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Ayaneo will be getting “creative” with its next Steam Deck rival

Speaking with PCGamesN, Ayaneo CEO Arthur Zhang talks Western ambition, AMD's importance to its mini PCs, and if it can beat the Steam Deck.

An image of Ayaneo CEO Arthur Zhang

If you’ve been exploring the handheld gaming PC community since it started to boom following the release of the Steam Deck, Ayaneo is a name that will be all too familiar. The Hong Kong-based manufacturer was only established in 2020 but has already become a big name in the handheld scene, having since also moved on to creating exciting mini PC designs, all featuring versions of its AYAspace software.

We had the chance to speak to Ayaneo CEO Arthur Zhang about a range of topics from the importance of AMD’s APU architecture, how it will make a splash in the Western market, and what it thinks of the Steam Deck. This conversation came shortly after the reveal of the Ayaneo AM02 mini PC, which we are in the process of reviewing.

Another image of Ayaneo CEO Arthur Zhang

On its recent mini PC offerings, we asked Arthur where the recent interest in this market is coming from, and why the small form factor is becoming so popular. He had this to say;

“A significant reason for the rapid improvement of the mini PC is the advancement in the performance and energy efficiency of mobile processors, particularly the improved integrated graphics capabilities of AMD processors. Thanks to these advancements, modern mini PCs can now handle light gaming, office tasks, and multimedia entertainment.

“Furthermore, mini PCs have their advantages. The compact form factor occupies less space on the desk, aligning with the current trend of minimalistic setups. They not only serve as functional computers but can be used as decorative elements too.”

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An aspect of Ayaneo’s mini PCs that can’t be ignored is its retro-inspired designs. The AM01 takes on the form of an old-school Apple Macintosh from the 1980s while its AM02 design goes down a slightly different path, taking inspiration from the Nintendo NES.

When asking about these retro designs and what potential legal worries Ayaneo might have, Arthur had this to say;

“I have always enjoyed many classic game consoles created by Nintendo, which is also one of the motivations for me to be in the handheld gaming industry.

“Ayaneo pays homage to classic game consoles and player sentiments through innovation and inspiration in reproducing retro designs. Ayaneo’s design is creative and meaningful, never simply copying or inheriting, but deriving a brand new design style from classic retro designs, without any legal risks.

“I believe Ayaneo will continue to bring more classic and retro-style design products to players, allowing them to reminisce about the nostalgic gaming sentiment.”

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Given that Ayaneo made its name initially by entering the handheld gaming PC market, we had to know what it thought of the current market leader, the Steam Deck OLED. We are also keen to know how Ayaneo plans to battle such a popular product or if that’s even a fight it wants to take.

“The Steam Deck OLED is an excellent handheld gaming product. Ayaneo has always welcomed and embraced competition, as it leads to growth and evolution. We hope to have more partners enter the handheld gaming market, bringing diverse handheld gaming products to players.

“Ayaneo handhelds have always had unique brand design styles and technological advantages. In the future, we will continue to promote these advantages, invest in design and technological innovation, and focus on software development and community operations to achieve comprehensive development and collaborate with numerous industry partners to create a richer, more interesting, and fun handheld gaming circle, bringing inspiration and creative new products to players.”

Finally, we wanted to know more about Arthur’s aspirations for Ayaneo as a Western name. Is the plan to try and have Ayaneo be a household name or is it happy sitting as a brand on the periphery?

“Ayaneo’s handheld gaming products target global players. We are delighted to receive attention and recognition from European and American players. These have always been important gaming markets, and we aspire to achieve success on a global scale, in turn making Ayaneo a big name in the gaming industry.

“Of course, we are aware that this is not easy and is a step-by-step process. Therefore, we will strive for this dream, continuously launching more creative and refreshing products, gaining recognition from more players, and creating an infinitely fun gaming world for players worldwide. I would like to express my respect and gratitude for the support of European and North American, and players around the world.”

We’ve got a list of the best mini gaming PCs, but if you have your heart set on a custom rig, we can also show you how to build a gaming PC with our step-by-step breakdown.