By Carlo Versano
PC hardware and accessory maker Logitech has been around since the early 1980s but is hitting a new stride as the provider of high-end gaming equipment. Sales from its gaming division grew 75 percent in the latest quarter from a year ago.
And that's only the beginning, according to president and CEO Bracken Darrell. He said Friday in an interview on Cheddar that esports could become "the biggest sport in the world."
"Esports is a big story for everybody, especially everybody under the age of 25," he said.
That's where Logitech is placing its bets. The company recently released the $150 G PRO Wireless Mouse after a two-year development process that involved more than 50 pro-gamers.
The mouse has earned rave reviews and gained serious industry cred after it was used by the winning team at the [Overwatch League Championship] (https://www.polygon.com/2018/7/28/17626004/overwatch-league-finals-winner-season-one-london-spitfire) in July.
Darrell said that Logitech's suite of gaming products ー keyboards, mice, headsets, and now microphones ー are intended to fully service both pro and amateur gamers.
The company acquired Blue, a maker of studio-quality mics, as part of that strategy. That followed its earlier purchase of Astro, which makes gaming headsets.
As eSports lead a revolution in PC gaming, Logitech also sees a branding and product design opportunity.
"Thanks to Apple, brands really matter in hardware" Darrell said.
The company's sleek black products and glowing blue logos are a far cry from its early days as a maker of peripherals for boxy PCs.
While Logitech is a hardware company by nature, Darrell said he wouldn't rule out a shift to software or platforms. But it's tricky, he warned. "We want to enable [both title developers ] and the people who play their games to be successful."
Darrell said he thinks the current kings of eSports ー whether "Fortnite," "Overwatch," or "League of Legends" ー have staying power in a notoriously fickle industry. So much so that he's said it's "inevitable" that eSports will eventually become an Olympic category.
If and when that day comes, Logitech hopes to be the brand pros turn to, just as they would Nike.
For full interview click here.