Gaming accessories supplier SteelSeries, which widened its U.S. retail presence to just past the 5,000-outlet mark last year with its entry into the GameStop retail chain, has announced today that Best Buy will sell a select range of its products beginning next month. The products will include the compact 3H Headset, the MERC stealth keyboard and the World of Warcraft MMO gaming mouse.
The company, according to CEO Bruce Hawver, rode the consumer gaming wave into 2009 having achieved a 100 percent increase in U.S. sales for 2008 over 2007. “We’ve seen continued benefits from online gaming growth,” he said, “along with consumer recognition of our differentiated line.”
The launch of the 7G keyboard about this time last year signaled a serious pursuit of what Hawver called the “high-quality” gamer. “Gaming is one of the bright spots in this economy, and we believe even though many categories will see slow growth in the first half, gaming won’t be affected as much. It’s a social activity for teens. The way I used to pick up the phone after school, now, kids log into World of Warcraft and chat. And that social aspect is taking off even more along with ‘stay-cations’. Online gaming might cost $14 to $18 a month – less than a single movie visit for two people.”
Hawver said he is optimistic that SteelSeries can achieve a 60 percent growth projection for 2009 – “and if there’s a second-half turnaround, higher.” He said the company would pursue additional opportunities in the pro-gamer arena with a portfolio expansion. SteelSeries also plans to offer more online video tutorials following the success of a three-minute “how to use” online instructional it recently offered. “That type of activity ties into our core demographic – Internet-savvy players who like to get their informational ‘homework’ that way.”