Republic Of Gamers as a Brand

The first stage in cementing yourself as a motherboard manufacturer is getting the brand name out into the wild with positive feedback.  Next is to drive up volume.  When you are in a strong position, you can experiment.  ASUS has been in the market as long as most people remember, and their website states that over 420 million motherboards have sold since 1989, so they are in a prime position to experiment.

Since 2005, the Republic of Gamers brand has been one such experiment.  Starting with motherboards, and growing into other areas such as graphic cards, notebooks, audio equipment, desktops, and soon to be external storage, ASUS tell me they have now topped out the one million mark in terms of ROG products sold.  That is a lot of PCB.

If we take that one million value for a minute, and assume that they are all mid range ROG motherboards sold around the $350 mark.  Technically, that is $350 million - or more likely, around $200 million if you consider how many hands it passed through and import taxes, and profit is probably <15% of that, or at maximum $30 million.  I hear that ASUS are breaking even with the Republic of Gamers branding, meaning that $30 million for personnel, research and development, and everything else makes it a pretty good deal, especially if ASUS do get any feedback through the Halo effect.

The ROG Motherboard team is a dedicated team of around 10 people, including designers, overclockers and managers.  Similarly, there is a Sabertooth team, a Workstation board team and the Channel (Pro, Deluxe, Premium) team.  The teams together are managed by a primary R&D head, who coordinates all the major segments (chipset, power delivery) between the separate teams.

For overall improvements, the ROG team takes ideas from overclockers or trusted forwards from users, and then on a component-by-component basis.  We see this with the audio, which has improved from SupremeFX to SupremeFX III over the lifespan of ROG.  The researchers and designers take ideas to the manager of the team, who will then weigh up the cost of designing a feature versus the implementation and consumer need.

As a result, we have gaming products in the Gene and Formula, and the top product in the Extreme.  The Extreme is seen internally as the realization of many of the enthusiast ideas that have been given the go ahead.  The team is given a lot of flexibility in this regard, almost a carte blanche (blank check) in order to improve performance, compatibility, or just a new feature.

The big win from a user's point of view is the dedication of ASUS to pursue such an endeavor, as it probably was not always breaking even.  To take on this at a loss for several years is a decision that is not taken lightly, and may not pay off in any way.  Any user has access to the ROG forums to preview the products before they buy, and talk to users to understand the exact feeling of the products.  Help is on hand from the community moderators and people in the employ of ASUS in order to improve the user experience.  This is also alongside providing videos and previews of currently on-market products performing in world-class environments, or articles and guides showing how to make the most out of their purchase.

For any other manufacturer to come close to the ROG is going to take a long time and effort, as well as understanding the market as to whether it can hold two big players in this regard.  ASUS' major competitors could have trouble building a brand, even if they already have forums like the ROG Forums to help users.  The ROG Forums are more prevalent, more well known, and are not spoken in hushed tones. 

As a movement towards improving and innovating the motherboard landscape, I give the ASUS ROG Brand an AnandTech Editors' Choice Gold Award.  Users who participate in the Republic of Gamers are well catered for, and get the best ASUS has to offer in terms of help, information, previews, experience.  Even if the ROG brand has cost ASUS money since its inception, ASUS seem happy to do so if it keeps customers happy and their products at the top of the chain.  That can only be good for the rest of us.

ASUS Republic Of Gamers Brand
Gold Award

Conclusions - Rampage IV Extreme: Silver Award
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  • jontech - Friday, August 03, 2012 - link

    But sounds kind of cool,.

    Helps that Asus makes it :)
    Reply
  • Paulman - Friday, August 03, 2012 - link

    Asus Republic of Gamers also holds Starcraft tournaments, as well! That's how I first heard of their brand. In fact, the ASUS ROG Starcraft II Summer 2012 tournament is on right now and I'm watching a game vs. EG.IdrA and EG.Puma (same team, but one American teammate versus a Korean teammate).

    For more info on this tourney, see: http://rog.asus.com/142982012/gaming/join-the-rog-...
    Reply
  • primeval - Friday, August 03, 2012 - link

    A fun tournament thus far.

    For the branding portion of this article, I highly recommend checking out some of ASUS ROG's commercials. They have been playing throughout the aforementioned tournament and I have to say they are probably the best hardware commercials I have ever seen in terms of production quality. I think that if you see a few of those commercials, you may be able to further rationalize the branding award.
    Reply
  • Meaker10 - Friday, August 03, 2012 - link

    1x/16x/8x/16x would kill any dual card setup in a micro atx case, kinda defeating the point.... Reply
  • just4U - Friday, August 03, 2012 - link

    the 8x slot is rather pointless... Reply
  • danjw - Friday, August 03, 2012 - link

    I would rather see an article on the Ivybridge ROG motherboards then the Sandybridge-E ones. These are very niche boards, though I guess that is only slightly less true of the Ivybridge boards. For heavily threaded and memory intensive applications Sandybridge-E will win. But not really on much else, though they are chosen by some just because they are the most expensive. Reply
  • StevoLincolnite - Friday, August 03, 2012 - link

    Also, Sandy Bridge overclocks higher and throws out less heat, because of the silly design choice that Intel made in regards to the heat spreader compound.

    Not a problem for those who are up to the task of removing the IHS or lapping.
    Sad part is that Ivy Bridge actually has nice thermals and power consumption at stock; which could have translated well for enthusiasts.

    IvyBridge-E should be out within the next year, haswell will get released and the cycle shall continue.
    Hopefully we get 8 core Ivybridge-E chips, which is severely lacking on the Socket 2011 platform with the 3930K's being die harvested 8 core chips, plus most socket 2011 motherboards will take an Ivybridge-e chip anyway, when they're released.
    Reply
  • danjw - Friday, August 03, 2012 - link

    I was just looking at "leaked" slide that shows Ivy Bridge-E out in Q3 2013 and Haswell out in Q2 2013. I really don't see what the point is of an Ivy Bridge-E if Haswell beats it to the market. With Sandy Bridge-E they released it before the Ivy Bridge tock. I just don't see why that would make much sense. Reply
  • Assimilator87 - Saturday, August 04, 2012 - link

    Haswell will probably be limited to four cores, whereas Ivy Bridge-E will scale up to ten cores. Reply
  • Flunk - Friday, August 03, 2012 - link

    Ivy Bridge is more of a notebook oriented update anyway. The much better integrated graphics don't really matter to us anyway. Reply

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