BFG Interview With John Malley On Phobos - HotHardware

BFG Interview With John Malley On Phobos

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We recently had the chance to have a conversation with John Malley, BFG Tech's Senior Director of Marketing, regarding the company's recently released Phobos line of high-end gaming systems. We asked about the current state of the Phobos product line and its unique features and service options, and John also spoke about future possibilities for the company as well. Read on to see what John had to say about Phobos and why BFG thinks now was the right time to introduce such a system...

HotHardware: With the economy currently struggling, why would BFG introduce an ultra-high end, boutique system at this time? Wouldn't it have made more sense to start with a more affordable offering to gauge interest and build the brand?

John Malley, BFG Tech.: We started the Phobos project before the economy started struggling, and as we neared launch, we were fairly nervous. It was surprising for me to learn that some markets are actually thriving during times like these, and entertainment is one of those markets. According to Jon Peddie Research (JPR) the market for the overall segment of PC gaming hardware, which includes boutique enthusiast systems like Phobos, continues to grow despite all the media hype about the current economy being bad. Some of our competitors in this segment have recently reported their best sales months to date.

Regarding your second question, we know from experience and marketing best practice that when a company launches a new brand at the high end of the market, it’s much easier to introduce a lower end version later, rather than start with a low end product and try to work up to the high end.

What was it about other boutique system builders or the market that led BFG to believe now was time to enter the high-end gaming system market? Who do you consider to be the closest competitor to the Phobos?

BFG: When we looked at the current boutique PC market, we noticed that most high-end systems have case designs that are flashy — with lights, “gamer” case designs or loud paint schemes that are targeted toward younger gamers. Unless you build it yourself, which many people can’t or don’t want to do, there didn’t seem to be a refined, attractive system that would look at home in a living room, next to a high end audio system and wide screen TV. When we did some casual market research, we found that there seemed to be quite a few “graduated gamers” like us, who are a little bit older, still love to game and play with HD media, but didn’t want a giant alien head or flashy paint job on their high end system. I think a lot of wives and girlfriends out there might agree. :)

In addition to that, we realized BFG was in an ideal position to provide a high end system that would compete with the current offerings out there, based on a several factors. First, we have access to hundreds of thousands of graphics cards a year that we can cherry pick to put into our system. Second, being a graphics card and power supply provider we will quite often, if not always, be able to provide the latest graphics cards and PSUs in Phobos before other system builders. And our years of experience providing pre-overclocked cards fits in nicely with the innovative “one-touch overclocking” we offer with Phobos’ touch screen LCD.

Who’s our closest competitor? I guess if you look at cost alone, our $3,000 Performance system competes quite well with any other $3,000 name brand pre-built system out there, especially when you throw in the included in-home set up and maintenance service, the 8” touch panel PC with one-touch CPU and GPU overclocking, the maintenance free liquid cooled CPU, and the integrated iPod/iPhone dock.

John Malley (left) Senior Director, Marketing and BFG CEO Scott Herkelman (right) with Phobos

HH: Now that BFG is offering full systems in addition to select components like graphics cards and power supplies, is the company planning to introduce more BFG-branded products like new motherboards or RAM?

BFG: Well, we’re always keeping our options open for new products that would fit into the BFG Tech brand, but we don’t have any active plans for motherboards or RAM at this time.

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I am very disappointed that they do not plan to offer that delicious case separately. They seem to be neglecting the fact than many, if not most high end users with money to burn on high-end gadgets like to build things themselves. I would like to convey to BFG that I would be more than willing to pay around $600 for that case, possibly more if it included the nice slot loading drives and hardware/software controllers for the screen. Also, I would likely do so immediately upon it becoming available.

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I agree, it would be cool if they should the case separately..  Like he suggests, "graduated gamers" aren't all about windows and lights.  I went with the NZXT Zero for it's simple, yet regal look (and the 7 or 8 fans it has).  This is a beautiful case, and the touchscreen is nice.  It would be cool to have control over all of your fans via a touchscreen panel on the front of the case.  The NZXT senty is the next best thing I've seen, but not as cool.  I don't think I'll ever buy a pre-built system, I enjoy the building process/satisfaction of saving money and building it myself.  Plus, $3k?  I built my system for $2k, and it probably has similar if not better specs.   

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Same here I'll never buy a pre-made system it's so much better to build one yourself, you know what's going in and you can make it cost w/e you want for your needs.

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You pay $600 bucks for that case alone?

Someones rich. :P

But honestly we don't even know what's inside and it's cooling capabilities are so we'll just have to wait.

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