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How Custom PC Gaming Builds Found a Fresh Audience in India During the Pandemic

first_imgIn 2016, Naman Gupta visited New Delhi’s Nehru Place Market to put together a custom gaming PC. What he found was a bunch of stores that were willing to handover lists of products to pick from, but couldn’t help him in figuring out what parts would work together best, or what alternatives to go for if the parts he wanted weren’t available. For gaming enthusiasts — a growing tribe in India, albeit still a niche — this wasn’t a new experience. But a frustrated Gupta took a step that many thought was strange — he decided to set up a store himself, from his own home.Dropping out of college in 2017, Gupta would watch YouTube videos to learn how to assemble PCs, and started a business selling these under the name Volted PC. Before long, he had his own outlet in Nehru Place, and was collaborating with YouTubers and organising events in universities.- Advertisement – naman gupta volted pc founder press photo naman_gupta_volted_pc_founder_press_photoNaman Gupta of Volted PC working on one of his rigsPhoto Credit: Volted PCCOVID-19 has been a win for people in the games industry games like Ludo King and Among Us have found great success in connecting people during the pandemic, and entertainment at home has gotten a boost — many people who stopped gaming once, got out of college and suddenly found themselves with more free time, and a lot more money than they did in college, and want to have some fun.- Advertisement – – Advertisement – With more people buying gaming hardware during the pandemic, businesses like Volted PC are seeing demand skyrocket. Volted PC typically shipped 40 to 50 systems per month, and that’s gone up to between 60 and 70 a month during the pandemic. Hyderabad-based MVP is another company in this space, and its numbers are up to 130-140 systems a month. Then there’s Delhi-based ANT-PC, which saw a 3X boost, and says it’s shipping between 300 and 500 systems per month.MVP co-founder Mohd. Ahmer was a project manager in Dubai who quit the daily grind of the corporate world in 2015. But in his hometown of Hyderabad, he said that the PC retail scene was even worse than Delhi’s.ahmer founder mvp press photo ahmer_founder_mvp_press_photoMVP co-founder Mohd. AhmerPhoto Credit: MVP“There was a lot of misinformation going around, with sellers primarily looking to push their stocked products rather than cater to the customers’ needs,” he said. “For instance, if a PC build needed a 550W power supply, stores would usually push an 800W unit saying ‘this is more powerful’ and the unsuspecting customer would go ahead and buy it.”Ahmer started by helping his friends set up their own gaming PCs, and then got his first order for a PC from a customer in Goa. He’d ship PCs from a spare room at home until opening a store in Hyderabad in 2017.ANT-PC is another company in the custom gaming rigs space but unlike Volted PC or MVP, this wasn’t the work of an unsatisfied customer who decided to make a difference. The people behind the company were already working on selling PC components and PC products, and this seemed like a logical next step.himanshu jain ant pc ceo press photo himanshu_jain_ant_pc_press_photoANT-PC CEO Himanshu JainPhoto Credit: ANT-PC“We realised that there was a dearth of premium PC-building outlets that went beyond pushing whatever they had in stock,” said Himanshu Jain, CEO of ANT-PC. “These builders wouldn’t put their systems through stress or burn tests. All they would do is build a PC, check if the display is working, and be done with it.”Why do people come to a builder when the parts are available online?For 21-year-old Anirudh Paheja, purchasing a custom-built gaming PC essentially meant getting his hands on a glass cabinet as seen on the streaming videos of his favourite YouTuber, Ninja. After browsing online and finding most builds expensive, Paheja and his friends headed over to Nehru Place – New Delhi’s go-to destination for PC parts. After some unfruitful experiences at regular PC stores, Paheja stumbled across Volted PC.Paheja immediately spotted the same cabinet he was hunting for, put on display alongside other equally attractive looking cabinets. “Other stores would only show me photos or YouTube videos of the cabinets and builds they offered. Whereas, at Volted PC, I saw the glass cabinet I wanted sitting right in front of me,” he said.As of May 2020, MVP has shipped nearly 4,500 units all over the country, enabling the company to move to a two-storey building, complete with dedicated testing labs and even a YouTube space for producing system building videos, to get the word out.Mumbai-based Ajay Arora, who purchased a system for his 15-year-old son this year during the lockdown said, “MVP shared detailed videos of the assembly process before shipping the system to us. When the package arrived, they also shared a video of how to remove the safety packaging from the system’s parts.”Volted PC’s gaming rigs range from around Rs. 48,000 for the cheapest build, to an average of around Rs. 1.43 lakh for the brand’s most-selling builds. For MVP, the cheapest builds start from around Rs. 35,000 and goes up to an average of Rs. 1.5 lakh for the most-selling ones. ANT-PC builds start from around Rs. 28,500 for the budget-friendly options and go up to around Rs. 1.25 lakh for the average, popular builds. This doesn’t include monitors, for which top-end options can go to another lakh.Checking the cost of the parts for Volted PC’s Rs. 1.43 lakh build, we found that it would run to over Rs. 1.6 lakhs. It appears that the brand is giving itself a tighter profit margin over the wholesale price, which means that customers would save both effort — and money.Chennai-based Parsu Ram, 36, purchased a PC from MVP last year for Rs. 7.5 lakhs. He wanted a custom cooling loop built into his system, that alone costs around Rs. 1.3 lakhs. “When I reached out to MVP, they did say that the specs I needed were a bit of an overkill and that I could get a good gaming PC for much less,” said Ram. “However, this was something I always wanted. So, I saved up enough money for some time and went ahead with the purchase.”So what does Ram do with his Rs. 7.5-lakh PC? “I mostly play games and at times tinker around with MLAI computing as a hobby,” said Ram. “It may not make much financial sense to others, but it’s like pursuing a dream for years and grabbing it when the opportunity arises.”A niche within a nicheMany of us stopped playing video games in school or college because there were more important things to do. But gamers have grown up, and the pandemic forced them to stay indoors. Thanks to companies such as Volted PC, MVP, or ANT-PC, they’re dipping their toes back into the hobby, but this is still a small (if growing) number of people, for now.As per a Canalys study published in June this year, shipments of desktops, notebooks, tablets, and workstations declined by 33.3 percent year on year in India during Q2 2020. The PC market is a small one, and gaming is an even smaller part of that.According to Rishi Alwani, co-founder of gaming focused The Mako Reactor, custom gaming PC building remains a “niche within a niche” market in the country. “Customers, at large, would still prefer to pick up a laptop than go into building a PC to suit their needs.”Volted’s Gupta remains hopeful that the scenario may change for the better in the near future. “A satisfied customer will always spread the right word and we hope that a demand for custom PCs will also slowly grow with that.”Will Xbox Series S, PS5 Digital Edition fail in India? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below. But, kitting out a gaming PC isn’t easy, and so, companies like Volted PC are also getting the benefit of increased interest in gaming, according to Gupta. “We wish to bring customisations to customers,” he said. Just like Volted PC, MVP and ANT-PC also share a similar enthusiasm in delivering the right product to the customer at the right price, with proper after-sales service to boot.Customers are willing to spend lakhs to get a computer that doesn’t just have the right high-end components, but also comes with the right amount of swag, such as bright lighting that changes according to what’s on the screen, glass cases to show off your premium peripherals and neat wire management, and exotic cooling systems to get the last ounce of performance out of all this hardware, he explained.If this sounds strange, it’s not all that different from other hobbies — a car enthusiast may spend several thousand just to get the right bug deflector for their SUV. A gaming enthusiast might spend the same on the perfect mechanical keyboard with backlighting. Sometimes, they’re even the same person.Volted PC, MVP, and ANT-PC: Meet the players- Advertisement –last_img read more

Planning

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Marcellus, West Genesee wrestlers vie for meet honors

first_img Tags: MarcellusWest Geneseewrestling Eight different members of the Marcellus wrestling team emerged with top-eight finishes from the Dec. 27-28 Kenneth Haines Memorial Tournament at SUNY-Oswego.All of this helped the Mustangs rise to eighth place in a 24-team field with 98.5 points, though it was still well behind the winning 273 points put up by Fulton, the state’s top-ranked Division I (large school) side.No Marcellus wrestler could reach the finals, but four of them got into consolation bracket championship bouts, with Dylan Price earning third place at 138 pounds when he shut out Fulton’s Samuel May 3-0 after a 5-3 semifinal defeat to Niagara-Wheatfield’s Justin McDougald.With multiple wins in their respective consolation brackets, Colin Scherer, at 99 pounds, and Carl Santiarello, at 106 pounds, each finished fourth, with Kyle Brown fourth at 285 pounds, denied a higher finish by Copenhagen’s Josh Freeman in a tight 2-1 decision.Zach Grolling took sixth place at 182 pounds, with Ryan Moses finishing seventh at 138 pounds. Ethan Ciota (113 pounds) and Nate Farino (195 pounds) each had eighth-place efforts.West Genesee was 21st in the Haines meet with 43 points, most of it from Nate Wade, who at 132 pounds blanked Mark Kuhn (Niagara-Wheatfield) 12-0 in the semifinals before a 2-0 defeat to Mexico’s Dean Shambo in the title bout. The Wildcats’ Colin McAvan edged Camden’s Tyler Pelton 1-0 for sixth place at 160 pounds.Taking part in Saturday’s Victor Duals, WG went 2-3, taking defeats to Canandaigua (45-34), Hilton (66-21) and Perry (54-19), but beating the host Victor Blue Devils 60-3 and topping Caledonia-Mumford 60-12.Against Victor, Nate Wade (106) and Colin McAvan (160) gained pins, while against Caledonia-Mumford that pair was joined by Jacob Gonzalez (145 pounds), Preston Elia (182 pounds) and Peter Dwinell (195 pounds) earning falls.Share this:FacebookTwitterLinkedInRedditComment on this Story last_img read more

Forward Taurean Thompson has reportedly withdrawn from Syracuse

first_imgUPDATED: Aug. 28, 2017 at 2:38 p.m.Forward Taurean Thompson has reportedly withdrawn from Syracuse and “likely won’t be back,” according to Donna Ditota of Syracuse.com.“We have been informed that Taurean is taking a leave of absence from Syracuse University,” SU head coach Jim Boeheim said in a statement to Syracuse.com. “My understanding is he wants to go to school closer to home due to some family health issues.”Summer-long rumors speculated something like this would happen, Ditota reported. She wrote that Thompson did not attend summer classes, “unusual though not unprecedented.” That Thompson was rumored to maybe transfer from SU or pursue a professional career. That Thompson has not responded to messages and invitations from teammates over the summer.Thompson’s two high school coaches, Bob Hurley at St. Anthony (New Jersey) High School and Jason Smith at Brewster (New Hampshire) Academy, both told The Daily Orange that they had not heard from him in months.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThompson attended a closing ceremony for St. Anthony in May, Hurley said, and at that time everything seemed “normal. School and everything seemed good.” Jessica Sheldon | Staff PhotographerLast season, Thompson averaged 9.2 points and 3.8 rebounds per game. He shot 54.6 percent from the field while playing 17.9 minutes per game. He scored well, but struggled with foul trouble and learning the Orange’s 2-3 zone defense. Thompson rotated in at center.Now, at that position, Syracuse has only Paschal Chukwu, the 7-foot-2 Providence, Rhode Island transfer who missed most of last season after eye surgery, and Bourama Sidibe, an incoming freshman. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on August 28, 2017 at 1:40 pm Contact Sam: sjfortie@syr.edu | @Sam4TRlast_img read more

Debbah Defers Training over Lack of ‘Cream of Players’

first_imgTactical workout ahead of the 2017 AFCON and the 2016 CHAN qualifiers which should have begun on Monday, April 21, was suspended over the lack of super players.The “pick and choose” of these cream of local players are giving Coach James Salinsa Debbah severe headache, particularly in the absence of the domestic cream of players.It seems that the two weeks’ tour on some 1st and 2nd practice grounds which led to the selection of 10 players from BYC FC were not enough to seal the final 24 local players to kick off the training.Reports say that the crucial call-up of players is finally hinged on an eight-day football league, known as Coca-Cola Top 8 Tournament.The tourney which begins on Friday, May 1 to Friday, May 8, at the Blue Field, with eight top teams, includes onetime arch rivals, IE and Barrolle.The other six participating teams include BYC, FC Fassell, Nimba United, NPA Anchors, Watanga FC and Aries FC.It might be laughable in the absence of a domestic league for a coach to pick players from a “Special Tournament” but the exclusion of some other top teams from the tourney is laughable.The clubs’ omission might have been either “deliberate for a payback of sour relationship” or “calculated attempt to deny other players of wearing the national team jersey to have their first run.”However, LFA Secretary General B. Alphonso Armah in defense of leaving out of one of the top teams, LISCR FC, said the selection was done by the LFA’s Competition Committee.The Competition Committee’s Chairman, Ansu Dorley, who is the chairman of the First Instant Board, responsible for the certification and de-registration of clubs also added the selection was done based on merit.Interestingly, LISCR FC is comparatively one of the two best teams in the first division, with a double championship, knockout and super cup titles and other titles.LISCR FC is also the 2nd most organized team to BYC while FC Fassell is still struggling to be third despite their big spending.  The third most organized team is inarguably Nimba United.Nevertheless, besides the stoppage of the domestic league, another problem that would delay the “pick and choose” of players would also be absence of a Deputy Coach – who could technically prop the head coach in recruitment.Meanwhile, with 46 days to go to the Togo mission, there are lots of hesitations that the Debbah’s boys would spin the wheel of the qualifiers in the country’s favor.Even though, Coach Debbah has mentioned 40 overseas-based players to blend with the topnotch locals, truthfully with the crash in our economy owing to the hit of the Ebola Virus the actualization of more than five players to play in the 2017 AFCON qualifiers would be a miracle.Many football connoisseurs have considerable doubtful that the employment of inexperience Coach Debbah; the delay in the selection of players, lack of deputy coach and the unpleasant relationship with the LFA and the Liberian government coupled with the ‘No Money Syndrome” would question if Liberia can qualify since we last appeared in 1996 and 2001.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more