Ever since they stole the spotlight with the ambitious and somewhat prophetic Switchblade handheld gaming device at CES 2011, Razer have moved beyond their relatively conservative accessory development roots into one of the more innovative gaming hardware companies around. Through extensive investment in eSports, as well as attempting to push the capabilities of the laptop to the limit to run some of the flashiest new releases around, Razer have blazed a trail through the computing sector – and it appears that mobile may be next. In an interview with South China Morning Post after his company opened their first store in Hong Kong, CEO Min-Liang Tan strongly insinuated that the mobile gaming landscape would be the next target of Razer, and that it is going to be ‘a huge part of our business’.
For anyone who has been keeping track of developments with the company, it’s unlikely that Razer’s planned move into the mobile sector will come as a surprise. In July 2015, Razer acquired Ouya of Kickstarter fame (or infamy, if you were a backer), and also bought the start-up Nextbit, where many influential tech figures formally at HTC and Google were involved. Still, it’s quite remarkable to see Tan make statements such as that there is no ‘mobile device or software platform that really fulfils the needs of the [mobile gamer]’ – and it’s hard not to agree with his sentiments.
With no solid announcement of what Razer’s commitment to mobile means in practice – it could vary from a high-end MFi controller to a dedicated new device or even operating system – it emphasises the appeal and untapped potential of mobile gaming, even to those outside its ecosystem. With Apple focusing more on productivity and less on keeping old App Store classics alive, the mobile gaming community needs someone to bring a renewed focus to the platform, and it will be interesting to see if Razer will be the company to do so.