“No company is more committed to gamers than AMD”
Frank Azor, AMD’s New Chief Architect of Gaming Solutions talks what's going to be changing at AMD gaming
In July of 2019, Frank Azor, co-founder of Alienware, joined AMD as Chief Architect of Gaming Solutions. At AMD, Frank is responsible for the design and definition of innovative gaming solutions and strategies using AMD proprietary intellectual property.
Having spent two decades building Alienware to the success it is today, Frank originally served Alienware as an engineer and later held executive roles in sales and marketing. After helping lead Alienware’s successful integration into Dell, Frank continued moving upward, culminating in his role as Dell’s Vice President and General Manager for premium consumer brands and business including the XPS, Alienware, and G-Series product ranges.
In the short time Frank has been with AMD, he has been busy acclimating to his new position. With such a rich history in gaming, many are wondering what his plans are for AMD and how his new role within the company will change the AMD gaming division. Finding time to talk, Frank discussed what this new position means for him and why he felt the need for a change, what it means for AMD, and his hopes for the future of AMD gaming products.
After 21 years at Alienware, why AMD and why now?
I believe I've made as big of an impact as I could within the PC gaming hardware industry working from within both a system integrator at Alienware when we were private, and later within an OEM at Dell after we were acquired.
I have big ideas that can only be executed by a company that owns an end-to-end ecosystem of intellectual property across CPUs, GPUs, APUs, Chipsets and software. AMD is the only company that has this portfolio of high-performance IP today, with key design wins across every segment of gaming hardware including PCs, consoles, cloud and mobile.
The team at AMD is open to the opportunities I see for the industry and the benefit they will bring to gamers, and they’re enabling me to deliver them. It's a unique opportunity for all of us but most of all for gamers who are realizing how special AMD is as a technology provider to them and I can't wait to show what we're working on next for them.
Chief Architect of Gaming Solutions is a unique title – where did it originate? What does that mean in terms of what your job will entail?
The role I'm serving for AMD and the gaming industry is unique and the first of its kind in many ways. For these reasons it wasn't obvious at first what the title should be, but we ultimately decided on Chief Architect for Gaming Solutions.
What exactly the role will do is a bit of confidential IP in its own right for AMD, so I can't share too many details except to say that you can expect my team at AMD and I to disrupt and innovate with gamer’s needs first and foremost in everything that we do.
What is your vision for AMD gaming?
What I can share at this time is that there is no company more committed to gamers than AMD. AMD is in more dedicated gaming systems than just about any other combination of silicon that exists out there - when you consider our console gaming business, PC gaming business and the cloud gaming businesses, plus our recently announced deal with Samsung that will propel us into mobile.
AMD is unique in that it has the broadest ecosystem of IP to appeal to gamers and it’s the only company catering that IP into just about every method of gaming that we know today. This enables an endless amount of opportunity for us to further improve the gaming experience via a toolset that no other company has available to them. My vision is to capitalize on all of this success and intellectual property to help further grow the gaming industry via innovation that only AMD can possibly deliver to gamers.
Is there anything you’re particularly excited about in terms of beginning your new role?
The most difficult part of the decision to join AMD was leaving my family at Alienware and Dell. We had all been through incredible times and achievements together over so many years, and those teams are truly incredible. I was worried I wouldn't find a family in AMD similar to that I had before, but in just the few weeks I've been onboard, it's been most exciting to see my concerns were unwarranted. The team at AMD has me most excited; the people are great, welcoming and extremely smart. They just want to win and are willing to work as hard, as smart and as long as necessary to do so. It's a culture I'm familiar with and it's extremely exciting meeting the people involved and to be welcomed into it.
Any current projects you’re working on you can tell us about? Can you share anything that might be coming soon?
I've only been onboard for a few weeks now and I'm mostly just trying to learn as much as I can initially but what I'm learning about the exciting projects that are under development including those that we've announced with partners such as Microsoft, Sony, and Google and those that are yet to be announced has been nothing short of awesome.
Working with such great companies and people is an incredible privilege and it's exceeding all of my expectations.
How are you applying the knowledge and experience of your previous role to what you’re doing now?
I'm learning that designing and developing silicon and the software supporting it is extremely complicated and difficult. As a purveyor of silicon my whole career up to now, I didn't have an appreciation like that of what I'm gaining now being behind the scenes.
It's remarkable how talented, hardworking and intelligent this team is. So, for now I'm just listening and learning all I can. I go home every day from the office with nearly a headache from how much new information I've consumed but I'm having an absolute blast.
I love to learn and I'm learning a ton.
You’re an avid gamer; what are you currently playing?
Well for the past few weeks I haven't played much as I've been transitioning into the new company and role, but I promised my boys that we'd get some Fortnite time in this weekend. Otherwise, I've been playing a lot of Cities Skyline, an oldie but one of my favorites. I'm really excited about Age of Empires 4 so I've also been getting some old school AOE3 time in, in anticipation!
An end-to-end ecosystem allows partners to build a complete high-performance AMD system, and it’s only getting better for AMD gamers; a strong team culture drives new technology and innovations in AMD’s gaming division forward and with Frank now on-board, the future of AMD gaming looks bright.