I'm actually happy that DELL is terminating the gaming division and leaving it to AW. DELL and AW make a decent partnership computer-wise, but for a LONG time DELL was being too many things to too many people. They had everything from the bare-mini mini, to XPS computers that could give an alienware wet pants, and that was even after purchasing AW as its gaming division. Even within lines, there was too much cross-ability... the only difference being what the shell looked like... It wasn't entirely impossible with good timing to have a studio and an inspiron with the same specs and everything, yet one (the studio) carried a premium due to its "desired purpose". Same with studios and studioXPS lines. What DELL does well is provide 2 divisions of computers. Home computers for home users and home-entertainment users, and workstations designed for mobile CAD use. AW's specialty: gaming... straight-away, and performance-wise they do this very well.
To give a good example of a multi-tiered line done right, look at Clevo. Clevo builds pretty much 2 types of rigs, and there is virtually no cross-references. You have the netbook / value computer line, where it's either really small, or everything is built for economy and battery life... or the banzai gaming rigs that people call Sagers in the USA. There's no questioning that if you want a mobile gamer to question which line, so long as you know what screen-size you want for that gaming rig or economy rig. You want 15" gamer, you have the np8662 and only that. You want a 17" semi-portable, you have the np5797. 18.4" gaming MONSTER: the upcoming np9850. 17" mobile workstation: the np9280. That's 4 rigs, with significantly different specs, be it CPU or GPU(s) or HDD(s) / SSD(s), and each one has its own niche. Then there are the world market netbooks and value laptops that aren't designed for heavy gaming, but there's no ambiguity. A person looking for what amounts to a 17" oversized netbook isn't going to want a GTX 280m and a QX9300 so much as a T3400 and a 9300m GS / G 105m. It's a significant enough difference to divide the crowd to a... or b. The only downside to this is that there really isn't a middle ground for the "casual gamer" or the person who "wants to have the ability to have 5+ hour economy while being able to toggle up some of the goodies in games... but it leaves no chance of confusion for customers, and that' makes it more efficient.
Back on topic though, letting alienware focus on the gaming section, while allowing AW to access DELL's deep pockets, means that AW can focus without reservation on making desktop-killing machines that are aesthetically pleasing and stand out as attractive... something that until now AW really could only do without fear of losses on the desktops. Off-shooting this also means that the studio line can now take that position of "performance home user", a niche where you'd find GPUs and LED screens and higher CPUs (P9700 / Q9000), but no SLi or internal RAID. The studios could be the competition for more of a macbook / mbp type, the inspirons are value / home use, and the minis are well minis. This doesn't mean that the studioXPS line won't be able to game, but there will be an easier, less ambiguous choice than going "do I want an AW, a high-end studioXPS, or one of the old XPS m1730s?. The choice will be more cut and dry with less overlap. My only fear though is that DELL will give AW it's "wildly variable" customer service, and not allow AW to have better techs who actually don't need a script. AW users, at least from the clientele I've noticed are more keen to what goes on in their computers, and if they weren't why would switches for OC'ing be enabled? Let AW use its own service, USA based, with actual computer techs rather than scripted CSRs, and I think it will be a great move.
I'm cautiously optimistic, but I hope DELL doesn't cripple AW with this, past, and subsequent moves on AW's behalf.