Interview, Werner Joubert, ASUS South Africa @ rAge Expo 2016By Robin-Leigh Chetty 7 October 2016 | Categories: interviews
This year's rAge Expo is bigger than ever, and as such presents a great chance for manufacturers and developers to showcase their wares, and gamers an opportunity to enjoy. One hardware maker aiming to make a lasting impression is ASUS.
Having cemented its position as the leader in the local gaming hardware market, with 65% share of GTX CPUs (past three months), this year's rAge will expose consumers to the entire ASUS experience. We recently chatted with the company's product head for the Systems Group, Werner Joubert for more insight.
TechSmart: rAge is arguably the largest gaming expo on the continent. With that in mind, can you unpack the opportunities it offers ASUS?
Werner Joubert: For ASUS it's less about opportunity, as we are the market leader in Southern Africa for gaming by quite some distance. Instead, our goal at rAge is to expose consumers to all our different products, as they don't always have the chance to touch, play with and experience all our devices.
All models are not regularly available in store. Consumers may see them online, but they still want that interactiveness, so rAge provides us with a platform to do so. Our particular focus, along with having high specced offerings, is to showcase how comfortable they are to use for prolonged play. If we can make the gaming experience more comfortable for consumers, the more likely they are to opt for our products.
Once that begins to happen, the local gaming community can start to grow, and soon we can compete with the markets in Southeast Asia and Europe for example. That's why rAge is important, because it's a platform to meet these people.
TS: Speaking of the local gaming scene, would you say gamers are hankering to be on the same level as the Southeast Asian markets?
WJ: Definitely! The gaming community five years ago was quite small, but today its growth is exponential. If you look at the South African market, the access to technology can be quite pricey.
This is a significant factor, as our local gamers have the skills, but struggle to afford the technology to accompany it. As such they're trapped between a rock and a hard place, which is why ASUS has been trying to make its technology more accessible. If local gamers can prove their skill, ASUS are driven to bring them to the international stage.
TS: It's good to hear ASUS is backing local gamers. With plenty of gaming hardware on display at the ASUS stand, are their any that stand out for you as one's rAge attendees must check out?
WJ: Our new range of G752 notebooks for sure. They're not our top offering, but with Nvidia's new Pascal architecture (GTX 1060 and 1070), they certainly have plenty of power. Added to this is our thermal cooling technology, especially with a high demand for advanced cooling performance at the moment.
As such, many competitors are also touting their thermal capabilities. For ASUS, we focus on how cool we can keep the device instead of how many thermal units we place inside it, and the power of our thermal is what you can actually feel. That's why I want rAge attendees to come to our stand and feel the units, as they can go up to eight hours, and play comfortably with our notebooks.
TS: Very exciting stuff. ASUS is not simply a gaming hardware manufacturer though, they also have business notebooks, tablets, smartphones and wearables. What should consumers be aware of in that regard?
WJ: As far as our other products go, the focus is on Windows and Android. We also pay attention to design, and try to ensure the devices are both light and portable.
One example of that is the recently launched ZenBook 3, which is a 12" ultra-thin notebook. It's also got a number of great specs, such as an Intel i7 processor, along with no moving parts. Your RAM and SSD is onboard, and the speed of it is absolutely phenomenal. That kind of product is what the majority of executives will aspire to. If consumers don't like OS X, this is the device they should go for.
TS: We've seen Dion Wired's branding on the ASUS stand, can you expand on what your relation is like and why you've partnered with them?
WJ: Our partnership with Dion Wired began a year ago, so we started selling our mainstream units in their stores, like the ZenBook range. This provided the base for a platform to work together with them. More specifically, Dion Wired has the type of consumer we're also hoping to reach.
To that end, gaming is one of the new portfolios we've added to their stores, and that's because they have a lot of consumers heading into their retail spaces asking for high-end computing devices. Not necessarily just gaming, but high-performance products in general, which presents a great opportunity for ASUS.
TS: Anything to more to add?
WJ: For us, the rAge Expo is not about selling more devices to consumers. It's about giving them a chance to see all our devices in one area, to touch them and experience the features they sport first-hand.
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