If you’re left-handed, there isn’t a lot of love for you in the gaming mice market. Left-handers make up around 5 percent of the Australian population, so naturally lefties aren’t a natural target for peripheral manufacturers.
But there have been rare cases of company reaching out. And having made two left-handed mice in the past, Razer is back, manufacturing a new left-handed version of the Razer Naga.
Left-handed mice aren’t popular. Despite launching the left-handed Deathadder in 2010 and a lefty variant of the Naga in 2013, they’re not huge sellers. Razer has revealed that they sell more right-handed mice in a day than the amount of left-handed mice that are sold every year.
There’s plenty of reasons why, of course. Most left-handed computer users will grow up either learning to use a mouse with their right hand, or simply using one of the many good ambidextrous alternatives. The Microsoft Intellimouse Optical was probably the first great left-handed mouse, and its ambidextrous design still lives on today across many devices.
So it’s understandable why there isn’t huge demand for left-handed mice, even from left-handed people. “From a business perspective, we knew from the get-go that it is not sustainable in terms of managing a full supply chain as we needed to mass-produced the left-handed mouse for a small community,” Razer’s head of sales and marketing for core peripherals, Christopher Mitchell, told Kotaku Australia.
“Looking at the data we’ve collected, it’s less than 1% [of gamers] that’s interested in left-handed mice,” Mitchell explained.
The lack of interest was such that Razer in 2018, with their name recognition and marketing power, couldn’t get a Kickstarter for a left-handed Naga Trinity over the line. Razer sought more than $1.3 million at the time, but the campaign only raised just over $80,000.
Fans continued to call on Razer to fund production themselves, and in an exclusive interview with Kotaku Australia, the company explained that the Razer brand “owes much of its success to our cult following”.
“Planning for a left-handed mouse has been a difficult journey, as it is a project that has drawn large costs at low demand due to an overall limited audience of left-hand people who have not already made the imperfect adjustment to using right-handed gaming mice,” Mitchell said.
A key realisation Razer had with the original southpaw version of the Naga was that it was a hit among gamers with disabilities, not just left-handed gamers. “The gamers shared feedback that the unique side plates on the Razer Naga provide the best flexibility across different game genres as well as productivity,” Mitchell said.
It makes sense that the left-handed Naga would be favoured from an accessibility standpoint, instead of the left-handed Deathadder. The potential of the extra buttons through macros are a huge boon for those with accessibility challenges, particularly since those users might not be able to re-train themselves to use a right-handed mouse for whatever reason. (Also, it might just be uncomfortable as all hell.)
As they did with the campaign before, a not-insignificant challenge for Razer is retooling their manufacturing line to adjust the circuitry and moulds for mass production. Understandably, that lack of scale means the lefty Naga is pricer than the regular versions.
The Razer Naga LH, which is only being sold through the Razer online store, is retailing for $184.95. It’s likely to come down in price within a couple of months — Razer stuff almost always does — but at least the option is there for those who want a true left-handed option, instead of just having to accept something that was built for right-handers first.