While at rAge, Logitech South Africa invited NAG to a video conferencing session with Logitech’s Head of Gaming for the EMEA region, Andreas Schicker, to talk about their latest products. While Friday was mostly a blur because I went absolutely everywhere in the TicketPro dome, here’s the important parts that I took away from our panel discussion with Andreas.
Logitech doesn’t want to compete against budget brands anymore
When I posed a question about whether a cheaper version of the Driving Force G29 and G920 would appear for buyers who may be more price-conscious, Andreas hit back with an announcement that I didn’t expect.
“Logitech is a high-end brand and in the past we’ve tried to do cheaper and more budget stuff, but it’s never worked out well for the product or the experience, there’s just too many compromises we have to take to get to that level. So while we are thinking about it, it’s probably not something we’re going to be doing,” he said.
That’s something that’s been quite evident from their past product announcements made in recent weeks. Logitech recently announced the G410 gaming keyboard, a tenkeyless version of the Orion Spark G910 that I reviewed a few months back, as well as the brand new G633 and G933 gaming headsets, two extremely high-quality headsets that aren’t cheap. As a peripherals company, Logitech’s goal isn’t to be the company with the most market share, but the most valued brand with better profit margins. That’s quite an Apple-esque strategy, something that Razer is also attempting with the opening of their Razer Store in Taipei, Taiwan, and selling some seriously expensive kit like the Razer Blade.
On Intel’s RealSense technology and Windows Hello…
Logitech’s expertise with camera technology usually meant that they were the first brand you’d look at when buying a camera for your PC. Their sensor technology was good, and they made good drivers and stable products. But, with the company shaving down their product stack in most other areas, it sometimes feels like they haven’t picked up on some of the popular trends in the last few years, like 3D cameras, and support for Windows Hello face recognition in Windows 10.
I asked Andreas if the company would ever make a product that was compatible with Windows Hello, and whether they were watching what Intel’s RealSense technology was doing. The answer, mostly, was “not at this time.” Andreas was quick to note that they still have a camera division which makes new products and that they are keeping an eye on things, but they don’t have anything that is compatible with Windows Hello just yet.
Biometric log-in information is the future, dear readers. If Windows 10’s security options end up drawing the public’s interest in how to keep their computer more secure, this would certainly be a market that Logitech can revisit in future.
On the VR revolution, and whether they’d join in…
I asked Andreas about whether Logitech would enter into the VR space in the near future, because as a peripherals manufacturer they had a wide range of patents and extensive history with making peripherals with lower latency. While a lot of other companies are looking into either making their own VR kit, or selling a pre-made one, I assumed that Logitech would try to do their own thing.
Andreas surprised me by saying that they currently don’t have anything related to VR at the moment. Logitech is taking a wait-and-see approach with this one, because if there’s even the slightest traction with the public, they’ll see if they can make a product for it. Of course, if they did it, they might not create their own VR headset, but rather peripherals what work with existing headsets that will have extremely low latency, but that’s my speculation doing the talking here.
“Do you have a working C7 and if so, can I look at one?”
Twenty years ago, Logitech launched the C7, a ball mouse with three buttons that retailed for $100. Back then, a good $100 mouse was a big deal – most other manufacturers had inferior products, or products that were far more expensive, and Logitech’s entry into the market was rather slow in the beginning. Without a retail presence in the U.S., the company started off with accepting mail orders for the C7, charging as little as $99 for the mouse and the drivers, going up to $310 for the mouse, its software, and the LogiPaint and LogiDraw applications. LogiCADD, a replacement for AutoCAD with a specially-designed interface with software optimisations for the C7, was $189 on its own.
Unfortunately, Andreas told me that the company probably had on in their archives in Switzerland, and there probably wasn’t a working example available off-hand. Maybe, one day, I’ll find a C7 that I can show off properly to you guys. But that day is not today.