|★ PEOPLES ★ EXCLUSIVE: new series plans to capture home entertainment market ★|
|Amstrad Games PC Set for 1991 Launch (New Computer Express)|
AMSTRAD GAMES PC SET FOR 1991 LAUNCH
Amstrad will launch a range of IBM compatible 16-bit games machines next year, Express can reveal.
The forthcoming line-up will be known as the PC4000 series, and will be presented with an entry level price of £399. Impeccable sources within Amstrad insist that the plans have been fully approved and that the machine will be launched next autumn.
The PC4000 will be Amstrad's most concerted effort yet to capture the top end of the home entertainment and productivity markets currently guarded by Commodore with its Amiga and Atari with the ST.
Details are thin on the ground at present, but we understand that the 4000 will be a single unit 286 PC with VGA graphics capabilities and a single 3.5-inch disk drive. A monitor will not be included in the entry-level price although attractive low-cost
It will be styled in much the same fashion as the revamped CPC, launched earlier this year, and will be coloured industry cream.
An artists impression: Amstrad's major launch for next year >>
In an extraordinary five years Amstrad has captured almost all sectors of the low cost market, from cheap games machines to keenly priced solutions for the corporate market. However, the middle ground has remained elusive.
Two years ago, in an attempt to lure buyers away from the ST and Amiga, Amstrad launched its PC200. However, an unimpressive technical specification coupled with a patchy marketing campaign led to the company's biggest disaster in the computer market.
But Amstrad feels that it has learned from the mistakes of the PC200.
Most importantly, the 4000, using an Intel 80286 chip, will be faster than both the Amiga and ST. And VGA colour is even better than the eye-catching graphics capabilities of the Amiga. The limited sound capabilities of PCs will cause problems for Amstrad and buyers alike, and it is doubtful if the Brentwood firm will make many improvements.
In the past two years games software houses have increasingly turned their attention to the PC market and although the more established games machines represent the lions share of their profits, PC games have proved more than worth the publishers' effort. There is also a steady stream of PC games coming over from the US, where the PC is regarded as a natural home entertainment machine.
An artists impression: Amstrad's major launch for next year In its marketing campaign Amstrad will stress the PC's entertainment value as well as its educational and productivity advantages; an integrated business package is likely to be thrown into the original bundle.
But Amstrad, as always, isn't prepared to talk about forthcoming products.
However a spokesman offered: “I don't know anything about this and if I did I wouldn't be in a position to talk about it a year ahead of launch. I can't deny its existence, but then again I can't confirm it.”
New Computer Express #105 (November 1990)