Why it matters to you
More companies building smartphones means more choice for us, especially when the resulting devices target a particular niche like gaming.
Gaming company Razer is rumored to be working on a smartphone designed to appeal to hardcore gamers. Although only a rumor at the moment, it may actually happen. Razer acquired smartphone startup Nextbit Systems back in January, and while it said at the time Nextbit would be a standalone division, it’s entirely possible the two are working on the project together.
The gaming phone’s development will apparently be funded by Razer’s initial public offering (IPO) in Hong Kong, with a projected company valuation of between $3 billion and $5 billion, according to anonymous sources speaking to Bloomberg. The IPO is planned for sometime around October, but there’s no indication of when Razer’s gaming phone will be released.
Razer is best known for its gaming peripherals, including mice and keyboards, along with sleek, stylish laptops. It has also dabbled in the world of wearables, with varying degrees of success, and has promoted the company’s Insider community, leading to the desire to connect millions of game players around the world together. It was one of the most tempting aspects of its wearables, and tapped into the traditional tribal-like nature of serious online gamers.
Growing niche, not without competition
With the continued rise in mobile gaming’s popularity, both at home and in the competitive world of esports, Razer may find more people are keen to join a central community and connect with like-minded people today. A smartphone that doubles as a powerful games machine would seem to be the ideal platform, especially coupled with Razer’s zVault digital wallet and zGold virtual currency, which gamers can earn-as-they-play, enabling them to pay for new equipment in the future. However, this is speculation on our part, as Razer hasn’t confirmed it’s making a phone.
If it is developing a gaming phone, it won’t be the first, and it would also face competition from another startup which may have very similar plans. Acer, which like Razer has a very strong gaming brand under its Predator name, has already produced striking gaming tablets, and shown off the Predator 6 gaming smartphone. However, this was back in 2015 and since then, outside of checking out a non-working prototype, the phone has been a no-show.
Startup Wonder is also most likely building a phone. It’s potentially the centerpiece of a larger ecosystem of gaming products, if CEO Andy Kleinman’s comment about the Nintendo Switch almost (but not quite) bridging the gap between mobile and gaming, is anything to go by. Wonder’s first device may be out before the end of the year. Companies including Sony and Nokia have made phones suitable for gaming in the past.
Nothing is official about Razer’s smartphone plans yet. We’ll keep you updated right here.