RealTime IT News

HP Has Game With VoodooPC

When thinking of HP computers, the first image might not be blasting space aliens. But that impression may change with the company's acquisition of high-end game PC maker VoodooPC.

The acquisition, financial details of which were not disclosed, will inject some creative life into HP's mainstream consumer computing business, Stephen Baker of NPD Group told internetnews.com.

"Think of it as today Voodoo is a Ferrari, and HP's PCs are Toyotas," said Baker.

While Toyota buyers will never be in the market for a Ferrari, HP can convert some Lexus owners into Ferrari buyers, the analyst said.

HP said a new business unit within its Personal Systems Group will concentrate on the game industry.

VoodooPC co-owner Rahul Sood becomes chief technologist for the unit and co-owner Ravi Sood will be the unit's director of strategy. Both will report to Phil McKinney, CTO of HP's Personal Systems Group.

"The margins on a $7,000 PC are very high," said Mike Goodman, gaming analyst at the Yankee Group.

Goodman said Dell's acquisition of Alienware, VoodooPC's competitor, had a significant influence on HP's decision.

VoodooPC headquarters will remain in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

McKinney said Voodoo fills a missing piece in its strategy to lead PC gaming.

"It's not just about building fast PCs," McKinney told internetnews.com. The acquisition of VoodooPC gives HP more insight into retaining customers.

HP said it wants to integrate Voodoo technology.

"We want that DNA to become part of HP," McKinney said.

The deal allows HP to learn to deliver a higher-value computing experience to mainstream consumers, Baker said.

McKinney rejected the idea that VoodooPC products would share retail space with consumer-grade computers, adding that VoodooPC owners are accustomed to a high degree of customization, down to the color of packaging.

"There will be no change to the brand," he said.

Rahul Sood said the acquisition will allow VoodooPC to redefine the brand and put it at the heart of HP's gaming efforts.

But will the purchase by HP threaten its unique cache among consumers?

"We won't jeopardize that," Sood said.