Lenovo is stretching outside its comfort zone to try to please gamers by developing its first game ever, Game State, an action and role-playing game that will debut later this year.
The 3D science-fiction game revolves around defending a tower. It is different from other games as its storyline and features are being crowdsourced, with gamers playing a role in defining gameplay, artwork and design.
One wouldn't think of Lenovo as a game developer, like EA, Nintendo, Ubisoft or Telltale. But the company wants to sell more gaming PCs and believes Game State will help it break into the tight-knit community of gamers.
Users can provide feedback via Lenovo's Game State website, and other users will evaluate the ideas. Depending on the feedback, engineers may implement the feature in the game. Crowdsourcing keeps game development fluid, and could play a big role in defining the characters of the game.
Gamers "are a very passionate and involved set of users," said Kevin Beck, a senior competitive analyst at Lenovo. "They want to be engaged."
Beck didn't provide a specific release date during a conference call. But the Game State website points to a June launch.
Of course, Lenovo wants to use the game as a way to sell more PCs to gamers. By establishing a gaming unit last year, Lenovo wants to show they are in the market to stay. Rival HP killed its popular Voodoo gaming PC brand years ago.
Gaming PC shipments are growing in an otherwise stagnant PC market. And with high prices, gaming PCs deliver better profits than consumer PCs. Gamers typically turn to boutique PC makers like Falcon Northwest or Origin PC for their customized desktops, but Asus has seen some success and Dell's Alienware products are becoming popular. Acer is also ramping up its gaming offerings with laptops, desktops, monitors and tablets.
Lenovo has also partnered with gaming PC company Razer, and the first products from the alliance were announced on Monday. The IdeaCentre Y900RE desktop has Razer's BlackWidow Chroma keyboard and BlackMamba Chroma mouse. The desktop has Intel's standard voltage Core i7-K processors, which can be overclocked, dual Nvidia GTX970 graphics, up to 32GB of DDR4 RAM and 2TB of hard drive and 256GB of SSD storage. The desktop is priced at $2,299 and will ship in June.
Also announced was the 27-inch Lenovo Y27g RE curved gaming monitor, which has a lining of Razer Chroma RGB LEDs on the back panel that can light up and provide effects when running games. The full high-definition monitor supports Nvidia's G-Sync technology, which should improve gaming with faster refresh rates. The monitor is priced at US$599 and will ship in June.
Lenovo also announced the IdeaPad Y900 gaming laptop, which has a 17.3-inch screen, making it more like a desktop. It is loaded with hardware that should please gamers, including standard-voltage Core I7 k-series chips, Nvidia GTX 980M graphics and up to 64GB of DDR4 memory. It's not portable, weighing roughly 4.5 kilograms and is 10.1 centimeters thick. The laptop will ship in June starting at $1,999.