Video gaming continues to rise in popularity and has even seen professional coaches hired to help players improve their skills. Now Logitech International SA is offering a $150 black computer mouse exclusively designed for esports.
The Swiss company spent more than two years developing the new G PRO Wireless Gaming Mouse according to Vice President and General Manager of Gaming Ujesh Desai. The team consulted with more than 50 professional gamers. The end result was a 2.82oz mouse, important for high-level games seeking speed. It weighs less than a deck of cards enabling free access to move quickly.
“We dug in really deep in the area of esports, because we saw that it was quickly going to reach a tipping point and go mainstream,” says Desai.
Bracken Darrell is leading the effort. He joined the company five years ago as chief executive officer when there were just four employees in Logitech’s gaming industry. The old management was seeking more diversification and ultimately cut the division from about 125 people.
“Logitech was a fantastic case of mismanagement,” says Torsten Sauter, an analyst at Kepler Cheuvreux. “They really had market dominance in this space and they lost it. They are basically fighting themselves back in to the business, and I think they are doing super well.”
Darrell’s goal was to rebuild the division because he saw the potential in gaming as well as a demographic windfall. He notes the generation with the highest proportion of esports consumers is still young, meaning they will spend more over time.
“The people who were there at the time didn’t see it,” Darrell says. “Esports is going to keep growing. It’s blowing away numbers for every sport except the Super Bowl, Formula 1 and FIFA.”
PC users have taken video games up a notch. They tend to stream, join competitions and focus on computer items such as the latency on a mouse or the switches in a keyboard. With that in mind, Logitech bought Astro Gaming, a popular maker of gaming headsets, for $85 million last year.
The Swiss company also began sponsoring some of the largest esports teams including Team SoloMid and TSM. The players were featured in ad campaigns, invited to the company’s engineering center in Lausanne and overall, treated like professional athletes.
Their efforts in sponsoring and revamping has definitely paid off, leaving Logitech’s gaming division with $492 million in fiscal year 2018. The sales in their gaming division more than tripled from five years earlier. Their gaming division has grown to more than 200 employees.
“Logitech has now positioned itself to exploit the success of esports,” said Tom Forte, an analyst at D.A. Davidson.
Last year alone, Esports generated $1.5 billion in revenue according to SuperData. The popularity of gaming has led to Logitech’s expansion and sales within their gaming division increased by 57 percent in the past year.
Fortnite, League of Legends and Overwatch are wildly popular games that are streamed online and encourage competitions. These video games can be played across several platforms including PC, Xbox and Playstation. There is even a scholarship based off Fortnite.