Gamers, journalists, retailers and game distributors congregated in Mumbai today for the formal launch of Steelseries, one of the world’s leading brands of professional gaming gear. Steelseries specialises in mice, gaming surfaces/mouse pads, keyboards, and headsets, which are designed specifically for professional gamers to achieve greater precision, responsiveness, and performance.
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The new Kinzu mouse
Present for the launch was the company’s VP of Global Marketing, Kim Rom – living proof that not all people in a position of power in the world of e-sports are blood-sucking suits just waiting to exploit talented, over-eager youngsters hoping to make a name as professional gamers. He is, as we found out, also a skilled exponent of the fine and hard to master art of Powerpoint presentations minus the BS, earning himself a place in the elite company of Sackboy. But, I digress.
Steelseries, like other international gaming brands that have made their way to India, very well understands that there isn’t a huge market for its products here just yet, but also sees a lot of promise and a great opportunity in India. In fact, Kim predicts that India will be a significant contributor to Steelseries’ Asian revenues starting 2011. That may be two years away, but the seeds of that success are being sown today, with Steelseries tying up with leading electronics retail chain Croma to introduce the brand to Indian gamers via the Steelseries Gaming Kit at a very affordable introductory price.
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Steelseries 7G keyboard
The kit contains Qck Mass, the most widely used gaming surface (valued at over $10) in the world, the foldable 3H headset with directional sound (it can apparently even pick up the *ping* of a grenade being lobbed against a wall in Counter-Strike), and the new Kinzu optical mouse, which we’re told is being used to great affect by Fnatic, the top Counter-Strike clan in the world. This kit, valued at Rs 5,999, is being offered at Croma outlets for a limited period at Rs 3,299.
Steelseries also manufactures a range of other products, including those manufactured in conjunction with game developers and publishers like Blizzard. We had a chance to check out limited edition Starcraft and World of Warcraft-branded gaming surfaces and they looked simply stunning. Besides working with game developers, the company also sponsors several of the world’s top pro gaming clans, including Fnatic and SK Gaming, and these pros in turn help Steelseries with valuable feedback on their products.
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Limited edition Starcraft and World of Warcraft gaming surfaces
For the console gamers amongst us, Steelseries also plans to roll out console gaming accessories starting 2010. We don’t know what these will be but Kim did mention, as an example, console controllers with more precision and better wireless response. He also made clear that they weren’t simply interested in making cheaper alternatives to first-party accessories, but wanted to seriously improve performance. And by the way, for anyone wanting to stick it to Microsoft for their monopolisation of Xbox 360 accessories, some of Steelseries’ headsets are also 360-compatible. Better yet, the Steelseries Xbox 360 headset connector will let you use any 3rd party headset with your Xbox 360.
Besides seeing India as a market for its products, Steelseries also aims to popularise e-sports in India, which of course helps grow the market for its products. It’s like the circle of life. To this affect, Steelseries will soon host a Counter-Strike tournament across Croma outlets. The winning clan from this tournament will be flown to Europe and be given the opportunity to play with and learn from the best clans in the world. Top European clans will also come down to India to help popularise pro gaming here. We’ll have more information on this tournament as we have it.
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Steelseries Siberia in-ear headphone. We’re giving one away
To know more about Steeleries, head over to its India website (there isn’t much right now, but you’ll find a link to the international site there). In the mean time, we’re giving away a Steelseries Siberia in-ear headphone (priced at Rs 1,899) right here on IVG. All you have to do for a chance to win it is head over to this article’s corresponding forum thread (link at the bottom), and leave a meaningful reply.