The key to growth in a niche keyboard market
The distinctive clicks and clicks of mechanical keyboards have seen a big resurgence over the past two years. With 100 Thieves’ recent acquisition of mechanical keyboard company Higround, the past few weeks have seen a lot of talk about the future of the keyboard industry.
Luckily for keyboard fans, they’re spoiled for choice. Esports Insider spoke to Chris Horne, CEO of Matrix Keyboards, on the ins and outs of the keyboard market.
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Launching a brand of high-performance keyboards is no easy task. Along with heavyweights like Razer and Corsair (which are now exploring smaller-sized keyboards that passionate companies like Ducky once dominated), there are a number of other smaller manufacturers. So how do you create a brand that stands out from dozens of others and remains relevant?
Horne explained that the idea behind Matrix Keyboards came from his business partner, Cody Hyman. It was simple: a compact mechanical keyboard with esport-oriented features and great customer support. After studying the market, the business model came out: 60% keyboards designed for esports players.
âWhat around us was this 60% niche keyboard that we knew [would] be very popular in the esports space where a lot of hits and sweeps are expected to happen. You also have little desk space during these LAN events, so that’s how it all started. From there, we kind of grew and grew.
Being an extremely small manufacturer, the company started hosting their own esports events, especially in Fortnite, to get their name out there. The tournaments were held ahead of the Fortnite World Cup in 2019, and professional Fortnite players in the region have drawn attention. It was the main driving force behind the company’s relatively rapid growth in its early days, Horne explained.
âWe’ve had hundreds of pros show up to our tournaments because people were like, ‘Hey, Matrix Keyboard tournaments are the best tournaments to practice for the World Cup.’
âAnd then the World Cup came and Bugha won. No more than a week after his win he started using our Elite Series keyboard, and that’s sort of when our name got put on the map. Other professionals started to recognize what we were doing and to like our keyboard organically.
Tap into a competitive market
It is no exaggeration to say that the gaming peripherals market is on the rise. The pandemic has actually helped the industry grow, and everything looks set to continue in an upward direction. Matrix Keyboards have tried to position themselves as the leading manufacturer of 60% esports-focused cards, but this has narrowed their target audience even further. The company didn’t just make mechanical keyboards, it made mechanical keyboards in a form many people didn’t even know existed.
âWe knew there was a market for 60% keyboards and Ducky seemed to be the only manufacturer at the time to capitalize on the new hype of 60% keyboards. We felt that with our gaming experience and esports knowledge, we could make a name for ourselves in this community as a premier esports brand, âexplained Horne.
Even though Horne’s business started out with professionals, he has found that the esports and gaming markets grow so rapidly that the âeveryday gamerâ always makes a perfect buyer.
Horne added, “Someone coming home from school who loves playing video games – although we initially found this niche of competitive gamers, we have seen the growth of esports and also the growth of generic games.”
Additionally, Horne told Esports Insider that there is considerable appeal for the use of limited edition gear that professional players use in tournaments, and compares it to the athletic wear worn by athletes such as the late Kobe. Bryant and others. Once fans see the shoes the athletes are wearing, they become sought after collector’s items.
The same goes for keyboards – when Faker uses a streaming Matrix keyboard, his fans want to know where to get and buy it to follow in his footsteps. âIt’s really nothing new,â Horne said.
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Nike as a source of inspiration
A big motivation for Matrix Keyboards was the sportswear brand Nike and other similar well-known brands in mainstream sports. Horne explained that The Matrix looked at how Nike approached Michael Jordan and their partnership and tried to get similar things to happen in the keyboard market.
Considering however that this is a densely populated market, Matrix did not want to oversaturate the space with too many collaborations. On the contrary, he signed the “first percent of professionals”.
âWe found Clix who is one of the best pros in Fortnite, Symfuhny one of the best pros in Call of Duty, and Faker an absolute legend around him. We see a strong ability to provide the community with players of premium signature keyboards designed by their favorite professionals. â
âSo for Matrix being a small company and entering a saturated market, we wanted to make a splash and really put our mark in the industry where we can offer something that no one else is. “
Matrix Keyboards are aware that there are bigger names in the industry that follow a similar approach, such as Scuff and HyperX. But what sets the company apart, Horne said, is that The Matrix only focuses on partnering with the best in each game.
As the market continues to grow and even smaller keyboards make big sales, Matrix Keyboards and similar âboutiqueâ makers are innovating and finding new ways to differentiate themselves from the bigger and wealthier brands in the music industry. gaming peripherals.
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