Alienware Launches Its First Retail Store

Alright, it's more of a kiosk and less of a storefront, but Alienware is invading a Micro Center located in Paterson, New Jersey. In honor of the event, the Dell-owned company is hosting a LAN party, giving away a fair amount of free swag, and showcasing their various systems on Saturday, July 25. There's no word on whether or not its a BYOB event, but Alienware is promising to have plenty of its own machines around for enthusiasts and gamers to oggle. To be honest, this seems an odd move for the boutique computer OEM. While it's true that parent company Dell has cut deals with Walmart, Office Max and Staples to sell retail systems, the systems themselves are mostly the lower-end Infineon models, not high-end to ultra-high-end desktops or laptops. Alienware's typical pricing doesn't lend itself to anything less than carefully-planned investment; the company's kiosk might draw a lot of foot traffic if it's designed properly, but it's hard to imagine anyone walking into a Micro Center to buy a router and walking out with a $1500 PC.

Despite potential limitations, Dell is backing this initiative 100 percent. "Having an expanded retail presence to showcase Alienware’s design, performance and power is extremely important to us and our fans," said Michael Tatelman, vice president of sales and marketing for Dell’s global consumer business. "We’ve designed this event to give our gaming fans an outstanding experience worthy of the Alienware name."

Alienware Kiosk Concept

That's actually the problem. Love them or hate them, Alienware systems cost a pretty penny and don't actually contain any sort of secret sauce to make a game run faster. Put X components in Y box, and you get performance level Z, whether that box is a cheap Enlight circa 2005 or a tricked-out, custom-painted rig. The market for these systems is basically "gamers who don't know anything about hardware, don't know anyone who does, and have money to burn."  That said, the end product is often obviously a very well built machine, with top shelf components and performance of course.  Regardless,  putting Alienware in the retail market in any form is an interesting idea, even if we're dubious about the company's ability to make any money at it. Dell is sensibly limiting its exposure by launching a kiosk instead of a store, but it may prove difficult to transition Alienware from an online brand to one that's in Aisle 7, next to the networking cables.