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Intel Competition - an interview with Intel
by Axel of Brainstorm

At the end of 2006, the first Intel Demo Competition took place. At the time, ZINE had an opportunity to sit down with Klaus Obermaier, Regional Brand Manager of Intel Germany to discuss the origins of the Intel Compo and how Intel dealt with the initial problems.

ZINE: What's the brand strategy behind Intel's initiative of the demo competition?

Intel: The Demo Competition was our first project in Germany, which we initiated aside of the sponsoring of Evoke. The scene of "professional hobby programmers" has an interesting opinion-forming function within the group of people that has a strong affinity towards computer technology. That was one of the main motivations for us to work with these people from the very beginning. They use almost all of the functions of our micro processors and they require the often praised reliability of our products for their software development. With the "demoscene" project it is mostly about sharing the fascination we felt with a broader group of people. In the meantime this is more about digital works of art instead of computer programs.

ZINE: How did the project get started in the first place?

Intel: Intel supports the scene for several years now, both internationally and nationally. In Germany it all started when the association Digitale Kultur came to us with a request to support the Evoke party. That was the beginning of a cooperation which already lasts for around 5 years now. The highlight was then the start of the Intel Demo Competition in 2006.

ZINE: Your dedication is really laudable, but why was the event not promoted more widely?

Intel: Advertising in the classical sense certainly wasn't necessary, because we're talking about an event for a very specific community. News spread a lot more differently here than through advertising. We were very happy with the contributions and the number of participants and we're sure that this project will me more known by word of mouth.

ZINE: Is the demo scene an opinion leader?

Intel: Yes, definitely to a certain degree. The people have an affinity to technology and appreciate our technology too. Specifically when buying a PC a lot of people rely on opinions of friends or colleagues, who have more experience in this area than others. The members of the demoscene certainly have an effect as multiplicators.

ZINE: There were scandals regarding the voting in the competition of 2006, when hackers were able to change the rankings over night. What's Intel's position on that?

Intel: We're working with all involved parties that this won't happen in the future anymore, because it certainly casts a big shadow on the event otherwise. We never doubted the project itself though.

ZINE: Intel is a very experienced company. Why was there no login in the voting?

Intel: That's a totally valid point which we should have given more attention. We're going to work on that.

ZINE: This is the first big involvement of Intel in the demoscene. What are your experiences so far with the project both internally and externally?

Intel: As already mentioned we've been working with the demoscene for a couple of years now and we've made excellent experiences. Only because of that we've decided to make the competition. Overall we're very happy with the project and the results. And of course we never expected to make page one on the daily press with it though.

ZINE: Why did you choose DJ Hell? The music genre "minimal" takes minutes to develop and unfold and therefore wasn't really suited for a 30-second production. Or why did Intel want creativity on one hand, and limit the music on the other?

Intel: We've discussed this point for a long time actually, both before and after the competition in 2006. The briefing for all participants was quite open. In order to make the pieces comparable, we decided to define the music elements. DJ Hell's enthusiasm for the scene and the project surprised us and made us glad. Presetting the audio wasn't a limitation for the groups, because the music was never used in the same way but in different variations.

ZINE: In which areas does Intel hope to increase revenues due to the demo competition?

Intel: This project only has very little to do with sales promotion. Most of all it's about connecting the PC (and what can be made with it) to fascinating content, and demos certainly are a part of that. It helps us as a company to demonstrate the capabilities of our products. Demos fascinate a lot of people, even though they might not know what's behind the term "demoscene".

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