The sleek, dark lines of the BlasterPC are back in Australia as Creative Labs begins shipping the product to retailers and distributor Achieva Technology.
The new PC is a first for Creative Labs, although Creative Technology's previous distributor Creative Pacific offered a previous Blaster version about 18 months ago. Despite the time lag, consumer interest in the product has remained high, according to Creative Labs marketing manager Nick Angelucci.
"We have found a lot of people in the market are still asking about it. We were looking at a slim-line box, but everyone still wants the ability to upgrade their machines. It still has the trademark frontal connectivity for the Sound Blaster Live!, but users can also expand as time goes on."
In the BlasterPC's absence, resellers have had to integrate the Sound Blaster range into white box PCs - a task which can be a "major drama", according to Angelucci.
Although Creative Labs is a very different entity from former exclusive distributor Creative Pacific, there is still some confusion in the channel regarding the change in relationship. In February, Creative Labs was set up as a local subsidiary in Sydney when the vendor abandoned its exclusive distribution relationship with Creative Pacific.
"We still have a lot of smaller dealers who are not too sure about how the changes work, especially since the name is almost identical. But we are a different company, with different people and different operating procedures, and we are finding more ways to get to market," Angelucci said.
"We had six months in which we were setting up but we were not allowed to operate so we were stuck and because we couldn't deal with a lot of retailers, they got the wrong message."
However, almost 12 months on, things are looking decidedly clearer for the company.
"This is a sign that we are hitting full steam again and jumping into the PC market shows Singapore has the confidence in us to expand the product line."
Bing Lee Electronics is as yet the only retailer to stock the PC, but other retailers such as Dick Smith Electronics are keen to jump on board. Creative Labs has also launched a built-to-order program for resellers through distributor Achieva Technology.
"We provide a better selling point than a clone because everything is branding now. Even white box manufacturers are coming out with their own brand. We've been in gaming so long we have a reputation in the marketplace, and companies such as Intel have grabbed us because they recognise the Blaster PC is the way to go for their new P4 chips.
"If a customer goes through a normal reseller, they will have an endless choice in graphics cards, DVDs, CD-RWs, even speakers. It can be delivered as a bundled package and it is up to the reseller to customise the machine for their clients."
Retailers will be offered a set configuration so customers can walk into the store and walk out with a computer. The BlasterPCs will retail from between $1999 and $4299.