We recently caught up with Logitech’s senior product manager for gaming Chris Pate to talk esports, AR, the Astro Gaming acquisition and about where the brand is at in 2018.
Here’s what we learned.
Why Logitech acquired Astro
“The reason that we acquired Astro is that they offer a great group of people and amazing brand. They’re just a really good fit with Logitech G and it’s really been a way to have another suite of products to talk to console gamers.”
“We’ve had the racing wheels, obviously, and we’ve had console controllers but our console offering hasn’t been as a substantial for the last generation. Astro have a product portfolio that’s great and - more importantly - a product team that’s just phenomenal so we’re really excited about that stuff.”
“Their office is based about forty-five minutes north of ours, so I basically just drive from our office up to San Francisco and hang out with the team up there and help if I can or get out of the way if I can’t.”
Logitech aren’t worried about the competition copying their PowerPlay true wireless gaming mouse
“The difference for PowerPlay is that with the stuff coming out from the competitors they’re all somewhat-limited in some way. They don’t have the ability to work off of the pad or they require you to stop using the mouse in order to charge it. With PowerPlay, you’re able to continuously use the mouse on or off the pad.”
When asked why Logitech doesn’t use global events like Computex or CES to showcase concept products like Razer or ASUS do, Pate’s answer was a clean one.
“We like to tell people about stuff that we can actually make rather than have a nice show and never actually ship those.”
“Unfortunately, I’m not permitted to discuss future product plans but certainly PowerPlay is certainly something we’re very happy with and we don’t like to be behind on technology.”
Will the rise of esports see Logitech develop more-specialized gaming products?
“We’re not averse to working with partners but it's one of those things where it has to make sense. There’s making a limited edition of things for a marketing event and actually developing products for an esports-addict.”
“It’s not that we’ve decided not to work with other partners, it’s just that those are the partners that we’ve worked with up until now and we’re gonna continue to work with partners [in that capacity].”
How does Logitech decide which esports teams and games to be involved with?
“There’s a lot of internal discussion.”
“We partner globally with specific brands but then each of the local teams have some flexibility and leeway to work with the teams are right for their markets. For example, in North America we partner with TSM. In Europe, we partner with G2. In Australia, we partner with The Chiefs. There’s a combination of global and local decision-making that goes into it.”
Finding a balance between global strategy and local customer tastes
“We work together at a global level but when we determine what products we’re going to ship we absolutely take into account what is going well and what is not going well. What a specific market wants...whether we do or don’t ship a product in that particular region.”
“Because of the great partnership we’ve developed with The Chiefs, were able to talk to talk to the pro players on all of their teams. One of the more prominent gaming mouse reviewers nowadays lives in Australia so we also have direct conversations with him about product development.”
“I fly all over the world but everywhere I go I try to talk to people about how to make our stuff better and there’s a lot of specific differences that we try to accomodate.”
Where does AR and VR fit into Logitech’s roadmap?
“That wouldn’t be in the gaming group necessarily. We have a team dedicated to VR/AR input [who are] releasing an SDK for importing certain keyboards into Vive VR. So we do have teams that are looking at that at a high level and certainly on the gaming side we do pay attention to everything but ultimately our focus is on delivering great experiences for gamers and what I’ve found is that unless there is a specific kind of drive from the gaming community for this thing, you can’t push the technology to them.”
“I don’t want to disparage anybody but if you think about attempts that hardware manufacturers to push a technology where the market didn’t actually want it - either the content wasn’t there or the content wasn’t compelling. You [can] spend a whole bunch of time, money and energy trying to push a boat but ultimately the gamer wants to do what they want to do.
“We try to be very open-minded and looking at opportunities but we’re not trying to force things that don’t make sense in the market.”