How we got to where we are

05 Mar 2014

by Bruce Hawver (CEO)

SteelSeries is a company that was founded on the principle of making gaming accessories and experiences that take a gamer’s performance to the next level of competitiveness whether against an AI or another human player. To accomplish this the company listens to gamers across the globe and then develops products and experiences that meet unmet needs.

Take for example our first product: a glass composite mousepad that helped professional gamers at the time get consistent performance from the then popular roller-ball mice. No one had been looking at glass for a mousepad, but SteelSeries realized the surface met three key needs:

  1. durable for transport
  2. easy to clean so lint and other substances did not change the performance of the roller-ball
  3. a very fast surface enabling gamers to move the mouse more quickly than other popular surfaces at the time.

This understanding led to a number of other optimized surfaces for optical and then laser mice and made the company the clear leader in gaming surfaces.

This focus on innovation, driven by the real needs of gamers, has continued as the company introduced the 5H: the first truly gaming optimized full-size headset with double braided cords, retractable microphone, and the ability to “take apart” for transportation. It was known at the cheating headset by many in the Counter-Strike community given its incredible soundscape and its use in numerous victories.

The reintroduction of the 6G mechanical switch keyboard (the 6Gv2), with no ghosting in 2006 helped enable hundreds of victories.

The Sensei (the first ambidextrous gaming mouse to have an LCD display) enabled the user to optimize the mouse to the playing conditions/surfaces where-ever and when-ever they wanted. Advanced products such as this would not have been possible without significant processing power in the device as well as advanced firmware.

Thus, as the company has grown, technology has advanced and the capabilities of the gaming platforms and the games themselves have advanced. SteelSeries recognized that software was becoming just as important as hardware choices in providing gamers with the best gaming experience possible. Today, we view software as a critical part of addressing a gamer’s needs, and improving the experience they have when using our products. Increasingly we are seeing that this can be true for both the gaming experience as well as other work and entertainment needs. In order for the company to develop these experiences faster and at the quality level we demand, it became clear that an in-house engineering team would be important for future product innovation.

Today this in-house, global team drives the firmware capabilities you see in products like the H-Wireless, 9H, & Siberia Elite headsets, the Sensei family of mice, and the APEX keyboards. Not only that, but they also are driving amazing new features through the SteelSeries Engine. With base development starting back in early 2000’s, the SteelSeries Engine has been the leading software product for enabling users to have one platform to configure all of their equipment to perform the way they want. As we move forward, Engine3 will enable a whole new set of features, interactions, and capabilities not thought possible by many.

Expect to see many more exciting benefits that our software team is busily working on. In the meantime, please visit this blog frequently to hear and participate firsthand in what will be the key enablers to redefine how we game, work, and experience our online lives.