Last week at CES in Las Vegas, I was invited to test out Razer's "Project Fiona" behind closed doors. What I didn't know is that I would be given a private demonstration by Razer CEO and Co-founder Min-Liang Tan.
As you may already know, Tan is no absentee CEO. He is deeply involved with the design, development and marketing of all Razer products. Known as a staunch supporter of hardcore PC gaming and innovation, Tan recently proclaimed that PC Gaming is Not Dead in a viral campaign that led up to the unveiling of the Razer Blade gaming laptop and more recently, the aforementioned "Project Fiona" gaming tablet. As he proceeded to give me a demo of Fiona and noticed how impressed I was, Tan told me that he simply couldn't get his mind around something.
"Why is it that the giants of the PC industry have stopped innovating and taking risks?"
I honestly didn't know what to tell him. I replied, "I suppose they don't think the risk is worth the reward."
Well, that was all it took to get him going. He looked at me and said, "You know, there's some things I wish I could say to the giants of this industry." "Is that so?" I said as I pulled out my tape recorder. "Well, go for it."
"PC giants have stopped innovating and we've been left carrying a very small flag. I'm sick and tired of it. I wish they would do something about it. I wish we could do something together. Even as these companies continue to shy away from what we do I have their CEO's coming up to me and saying, "Man you guys got some balls." We were just given 50 million dollars for research and development, so we're clearly not alone in our fight to bring innovation to this industry. People want to see us succeed. PC gamers are passionate. That's why they either love us or hate us. I mean, when was the last time a company was as passionate as us in this industry?! We don't say PC gaming is not dead simply because we've unveiled a handful of new products. We say PC gaming is not dead because as long as we're around, we'll keep it alive any way we can. This is what we're passionate about. This is what we do."
"Ok." I said. "Now what if these companies did start to innovate and take risks? What if they became your competition? Then what would you say? Then what would you do?"
"It would be easier for us", said Tan. "The competition would drive production costs down."
"But then you'd be competing for the same market share with the same types of products," I replied.
He looked at me and said, "It doesn't matter, because we'd still do it better"
Only time will tell if Razer's risks will be rewarded, but one thing is certain - Min-Liang Tan has no intention of having Razer slow down any time soon.