In the Forums...
Posted: September 11, 1999
Written by: Keith "Farrel" McClellan
We've got a special treat for you kiddies this morning, an interview with the president and founder of Falcon Northwest, Kelt Reeves. For the three of you who have never heard of Falcon Northwest or its products, here is a brief overview. They make gaming machines, just gaming machines. They don't make anything else at all. Their only business is to make the fastest gaming computers on the planet - bar none. Any questions? I didn't think so.
Tweak3D: I imagine, due to the nature of your company, that your job as President is a bit broader than most who hold that title. Would you mind telling me a little about what you do at Falcon Northwest?
Kelt: Well I started this company as a one man operation seven years ago, so I have at some point done absolutely everything. These days my main priorities are choosing new products to include in our systems, analyzing prototypes, and I still handle most of the marketing for the company. I am also head game tester :)
Tweak3D: So, you get to test all the games, huh? Which games are currently your favorites? ;)
Kelt: I play a lot of games, and buy way more than I actually play. It's a sickness that eats up free time. Hidden & Dangerous has sucked up way too much time lately. I polished off Drakan in a weekend, which was also pretty good. Currently I'm about halfway through System Shock 2 - great spooky atmosphere in that one.
Tweak3D: What separates your company from custom system builders such as Dell and Gateway? What special features/options/etc. do you offer your customers that these larger companies don't provide?
Kelt: We exclusively build systems for gamers. The mass production companies just don't take gaming seriously, probably because their CEOs have never played a game. Those types of systems are designed solely by how many corners they can cut to make more money, while Falcon is concerned with quality & performance. To give you an example, while both Falcon and Dell use Voodoo 3 cards, 3dfx specially makes a cheaper, Voodoo3 3000-D model for Dell. That's a 125 MHz model that is slower than anything you can buy in the stores. Conversely, 3dfx makes the Falcon Northwest Special Edition Voodoo 3500TV for us, a special 200 MHz implementation that is faster than anything you can buy in the stores. It mainly comes down to our philosophy of only building the best. If a component can't be the best in the areas of speed, reliability and compatibility, it doesn't go into a Falcon.
Tweak3D: In what ways does your company separate itself from other gamer-specific system builders?
Kelt: We don't really know of any other "gamer specific" PC companies. Most of the recent additions you're referring to are just local PC shops that have tried to add gaming lines to their existing operations (although I'm not sure about GamePC). We're the only company I know of that has no local sales, and markets exclusively to gamers. We've also been serving this market since 1992, four years before our first competitor even cropped up. Since then we've seen a ton of them come and go: Zephyr, the NEC Power Player, PC4Play, Optical PC, FirezEdge, Lock and Load... and many others who were exclusively web based. We have met a lot of these companies along the way, but none of them has ever beaten us in a head to head review. There's a big difference between being a company that makes nothing but PCs for gamers and being a PC shop trying to make a buck off the gaming market. Here at Falcon, we work more in the game world than the hardware world. To see what I mean, just take a look at our print advertising. We co-market with the games we love to play like Half-Life, Unreal, Mechwarrior 3, Alien vs. Predator, etc. Most of these other companies' ads are laundry lists of PC components that look exactly like those in Computer Shopper. In fact Dell's ads in CGW are usually the same as their ads in Computer Shopper.