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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 April 2007, 09:57 GMT 10:57 UK
HP unveils plan for gaming future
Voodoo PC, Hewlett-Packard
HP bought VoodooPC to cash in on the gaming market
US computer and printer manufacturer Hewlett-Packard has unveiled plans it hopes will make it a major force in the global video and online gaming market.

HP bought specialist gaming computer firm VoodooPC at the end of last year, and said it would now expand the hardware the firm was able to offer.

Ideas on the drawing board are a curved computer screen and a handheld device that let users play on the move.

The global computer gaming business is worth some $35bn (18bn) a year.

Gloves off

As computer software and hardware becomes more sophisticated, so does the taste of consumers who look for ever more interactive gaming experiences.

A number of the world's biggest electronics firms are already fighting for domination in the video console business, including Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft.

However, HP said that it would not go into direct competition with Nintendo's Wii console, Sony's Playstation 3 and Microsoft's X-Box.

Instead the company would focus more on the online, mobile and computer gaming market, where millions of players take part in interactive games such as World of Warcraft.

"When we start playing in that space, the gloves are coming off," said Rahul Sood, chief technical officer of HP's global gaming division and the founder of VoodooPC.

Greater reality

One part of the sales plan will be for HP to offer gaming-specific computers that are more expensive than a normal PC, but less pricey than the custom-built specialized hardware that VoodooPc offers its clients.

HP is not the only company looking to meet the growing needs of gamers, and in March 2006 rival Dell bought computer maker Alienware in an effort to better cater to the profitable if somewhat niche market.

HP also unveiled some prototypes that it hopes will lure consumers.

One idea is a curved computer screen that would allow people playing a driving game to see the road to their left and right, and not just straight ahead.

Another prototype is for a handheld device that would let users incorporate real landscapes into their games whilst on the move.

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