Today, AMD confirmed the rumor that Frank Azor, formerly of Dell and Alienware, will be joining AMD to head up its cross-platform gaming efforts. I believe this is a big win for AMD as Azor is a gaming icon across the industry and has demonstrated he “gets” the gamer, game publisher, and, of course, the system and peripheral makers. Azor arrived at AMD with a long and successful track record of gaming at Dell and Alienware.
Azor’s official title will be “Corporate VP, Chief Architect Gaming Solutions” reporting into Sandeep Chennakeshu, head of AMD’s computing and graphics group. According to AMD, Azor’s overall task is to build and expand AMD’s cross-platform (PC-console-cloud) presence across semi-custom, Ryzen CPU, Radeon and Instinct GPU and software products. I would expect Azor to drive an integrated gaming roadmap, create messaging and value propositions, and execute needed end-user affinity campaigns.
Azor’s experience is wide and deep, starting at Alienware where he originally served as an engineer and later held senior executive roles in sales and marketing before creating the Alienware Product Group organization in 2003-after helping to pioneer what I believe was the industry’s first high-performance gaming notebook, the Area-51m. Later that year, he was credited with the successful launch of Alienware’s first self-designed desktop case (Predator). I remember the Predator well as it housed an Athlon FX back in the day with crazy space, cooling, and upgradability.
After Dell acquired Alienware in 2006, Azor held various executive roles inside Dell including running Alienware, Dell XPS, and the new Dell G-series businesses. According to my estimates, Dell currently sells more gaming PCs than any other maker in the industry. In October 2018, Azor disclosed to me Dell’s gaming business had reached $3B in size. To put that into proper perspective, publicly-traded Razer Inc. drives $500M in revenue each year.
AMD is doing well in gaming but can do better. AMD is doing great in game consoles, well in entry-level (integrated) and mid-range (card) graphics, but competition owns the premium PC gaming space and most of the profit pool. AMD has most of the cloud gaming wins, but it isn’t really a big market yet.
I know Azor professionally and personally and believe this is a great move and big win for AMD.