PCR March: A coffee and catch up with Jon Atherton

Jon Atherton, Director, Industry Stalwart… and just a great all round bloke speaks with PCR’s editor, Michelle Winny about CI-Distribution striking a new deal with ASUS and what’s currently ‘hot stuff’ in the world of gaming right now.

CI-Distribution was recently named as the new official distribution partner for ASUS’ Gaming range of laptops.

Jon Atherton, Director at CI-Distribution described this as “very exciting times at CI-D and the opportunity to work with ASUS as we continue on our quest to ruffle the incumbent distribution players”

We couldn’t miss such a great opportunity to hear more about this latest news so we caught up with Jon over a cuppa to find out more.

What’s driving demand for Gaming Notebooks opposed to other gaming consoles and systems?
It’s all about delivering a convenient gaming experience. The biggest advantage of gaming laptops is their portability. Users can easily fit a laptop and peripherals, like the mouse and headset into a rucksack to truly game on the go.

Whilst gaming desktops produce better performance than gaming laptops, due to more powerful graphics cards and a wider variety of hardware, the gap is reducing all the time.

Since the pandemic and rise of crypto currency – there has been an increase in the requirement for Tier 1 brands with Gaming brands at the forefront due to the multiple verticals they can work in.

How will CI-D’s partnership with Asus strengthen its gaming portfolio?
Partnering with ASUS strengthens our appeal to the reseller gaming community. The opportunity to work with another Tier 1 brand like ASUS, renowned for quality technology is exciting!

The relationship with Asus enhances our portfolio and offering on Gaming Laptops with so many range refreshes on offer to create a real buzz around CI-D, and a confidence within customers of best-in-line solutions.

Where are the current hotspots in popularity and demand in regards to the gaming and esports industry?
2022 promises further innovation in the gaming and Esports industry, there is a lot to be excited about and it’s impossible to name them all. A few noteworthy hotspots: Intel’s 12th Gen mobile chips launching on February 7th. They utilise Intel’s big. Little hybrid design – mixing single-threaded efficient cores for low priority tasks with multi-threaded performance cores. All the premier gaming laptops will host these chips upon release.

We can’t discuss gaming in 2022 without mention of DDR5 RAM. It’s the first generational upgrade in RAM in close to a decade, delivering an impressive jump in speed and bandwidth to significantly improve gaming performance.

And of course, graphics cards are always going to a popular talking point. As gaming and gaming content creation continues to transform the industry, the modern laptop needs to be able to handle graphically intense projects like 3D modeling, game development, or video rendering.

What plans for growth is CI-D currently focusing on in the gaming and esports sector?
We recently announced a gaming peripherals distribution deal with MSI (Winner of the 2021 PCR Gaming Peripheral Vendor of the Year Award) building on our initial partnership with MSI gaming laptops and Steel series over 18/24 months ago.

Their award-winning portfolio is noteworthy and highly regarded throughout the industry, combined with a unique MSI CENTER application and brand profile (which shows MSI growing in this area).

Also, our noted recent partnership with ASUS. We pride ourselves on collaborating with the best and ASUS has the respected gaming portfolio to bolster our product offerings in this sector as we look to stake our claim in 2022 and beyond. We are a business that is a go-to for client gaming.

How is the popularity in gaming and esports affecting the etail and independent retail sectors in terms of product demand?
CID works with Etailers and independent resellers to offer a wide range of products allowing all in the channel to benefit from the growth of esports and the gaming industries sharp rise in popularity.

In terms of product demand, it’s no secret there has been a shortage of various hardware in the industry, which has been frustrating to all. However, as the world is beginning to transition out of the pandemic, this should cease to be the case and the supply/demand ratio will hopefully return to appropriate levels.

What collaboration plans does CI-D have in terms of its partnership with Asus, what product categories will it focus on?
Our current relationship is based on ASUS Gaming laptops.

The years ahead promise to continue the rising demand and growth for Notebook Gaming and we are excited to be working with the Asus Team to provide a reliable Distribution offering.

How is CI-D driving its focus into key niche areas such as gaming and OEM configuration and small factor solutions?
CID will continue to grow our gaming portfolio.

We currently partner with MSI, ASUS and Steel Series, amongst others and have made a further commitment to expand our warehouse and configuration center in Caerphilly by a further 75,000 sq. ft during 2022.

How has the gaming sector evolved over the past few years?
The power and usability of gaming machines and accessories allows the sector to reach a much wider audience than before.

Competitive gaming has become a mainstream phenomenon. The modern gamer can watch others play online through streaming services such as YouTube and Twitch live, as you would a sporting event. This gave rise to the world of eSports and several universities now offer as a course of scholarship!

There is actual talk of gaming entering the Olympics as a recognised sport amid predictions for the epsorts industry to continue a Billion $$$ growth.

What trends in the gaming sector are you seeing?
Cloud Gaming is the big fish at the moment.

It essentially transforms gaming into Netflix, so instead of buying a game and downloading it – you can stream it in real time on various devices. Like Netflix, you can start playing on one device then cast to your tablet, laptop, or TV once you’ve got a bigger screen available.

It’s truly revolutionary and one of the most exciting innovations in recent years.

Where do you see the future of the gaming and esports industry headed in terms of gaming peripherals, AR-VR, The Metaverse, streaming, hardware, software, etc?
VR headsets are among the industry’s fastest-growing businesses, setting the stage for a major rivalry between Meta and Apple, who is reported to be developing their own range of headsets and smart glasses.

Microsoft threw their hat in the ring too with HoloLens, Altspace and Mesh mixed reality platforms. 2022 is looking to be the year we see mass production and distribution of these ground-breaking products.

I will need to upgrade my rig…..

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