The Interview: Arthur Lewis
The great thing about gamers is that we come in all shapes, sizes and colors and though we move forward in life doing many things, for most of us the gamer inside never dies. When you have a chance to work in an industry that stems from your love of gaming there is not much better than that.
Arthur Lewis is the president of the Alienware Corporation and GM of Dell Gaming at Alienware. Obsolete Gamer had a chance to talk with Arthur at E3 where we learned of his gaming background and an interesting friendly rivalry between him and co-founder of Alienware Alex Aguila.
Obsolete Gamer: When did you first get into gaming?
Arthur Lewis: The term “Gaming” is all-encompassing. I started playing video games when I was very young, but my friends and I played all kinds of games as kids. Games were very, very important. We played video games (arcade, console, handheld, computer), and we played board games (from games like Line in the Sand to Talisman to Space Marines), role playing games based on fantasy (e.g., 1st edition D&D), the future (e.g., Warhammer 40k), the wild west (e.g., Boot Hill) and comics (e.g., Marvel) – just to name but a few. My experience gaming has actually taught me a lot and I find myself looking for the game in all I do.
Obsolete Gamer: What were your favorite games to play?
Arthur Lewis: This is a tough one because there were (and are) so many, and I’m sure I’m gonna miss a bunch. From an arcade perspective, my favorites were (and still are) the oldies but goodies: Asteroids, Defender, Stargate, Galaga, Space Invaders and, of course, Robotron. Superbowl Sunday on C64 was classic. You could pick teams from previous Superbowls and match them against each other. We played this quite a bit. Pit Fall, Paper Boy, Mario Brothers definitely were played extensively, and all the sport franchises on PCs, consoles and handhelds.
Then on the PC of course it was Quake, Doom, then Counterstrike. Neverwinter Nights was also a game I played quite a bit. Then there was a period that I was into RTS games and played games like Civilization and Age of Empires for many years. Hats off to Sid Myers for such a fantastic franchise. Civ was a game we really burned out on. For the past three years, I’ve been on the MMORPG kick, playing Lord of the Rings Online mainly.
Obsolete Gamer: Did you know you wanted to do something gaming related or was it more of a hobby?
Arthur Lewis: Gaming was always (and will always be) a hobby. The fact that it’s also my job is a HUGE plus!!
Obsolete Gamer: Talking both with Alex Aguila and yourself we know you have known each other for a while can you tell us about how you first met?
Arthur Lewis: Alex and I have known each other since 7th grade. We met in Ms. Stamatinos English class I believe. We went to the same school through high school. And we’ve been playing different kinds of games together for the better part of 30 years.
Obsolete Gamer: We know from our interview with Alex that you two had a gaming rivalry; can you tell us a little about that?
Arthur Lewis: It’s not so much a rivalry as it is friendly competition. We both like to win.
Alienware at E3 2010
Obsolete Gamer: Overall who is the better gamer between you and Alex?
Arthur Lewis: I’d say we’re pretty even. I’m sure there are some games he’ll win and others I will. He, however, definitely has more time to practice. And he has more tools. He has a full blown arcade in his house!!!
Obsolete Gamer: At E3 you told us you still had upcoming Temco football matches against Alex. Alex says you still haven’t played him again. When do you plan to have your Temco football face of and who do you expect to win?
Arthur Lewis: LOL. I don’t know. I think I like the memory of being the last one to win, so I may leave it at that.
Obsolete Gamer: What was it like seeing the company grow and peoples response to your gaming PC’s?
Arthur Lewis: One of the most fulfilling parts of our job is seeing the dedication to the Brand by our customers. And then to see it translate to all places around the world. It’s truly amazing. Last year, we launched Alienware into China for the first time. We had over 400 media show up!! Every question I got was around “why did it take you guys so long.” To see the reach our Brand has, and to see how it’s valued in all of the different parts of the world where we didn’t even know people knew us is both amazing and humbling.
Obsolete Gamer: How did you feel during the joining with Dell?
Arthur Lewis: I felt a combination with Dell would enable Alienware to do the kinds of things we otherwise would not have been able to do as a closely held company. For example, over the course of the past 24 months, we expanded our geographic footprint to the point that we are in every major country in the world, and we support 3.5x the number of languages. I think we now reach close to 90% of the World’s population. Another example, is we can leverage Dell’s scale to develop PCs that are conceived from the ground up for truly differentiated products.
Alienware Booth E3 2010
Obsolete Gamer: Can you tell us about running the gaming division for Dell/Alienware?
Arthur Lewis: What can I say, at times, I have the best job in the world.
Obsolete Gamer: What is your opinion on the high end gaming PC market today?
Arthur Lewis: It’s an exciting time, to be sure. There is so much going on. There is a proliferation of great AAA titles on the horizon. Customers are buying their games in entirely different ways from just a couple of years ago. And there’s a massive installed-base of 100s of millions of gaming capable PCs. In our industry, high end gaming has been the bridge to many new and useful technologies. Over the next couple of years, I see history repeating itself.
Obsolete Gamer: Do you think 3D is the future of PC gaming?
Arthur Lewis: I do not believe that 3D is “the” future, but it’s certainly an “important part” of the evolution of video games and all video content for that matter.
Obsolete Gamer: What changes do you think need to be made to keep the high end PC market going in the future?
Arthur Lewis: We need more connected devices that allow, in a very simple fashion, content to be shared across multiple, open platforms.
One thought on “The Interview: Arthur Lewis”
Arthur is one of the people in the industry that actually plays a TONNNNNNNNN of games in his spare time. He’s a real gamer.