Nowadays, companies can seldom compete at any given pricelevel for any given product , except if you hire a really big army of Chinese child laborers. There’s tons of other stuff to make a difference and get people to buy your product. One of them of particular interest for us simple consumers, is simply good support on products we buy
For example, when you buy portable navigation system for use in your car, it’s really helpful you have support in terms of updates for the next, let’s say, 4 years to still be able to get to your destinations in the most efficient way. A couple of manufacturersnow include 2 years of free updates and the option to continue for a relatively small fee.
Now let’s talk audio cards. I’ve bought a nice Asus Xonar Xense a while back (less than a year) and it’s very very good so far. The audio quality of this premium product is really good, with it’s headphones (pre-)amp and all. Untill you decide to install your system with Microsoft’s latest and greatest OS: Windows 8. Asus does not provide any Windows 8 drivers for this card. So what’s a customer to do? Contact Asus support of course to get info on the support on this, this is their view on the matter:
Dear Mr. Lisman,
Thank you for your email.
I doubt that we will provide Windows 8 drivers for this device.
The latest drivers are from 2011/06/28.
In this case its doubtful that Windows 8 drivers will be developed for this model.
I hope to have informed you enough.
Naturally, I couldn’t help to react:
Audio cards in general tend to live past the 2 year mark inside 2-3 different systems, if they are good in particular.
I’ve payed premium money to get a card to be scrapped to the wastebin within a year (card is not that old).
I think Asus needs to rethink their view on that if they want to continue selling great cards like this. Good support is the most important thing in this market now, where you can hardly compete on a decent price level anymore. As a lifetime buyer of Asus products, I feel like Asus really dropped the ball now, especially opposed to eg. motherboard support. Asus is going to be the next Creative Labs in terms of support if not handled and buyers will flee to the next best alternative.
Four fun facts:
1. You can get it working by installing W7, the card + software and then upgrade to W8. Everything works fine!
2. Xonar STX (basically the same card, same processor but with better components) does have W8 drivers.
3. The audio console is definitely the culprit. I compared results on W7 and W8 and noticed some differences in installation proces. Asus could have prevented this easily.
4. A unified driver project (Uni-Xonar), which supports the Xonar Xense has already brought W8 support. Maybe contact them? It’s the same guys who brought Creative drivers with W7 support when the whole community asked for it and Creative didn’t listen. I urge you not to make the same mistake and loose customers!
People should be warned before they buy Asus products about this practice before they spend hard earned money on premium products without the support expected to come with it for future use.
All I can say is I’m really, really disappointed by this take on support by Asus.
I hope you forward this mail into your organisation for future reference, maybe it helps.
Of course, I promised them to put a blog up about this and share it on some social networks for your entertainment. All and all I think Asus is really trying it’s best to emulate Creative Labs’ support back in the day with the Audigy 2 line of products.
Creative actually tried to rip people off by offering a new driver in exchange for money in order to get support on the new OS of that time (Vista/7). Result: a reaction thread of literally thousands of pages with customers complaining Creative had lost it’s mind and they would never buy a Creative product again. The most intense moment was when developer Daniel_K got booted of the forum because he had developed the solution that Creative wanted to sell before Creative was finished.
Ironically, this guy recently developed a driver for Windows 8 for the whole Xonar serie, including the Xense.
History repeats? Rather have support the right way, but if I must..