Asus announced the ROG Ally in the worst way possible

Asus announced the ROG Ally in the worst way possible

Asus’ ROG Ally, a Steam Deck-like gaming PC, is actually real. But due to the garbled and misinformed communications about the device that, of course, included April Fools’ Day, you’d be forgiven for not knowing that. Companies, take note: please don’t follow Asus’ lead next year.

The confusion began with an announcement at midnight on April 1 that “revealed” the handset. The video felt a bit tongue-in-cheek, especially during a moment when someone locks himself out of his house and happily remembers that he has the Ally in his jacket pocket. The tag felt like an April Fools – “you’ll never have to pause games again” – and the video ended with someone using Ally on a roller coaster and a go-kart.

It all seemed like standard April Fools’ fare, but it hit home because the Ally actually looked like a cool product. Perhaps most intriguingly, Asus said it had teamed up with AMD to “custom-build the fastest AMD APU to date” for the device, which would theoretically mean it could be more powerful than the Steam Deck. But since we couldn’t figure out if this was an April fool, the Ally was just something to dream about.

But then, two whole days later, Asus confirmed that the device was not, in fact, an April Fool’s joke, and YouTube channels Dave2D and Linus Tech Tips posted hands-on videos with the device. From these YouTube channels, we can glean some specs, such as a 1080p display, support for 120Hz refresh rates, and Asus’ claim that the device offers twice the performance of the Steam Deck. While the company has yet to share a price, it looks like it could be a really good product.

Whatever the final specifics, the introduction of Ally (A-lie, get it?) is just the latest example of companies forgetting what April Fools’ Day is supposed to be about. As a kid, I remember it more as a day for light jokes and, for a while, even tech companies (especially Google) were having a respectable level of fun or announcing things like Gmail.

But now, it can be so hard to tell when jokes are actually jokes that it’s become exhausting. Remember when Volkswagen lied about changing the name to Voltswagen? Asus’s ROG Ally isn’t nearly as remarkable, but it’s still disappointing that the company teased a seemingly cool product as a hoax for days instead of just revealing it was a real thing from the jump. It’s time for companies to think about avoiding April Fools’ Day altogether – even Google has pulled back on its April Fools’ Day hoaxes, pulling a ‘microphone leak’ prank from Gmail and canceling any plans for April Fools’ Day pranks in 2020 and 2021.

But since the ROG Ally is real, the pressure is on for Asus to deliver on par with last year’s best April Fools’ joke: Back to Monkey Island.

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