With its high-profile XPS line and recent purchase of boutique gaming house Alienware, for awhile it looked like Dell would be the only major PC manufacturer willing to cater to serious gamers. Not anymore. In a move that caught everyone, including us, completely by surprise (you'll notice the lack of backlinks to any rumor posts about this), HP announced today that it will acquire Alienware rival VoodooPC for an undisclosed sum. After the deal closes -- following the usual regulatory rigmarole -- HP will form a new business unit dedicated to gaming in its Personal Systems Group, with Voodoo co-owners (and brothers) Rahul and Ravi Sood assuming the roles of Chief Technologist and Director of Strategy, respectively. As you're probably aware, the acquisition comes at somewhat of a turbulent time for HP: not only is the company still reeling from the bruising merger with Compaq under former CEO Carly Fiorina, it's currently undergoing unwanted public and governmental scrutiny over the so-called "pretexting" scandal that led to the recent resignation of chairwoman Patricia Dunn. Although we doubt that the Voodoo deal is going to make everyone forget about the alleged spying that has occurred, it's nice to know that once HP finally puts this ugly mess behind it, consumers (especially gamers) can expect to benefit from some hot products and lower pricing that can only be realized now that Dell has some real competition on its hands. [Warning: PDF link]