Welcome back to the 2nd-day summary of my Asia Pacific Predator League 2024 Manila trip and if you haven’t caught up to the first one, click here.
In any case, this day is actually the busiest out of the bunch since the schedule starts from 8AM early in the morning dedicated to the press conference of the opening of the Predator League 2024 tournament, presented by the many country heads from all the participating regions.
We are first greeted by the President of Acer Pan-Asia Pacific Operations, Mr Andrew Hou, who explained the journey of Acer entering the market and portrayed themselves as a brand that offers value-centric products a.k.a rational key selling points.
Although Acer is still continuing to do so, they are also trying to shift the direction and approach the market from an emotional perspective capable of connecting with its customers in a more “lifestyle” way.
The release of various Predator merchandise such as hoodies, luggage bags, and energy drinks alongside the Acerpure family and various e-bikes is the current strategy and they look forward to creating more products that can fit into one’s daily life more easily.
Each country head presented what they have been doing in the past Predator League installments (if any) and of course, Malaysia wouldn’t have their own until next year assuming you already found out about the news a couple of weeks ago.
As such, the new Managing Director of Acer Malaysia, Mr Kon Tek Yoong, shared some information regarding the 1st Predator League hosted over at Jakarta where our own boys Geek Fam became the champion in Dota 2 (Yes, only one game was competed at that time).
But thanks to their first attempt of organizing a true world-class esports competition, it was clear that Predator will be the branding for Acer’s involvement in digital sports going forward.
Now for some statistics game, Acer has been getting quite the market share in the APAC region and is especially strong in the SEA market. In terms of fellow Malaysian’s preference, the sales performance of standard desktops and gaming notebooks led the rest of the lineup and reached the podium of the top 2.
On the other hand, the Highpoint Services Network (HSN) in charge of providing authorized repair services for dozens of electronic brands also saw a nice 21% YoY growth with leading contributions by Vietnam and the Philippines.
For Acerpure, the overall Revenue YoY growth comes at a 77% high with region-specific numbers going just as wild. Although Malaysia saw 430%, no one can beat the 2670% in Japan and I can see why. With tons of awards received both by local parties as well as international firms, they really put a lot of investment within that region.
Also, Japanese people tend to focus their budget on household items and appliances so I expected Acerpure to sell well in the country but of course equally surprised by the amount of support received.
Finally, a simple Q&A section was conducted before ending with a group photo. Here are some of the questions asked.
Q: Are there any plans to utilize renewable parts for other products in the future, such as desktops, monitors, and even laptops in the gaming department e.g Predator and Nitro?
A: It is still unconfirmed whether we are ready or capable of doing it given that gaming products have a different set of requirements. As we are still focusing our resources on the Acer Vero series of products which has earned lots of design awards, we are still committing to expand the use of recycled materials in other products so there will be more Vero versions of the products that you may already be familiar with.
Q: Will there be more competitive titles in the future for the Asia Pacific Predator League? Considering it came from hosting only 1 game at the beginning and steadily offering 2 titles each year.
A: To answer that question, first off, we think that 1 is too little and 3 is too much considering the current scale and resources we are able to pool in. Additionally, each region has its own popular games. We have to do a lot of in-depth market research to find out which title will be the most suitable for all participating countries. Also, the actual selection of games is done through voting so we have to choose in the best interest of everybody.
Q: Any plans to globalize the tournament into the real “Predator League” (non asia-pacific exclusive)?
A: The same problem comes into play just like the last question – there will be more complications in regards to the selection of competing titles but also we have to factor in the arrangement of medias across the world as well as the gamers and viewers planning to attend the event live. Therefore, no consideration as of now.
Although we needed to move some distance via “Bus 11” but in return, we got to see the arena complex through and through. With several Predator booths showcasing products, games, merch, and more, we came across the Predator Shield replica.
The arena is a spacious and flashy stadium that can hold up to a large number of people. They even have premium suites for those who prefer to look down the center stage without getting their ears torn apart by the sheer power of the sound system and the cheering of the crowd.
But anyway, here are some photos of the opening, and boy, the angle is just way different when you attend an esports event for “work” rather than “watch”.
In any case, halfway through the opening performance, we are ready to explore the “Mini CES 2024” thanks to the local team setting up product displays over at the premium suites. Splitted into two groups, we went to the SpatialLabs room first.
The first thing I tried out is the Predator SpatialLabs View 27 which is the very first implementation of the on-demand glass-less 3D technology into a desktop monitor. Not to be confused with the raw output over at the right side, the left side is actually what we are seeing.
The specific demo can be felt as the surroundings and the character are much more solid in a general sense but the real “poppiness” is shown by the little things like flowers, critters, and such. As a rule of thumb, the smaller the thing is the more 3D you can feel.
Practically speaking, each application or game has been fine-tuned for the optimal and balanced 3D experience in terms of the level of depth and pop-out. The sensor bar on the top smartly tracks the eye position of the user so all you need to do is to sit properly and don’t move around too much.
But such a mechanic also meant that people who are standing around the monitor will not get the appropriate 3D effect but it is reasonable to just focus on the gamer.
The additional speakers on the side brought even more immersion on a case-by-case profile since it works directly with the eye tracker to get the proper head positioning.
We also have the Aspire 3D 15 SpatialLabs Edition geared towards creators and 3D modelers who would like some additional quirks and QoL experience to their existing workflow. Since the model here is not exactly super powerful to drive games so I guess this is more of a middle-ground product.
Or perhaps they’ll release a more powerful SKU in the future, who knows?
Next we moved to the Predator gaming laptops room to see and as half expected, the new models, at least from the front side, look more or less the same but of course, they are fitted with things like 14th Gen Intel CPUs and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 40 series GPUs – all the powerful silicon brains in this current generation.
If I had to pick one for myself, I actually prefer the Helios Neo series’ design since they incorporated the Numpad into the same form factor as the Triton Neo counterpart. This is strictly just a preference thing though (And I like the full black tone more haha).
And of course, who can forget the beastly Helios 18 that has the option to go for the most powerful CPU and GPU combo alongside a crazy 250Hz screen. No game shall be an issue for this mobile fortress.
The MagKey 3.0 is an interesting concept though, as you might be able to catch the slightly elevated WASD keys which by Predator’s explanation, they want a distinctive feel of the 4 keys (Not sure which gamer in 2024 has problems getting used to the position though) so aside from the height difference, you can also swap out the MagClick which is tactile with a mild click for satisfying input or MagSpeed for quick and accurate input.
And yes, the swappable keys are sold together with the laptop so no additional purchases are needed.
Don’t forget the new stylized Predator logo powered by the LED strips. Live that Predator lifestyle through and through my man.
For the router, we don’t really get to test them but at least we can see how it looks. For starters, the Predator Connect X7 5G CPE focuses on bringing high Internet speed and portable connection to anywhere you go. Think about hosting a mini 5v5 LAN tournament (assuming you have enough power sockets for everything and all), a single unit of this model is more than enough for it.
On the other hand, the same design language is applied to the Predator Connect T7 WiFi 7 Mesh Router and it is easily understandable – swapping out the former’s 5G support for mesh networking so this is just a fairly standard home-focused router with high connectivity performance across the board.
The Acerpure room hosts all the things from an air circulator with filtering and vacuum sticks to the fancy water filter. Everything looks nice and modern, and if you ask me about “hands-on experience”, the only thing I can express clearly is the standing fans and air circulators have really high power at the max level so definitely check them out locally if you need one for your room.
The final room hosts the standard Acer laptops and Predator gaming monitors but we’ll start with the laptops first. The new Swift Go series is poised to provide ample performance and high-quality visual fidelity through the OLED screen and AI-powered system via the Intel Core Ultra series processors.
The thin and light classics not only got the PurifiedVoice and PurifiedView for better voice and video calls, but the newly introduced virtual media keys are what attracted our attention. Only kicking in when the active window has the associated buttons such as YouTube and Netflix, you can easily control the video or music just by tapping them.
The little ‘SWIFT’ logo is a nice touch too – subtle and classy.
A little bit of a bummer is that the virtual media pad is exclusive to the Swift Go 14 and therefore absent in the Swift Go 16. I personally like larger-sized laptops so I do hope that feature could be standardized in the future.
As for the Swift X 14 and Aspire Vero 16, there’s nothing too particularly interesting or new unique points to talk about but they are equipped with the latest hardware and further improvised the design and eco-friendly commitment as in the case of the Aspire Vero 16 where the ratio of Post Consumer Recycled (PCR) plastics has increased even further.
Ultra-wide enjoyers will definitely find the new Predator X34 X and X39 become their one and only end-game display if they were to spend a 5-figure sum for the experience. The curvature and high refresh rate really are a sight to behold as the wow factor can’t be explained through paper specs alone, you kind of have to see it in person and try out your preferred category of games like racers/RPGs/action and whatnot.
And that’s pretty much what we did for the second day. The next day is pretty chill though, as we are getting ready to witness the winners of the Predator League 2024 tournament.