Marketing is a very powerful tool.  A successful marketing campaign or product segmentation can increase sales more than ten-fold.  It is not something we hear or talk about much in the motherboard arena – while a manufacturer will try and promote all the features they have on a product, advertising is usually limited to web advertisements, gaming shows, or an attempt to get as many positive reviews in the media as possible.  But certain manufacturers do enjoy branding their products – Republic of Gamers, Sniper, Big Bang, and Fatal1ty.  Today we are looking at just that – a Fatal1ty branded product, the ASRock Fatal1ty Z77 Professional.

The Fatal1ty Branding

I will cut straight to the heart of the branding.  Jonathan ‘Fatal1ty’ Wendel is a professional gamer, considered the first true professional gamer notching up near US$500,000 in prize money and twelve world titles in First Person Shooter games.  He has been featured in several mainstream magazines and media outlets for these achievements.

Since 2007, he has toned down his active competing, focusing more on selling himself as a brand, on anything gaming related from (and I quote) “motherboards, energy snacks, sound cards, gaming desks, computer mice, headphones, and power supplies bearing his moniker”.  One could hardly criticize him on this as he is capitalizing on a dream that many gamers have – to turn professional and make it a true money earner.

The issue comes from the direction of the marketing.  I should note that this paragraph is a personal ditty rather than views of AnandTech.  As an ex-clan gamer several years ago, I wanted to be better than others on my own steam – people like Fatal1ty seemed very smug to get to where they were and the mindset was to be the best by beating everyone, not by helping them in their career by investing in their products.  This attitude, in my opinion, is copied over most of my local circle of fellow gamers, especially those in the western hemisphere.  As a gamer, being reminded every time I start my computer of ‘the ultimate challenge’ is not a road I wanted to walk down, so you would buy a product which did not remind you of any gamer who had ‘made’ it.

Nevertheless, I did discuss this mentality with some regular and senior members at ASRock last year at Computex.  In their view, the Fatal1ty branding had increased sales significantly of their higher end offerings, especially in eastern hemisphere.  This essentially describes a very different mentality from what I perceive – the idolization (or willingness to accept) of professional gamers against the ‘us vs. them’ mentality I have encountered amongst my peers (of whom only one person owns a Fatal1ty product).  In my view, perhaps it might benefit ASRock sales in certain areas of the world to market under a new, non-person specific moniker, such as the ‘ASRock Gaming Series’, and have boards named the ‘Z77 Extreme G6’ or similar.

ASRock Fatal1ty Z77 Professional Overview, Visual Inspection, Board Features
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  • Chaitanya - Sunday, May 20, 2012 - link

    I am wondering how many people actually use floppy drive in this day and age when OS can install RAID drivers off a USB thumb drive and motherboards can flash bios even without having a CPU installed.
  • shabby - Sunday, May 20, 2012 - link

    How else will people make floppy music?
    Now wheres my printer port!
  • SlyNine - Sunday, May 20, 2012 - link

    Thanks man, made my day!
  • MonkeyPaw - Sunday, May 20, 2012 - link

    That is awesome. Seems like something at the end of a Portal game.
  • anirudhs - Sunday, May 20, 2012 - link

    There used to be a time when booting into Linux was only possible using a floppy drive.
  • CharonPDX - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    There used to be a time when booting into *ANY* OS was only possible using a floppy drive.

    Heck, Windows XP required a floppy drive to load storage drivers if you weren't using a supported storage controller. (Which could be worked around if you were really dedicated, but for the average home user...)

    But since Windows Vista, we have no legitimate reason for the floppy drive to be internal as opposed to USB.

    Many motherboard makers have a "legacy" motherboard available, that includes these things (plus serial and parallel ports,) for those customers that truly need them. But a gamer doesn't. I haven't *NEEDED* a floppy drive since at least 2006. Yes, I've *USED* one since, but a USB one works just fine for everything I've needed to use it for. Nearly the same for PATA. I can't think of any gamer that still has an PATA drive sitting around that they just *NEED* to use. Yeah, digging data off an old retired PATA drive is nice, but there are (SHOCK!) USB-to-PATA adapters that work just fine. (And since the absolute fastest PATA drives are barely equal to USB 2.0, the speed "hit" doesn't matter.)

    I have a vintage computer collection, and use PATA, SCSI, even ESDI hard drives; along with 1.44 MB floppies, and even all the way back to 5.25" single-sided floppies, on a regular basis.

    But I don't need support for any of them in my gaming PC. (Then again, I also bought the Abit AT7-MAX motherboard when it first came out, lacking PS/2, serial, and parallel ports when leaving them off was controversial. So maybe I'm just someone who is perfectly happy to ditch legacy on modern gear before others.)

    It would be one thing if most boards still had them, but they don't. I don't even get the inclusion of the PS/2 port on many "gaming" boards these days. Does anyone still use a PS/2 keyboard or mouse on their modern "gaming" system? Haven't all gamers moved on to new fancy laser mice? (Or whatever the fad-of-the-minute is.)
  • DanNeely - Sunday, May 20, 2012 - link

    when all the previous generation of boards yanked pata/floppy support there were enough people sending protest letters to convince most of the mobo makers to add it back for at least a few models.

    Personally I suspect they would've been better off jointly designing a pata/floppy pcie 1x card for the legacy device brigade.
  • Lazlo Panaflex - Monday, May 21, 2012 - link

    Asrock has included IDE and floppy connectors in various boards since the Dual-VSTA days...this is nothing new. Plus, some people still have decent IDE stuff laying around (i.e. DVD burners). Some older versions of Ghost run off a floppy.
  • SlyNine - Sunday, May 20, 2012 - link

    The reason I bought the board was because AsRocks name is a much better commodity then it was back in the A64 days. I bought it because I AsRocks name had proven itself, and I needed a motherboard with a hella lot of HDD ports. This build has been on 24/7 and up for weeks at a time before rebooting for 6 months so I'm glad I got the motherboard afterall. All the Fatality 1 did was make me not want it. But again needed the 10 HDD ports.

    I don't care about the Fatality 1 on the board at all. Used to play a ton of FPS's and I'm very very good at them. To bad I moved to a place with crappy internet, and was forced to buy a LCD. Makes all the difference in the world!
  • AssBall - Monday, May 21, 2012 - link

    So you moved somewhere with crappy internet and need 10 drives spinning all the time on an ATX board... because that's not pointless, inefficient, or unrealistic at all....

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