Razer looking to corner emerging markets

Emerging markets are very important to Razer (image: Charlie Fripp)

Specialist gaming and PC peripheral maker Razer may only have a modest-sized office comprising 450 employees, but the company has big plans for the future – which includes South Africa. While Razer is strongly focused on the PC market, the company has seen a definite shift towards mobile.

Emerging markets are very important to Razer (image: Charlie Fripp)
Emerging markets are very important to Razer (image: Charlie Fripp)

“Hardcore PC gaming will still remain the core market for Razer, but we have seen a strong trend towards mobile gaming. We are definitely going in that direction, as we have a special headset for mobile gaming – the trend is growing,” Jan Horak, Public Relations specialist at Razer told IT News Africa.

Another area that Horak adds to Razer’s growing area of focus is motion-sensing peripherals. He mentions that virtual reality company Oculus Rift is already making use of their technology. “Oculus Rift is playing around with our motion sense technology such as the Hydra.”

But he was quick to add that Razer does not want to focus on only one aspect of the peripheral market, but rather cover as many bases as possible – reiterating the importance of mobile. “Mobile is growing and becoming more important, but we don’t want to focus on one specific platform. Growth is what is needed for mobile, and we are trying to push the trend.”

Razer also developed a gaming tablet, the Edge, which runs on Windows 8 and powers games through Steam’s online service. The tablet has many accessories available for the unit, but the most popular is the set of controllers on each side of the device – giving it a console gaming feel.

“The Razer Edge is the real gaming tablet for hardcore gamers. The Edge reception has been good so far, even though there is limited availability. Although we don’t have specific roll-out dates, we have plans to branch out the unit to everywhere across the globe. And South Africa is definitely in the pipeline,” Horak said.

Razer's Edge gaming tablet (image: Charlie Fripp)
Razer’s Edge gaming tablet (image: Charlie Fripp)

“Razer is still a small company and it is very hard to bring a new gaming system into any market, but South Africa could definitely be next in terms of roll-out after the EU. We are in a position where you have to release a product and see how it is received in the wider market. We have to support the EU, and then bring it to other markets. Since we don’t have an official support structure in South Africa yet, it doesn’t make sense to release something if you don’t have that in place.”

With that said, Horak added that emerging markets – not only South Africa – are very important. “Emerging markets are very important for us, so by nature South Africa is very important to us. Exhibitions such as rAge 2013 is important to make us noticeable to a wider audience and to show off our products. There has to be a sense of community.”

Razer is fairly new to the South African gaming peripheral market, but Horaks explained that there are several factors that set them apart from the competitions such as SteelSeries and Logitech.

“At Razer, two things come together: Everybody that works at Razer are gamers; and the competition doesn’t have the experience that we have. If you want to work at Razer, we actually ask you in the interview if you are a gamer. If you aren’t, the chances of you getting the job is slim,” he explained.

Horak revealed that Razer is working closely with professional gamers to get their feedback and testing of their products. “Before we publish any product, we give it to them to test and they tell us what is wrong with it. Actually, we have had some products that were stopped by some of the pro gamers where they just told is it was rubbish.”

Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor