to fill a gap in the market.

“In early ’98, when I joined on March 1st, that’s when it was like, ‘Okay, we’re going to do gaming.’ It came from friends and family coming to Alex and Nelson and asking them to take their PCs and make it gaming capable, because there was nothing they could buy on the shelf back then. The market was very, very different,” Azor continued. “It was just mainstream computers. Everybody was trying to pull out costs to sell it cheaper than the next guy. Graphics cards were a new thing. 3D sound cards were a new thing. You had DOS and Windows. It was a mess on what ran on DOS, what ran on Windows. There was no internet, basically.

“From that, the companies evolved into being a gaming company, and then that’s where the direction was really settling. We then went to focus on this full-time, and it was just four of us,” he said. “It was pretty crazy.

“We kept hiring people, kept growing and growing, hiring, to the point where we were like, ‘Okay, we’ve got to start building our own products now to differentiate and drive the market instead of just taking what’s off the shelf.’

“That’s where products like the Predator chassis came from, the first gaming notebook, our liquid-cooled desktop, and then everything we’ve done ever since then.”

Alienware hasn’t stopped since, Azor said.

“It’s been crazy reflecting on all of that this year,” he said with a chuckle. “It makes you feel old but a little proud at the same time.”

We’ll have more with Azor in the coming days.

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Steve Wright

Steve's the owner of this very site and an active games journalist for close to fifteen years. He's a Canadian-Australian gay gaming geek, ice hockey player and fan. Husband to Matt and cat dad to Wally and Quinn.