Razer introduced tons of new devices and refreshes during its RazerCon 2023 presentation. While most of what the manufacturer revealed was technically impressive, a massive issue began to rear its ugly head as the presentation barreled on. And that was the obscenely high prices of its hardware.
From a $249 gaming keyboard that Razer had the audacity to tack on “only” before the price, to several name-brand collaborations that skyrocketed prices on hardware and accessories into the thousands, other overpriced accessories, and even a clothing line that most cash-strapped gamers couldn’t even hope to afford.
Even though Razer is a luxury brand when it comes to gaming laptops, accessories, and devices, RazerCon felt completely and entirely out of touch with its audience. But what exactly went wrong here, how, and why? I’ll break down what Razer did to alienate its audience instead of giving us the best laptops, the best gaming keyboards, and the best PC gaming headsets that we would normally expect.
What did Razer introduce?
Razer introduced a lot of products during its admittedly short presentation. A Razer Blade 16 x Automobili Lamborghini Edition gaming laptop for a whopping $4,999, which is far beyond most tricked-out gaming PCs. There’s a new Razer Huntsman V3 Pro gaming keyboard priced at $249 with a TKL version for 219.99 and a Mini for $179.99, which is about $50 more than the V2 version.
Two gaming chairs under the Fujin line, the Razer Fujin and Fujin Pro for $649 and $1,049, respectively, and the headrest for both is $129 on its own. Another name-brand collaboration between Razer and Dolce&Gabbana for gaming chairs and a headset – the Barracuda, Enki, and Enki Pro – inflate the price of already expensive accessories even more. That’s not mentioning the clothing line Razer promoted, another Dolce&Gabbana collaboration.
That’s a lot of products. And a sizable amount of them are partnerships with designer brands, which launch already expensive hardware and accessories into the stratosphere.
The prices are out of control
I’m not ragging on people who purchase expensive products because sometimes you just need to invest in something pricey and high-quality. Especially if you’re a hardcore or professional gamer whose serious hobby or even livelihood depends on that quality, then brands like Razer tend to release very desirable products designed just for you.
However, looking over the designer collaborations there’s no excuse for any of this. Who needed a Lamborghini Razer Blade 16 laptop or a Dolce&Gabbana headset and clothing line? Instead of releasing a more affordable Razor Blade for those who may not be able to afford the premium price of the standard models, we instead get a publicity stunt for live streamers and very well-off people to showcase their 150-limited quantity $5,000 laptop.
The gaming chair prices are the absolute worst, with one model costing over $1,000. And despite the brief overview of reviews, gaming chairs are at best okay for your back short-term but long-term (think over two years, longer than reviewers are testing out these chairs and longer than the average streamer keeps theirs before the next high-profile promotion) can cause significant back problems due to cheap materials stretching and deformation over time. Meanwhile, an office chair you can order at Staples for around $100 is much better quality and won’t destroy your bank account either.
Out of touch with current market reality
At least with its previous products, the pricing was mostly justified by its high quality (the Barracuda Pro headset line has a cheaper option to balance out the more expensive models). But this entire showcase was completely out of touch with the current tech market and the woes of the average consumer.
After an initial boon when the pandemic first hit, tech has been struggling with declining sales for years. The PC had the steepest decline in 20 years in 2022 and it’s getting worse. Even PC accessories aren’t immune, as major printer companies like HP are suffering from declining sales. And yet, instead of reexamining the needs of the market and responding in turn to develop more affordable options, we keep getting increasingly expensive hardware that barely anyone is buying, which continues to contribute to this decline.
The Barracuda headset has a 24K gold plated Dolce&Gabbana logo on it. Who needs that? Who is buying this? And Razer actually tacking on “only” before dropping the price of the latest Razer Huntsman V3 Pro keyboard? Why are there so many gamer chairs and the ‘cheapest’ option is between $650 and over $1,000? And who asked for designer T-shirts? Also, the spokesperson who sat on the designer gamer chair and said he felt like a supervillain was a little too on the nose.
It seems like no one at Razer bothered to ask these questions. And yes, MSI did a Mercedes crossover recently, and there was a Samsung and Porsche collaboration a while back too. But those are normal publicity stunts that aren’t meant for the average consumer.
This RazerCon, however, was so immensely tone-deaf to current market realities that it wrapped back around to being hilarious. Hopefully, someone will ask the right questions next year and we won’t have a repeat of this event. Or not, and we can laugh about it again.