HP (Hewlett Packard) on Tuesday launched two new OMEN Laptops and accessories along with its first 16” Pavilion Gaming laptop.

On the occasion of the launch, Vickram Bedi, Senior Director, Personal System, HP Inc. India, shared his insights on gaming and the overall PC segment in India.

Excerpts here:

What is the idea behind launching the new gaming PCs?

We've come to a stage where we think gaming has actually become a part of the lifestyle. As we get insights in the India market, it is one of the key passion points of the Indian youth along with music and other sports. We already have a pretty strong line-up of gaming. We are adding to that line-up by bringing in two more Omen products

I think we've been seeing pretty strong demand in the recent past across all the line-up, whether it's commercial consumer, even more so in gaming. So we are very committed to gaming in this country. And this for us is a step in that direction of also driving there more customers to be able to experience gaming across all segments.

What is HP’s strategy in terms of market competition for gaming PCs?

We've always maintained competition is always good and it keeps us sharp. We do our best when we're competing. What we do is, we in the company something we call insight-based innovation, which is where we try and understand our customers as best as they can country by country, city by city. We have a team dedicated for that purpose and in the country here. So we observe basically, how our customers are using technology, what pain points do they have, which technology can solve? So we continue mapping those insights and then converting those insights into products and features. As long as customers like what you bring to them, and they are satisfied with the experience we provide them, I think we'll be fine.

Mobile gaming is becoming increasingly popular. Will this impact the PC gaming segment? If yes, how?

Smartphones have been a very complementary product to the PC in our mind. The smartphone penetration in India will lead the internet penetration in India. As a result of a lot of the customers came into technology and came into the internet. We will see a wave of customers who want to create, we will see PC 2.0 and I think that's largely what we see now is PC 2.0, which is basically a lot of customers come in, they start from consuming on a small device, start gaming on a small device, but it's a different version of the game. So some customers will be happy with that. Some customers looks for more and want to go to the full game. So as with any pyramid, customers will graduate to the next level, even from a creation standpoint, customers will consume content and some customers will want to start making content and then sharing content. And when it comes to creation, or when it comes to doing the best you can, PC is obviously the best tool for that stuff. I think it's complimentary and it helps spread the message of technology and accounts for the overall ecosystem.

What role will 5G play in gaming? Is 5G the future of gaming PCs?

5G when fully implemented is going to be a step function change. I think a lot of the limitations we're living with right now in terms of landline, cellular speeds and content that can be offered and the time it takes, it'll be a phased roll-out.

And then depending upon how the ecosystem goes back, I think the devices in the hardware will catch up pretty soon. I think it's more the overall experience that has to catch up because the offering is so strong, you have to kind of figure out how to maximize it, optimize it because, from a capability standpoint, it is extraordinary. It will be an evolutionary change.

What trends can we expect to see in the gaming segment in India? What’s next for PC gaming?

I think one is just the mainstream usage of gaming has become part of the lifestyle and running the market. Second, I think is the demographics of the country. We’re one of the youngest countries in the world and getting younger by the day. And this is a segment which is very connected globally this year, the trend that will happen is they're bringing in a lot of their passion points into the mix because they're obviously not very tech-savvy. And quite often, they're the ones driving which technology to be bought in the household. This is also showing up in gaming as well, both in terms of titles, and then in terms of what to game on. The explosion of online competitive gaming is another. So, apart from that, the drive for having stronger data speeds. The whole ecosystem is kind of improving. I think the content is getting stronger, with the hardware devices and the experiences that are available

Has the Covid-19 impacted the PC segment? If yes, how?

The situation, whether it is on the demand side or the supply side, has been equally dynamic. As the situation changes, the landscape changes, the options that are available change. I think when we were all kind of just getting into the lockdown trying to figure out as a country, as a government as a population, what this is about, so we kind of largely landed on two ways to approach it and we continue driving on those two factors. The first and foremost is safety first. The second is we have to find the best way to serve our customers. So for that, we'll just approach it week by week because things change on a fairly regular basis in terms of what is possible, how is it possible to bring in the product to the country, what is allowed, how can you bring it in and which route to markets are open. We've just innovated on various angles, sales as well as supply as well as support.

How will the current Make in India campaign influence the PC segment in India?

We've been manufacturing in the country for quite some time now. We have we had one factory and we actually just expanded and added one more factory to the production in Chennai.

So I think so for us. It's a continuum of what is the experience we can deliver to the customer? The desire is very high. And not just from us. The desire is high from the government standpoint, the desire is high from all the stakeholders and these things have a certain timeframe or a certain readiness that need to be worked on and need to be driven. I think is that collective question to all of us, including a question to the customers, it’s skill, it’s ability, it’s supply chain, it has many facets to it. There are a lot of bodies involved. But the detail is, obviously to be how can we serve our customers better? That's always the overriding question and the process.

What is HP’s strategy for India moving forward?

, I think India for the company has always been a very, very focused market. If you look at our trajectory on PCs as a country, we are still pretty low penetration possibly lower than double-digit or middle double-digit. Some of the segments such as gaming, displays and accessories are growing. I think as we index ourselves with the rest of the world, there is still a lot of growth possible for PCs. And obviously, as more PCs come in, they drive a lot of efficiencies that align, drive a lot of progress.

Our demand picture looking forward as we drive technology in the country, and we drive the user, we are keen to mainstream and increase the adoption of these products.