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HyperX on how it found the sweet spot in the gaming headset market

Created in 2002 as a high-performance product division of memory manufacturer Kingston Technology, HyperX started life with one line of high-performance memory. The DDR1 high-performance memory line boasted data speeds of up to 370MHz, and since its release, Kingston’s gaming brand has continued to push the envelope with its products.

Since 2002, HyperX has continued to innovative in the memory sector, finding success with DDR2, DDR3 and DDR4 offerings, as well as launching its first SSD in 2011 and the world’s first 1TB USB flash drive in 2013.

But it was in 2014 that HyperX dipped a toe into the world of gaming peripherals, releasing its first mouse pad product line, Skyn, as well as the HyperX Cloud pro-gaming headset, co-developed with QPad. Five years later and HyperX has sold more than seven million headsets globally.

PCR catches up with Julien Millet to find out more about how HyperX found the sweet spot within the gaming peripherals market.

Can you tell us a bit about your career at HyperX?

I worked in the consumer technology market for ten years, including five years working for a French retailer specialising in components and PC gaming. I joined Kingston Technology and then moved up to my business manager position for the company’s gaming brand, HyperX, around two years ago.

I’m a gamer myself and I’ve always been interested in the market and the products. When I worked at the specialist in France I was immersed in this environment, so now my expertise in this field is growing even more as I am now taking care of all the PC audio and console products for HyperX.

What new projects and products are the company working on at the moment?

We have a lot of products coming Q3 and Q4 in all our product ranges, on PC audio, console, keyboard and mice.

On console we’re going to have the CloudX Flight headset, which is the Xbox version of the Cloud Flight that we have for PC right now. We actually have an extensive amount of products for Xbox coming up, so along with the new Flight we have the CloudX Stinger for Xbox. There’s also a new product called CloudX Chat, which is a mono headset with one earcup – it’s part of our entry-level range of products.

For PS4, we’ll also be releasing the Stinger and Chat. They will both be licensed by PlayStation so we will have the PS logo on the side of the product.

To finish with the range on console, we’re going to have the ChargePlay Duo, a charging station for Xbox controllers. That’s the full range for console, but we’ve got some new products for PC audio as well, including the Orbit and Orbit S, which we announced at the beginning of the year at CES. It will be available on September 3rd. There’s also a new product called Alpha S, which will be the new top of the range headset, retailing a £120 in the UK. It’s based on the Cloud Alpha headset, but has new features like 7.1 surround sound and bass boost technology.

This means users can tweak the bass level themselves on the headset. We also have a new keyboard, the HyperX Alloy Origins, featuring our own HyperX switches and a wireless mouse, Pulsefire Dart, which was seen for the first time at Gamescom 2019.

Can you tell us about the All Gamers campaign?

This is a branding campaign. We did very small branding campaigns at HyperX previously, but this one is the biggest one by far. The goal is to show that regardless of the age of the gamer or the platform they use – whether that’s PC, console or mobile – everybody is a gamer nowadays.

We wanted this campaign to be able to establish HyperX as the go-to brand for gaming peripherals and gaming
in general.

We’re also using our brand ambassadors. We have premier league footballer Dele Alli in the UK, who does things like using Fortnite moves on the pitch. He’s a well-known person so it’s a really easy way for us to make ourselves visible. He also uses our Cloud Flight and Cloud for PS4 headsets when streaming his gameplay on Twitch.

We’re going to continue to sign off more brand ambassadors in the near future too.

There has been a lot of transformation from a memory brand to a wider peripherals brand. Why did HyperX decide to go in this direction?

It was a combination of opportunity and demand. We launched our very first headsets in 2013. At the time, the retail gaming market was full of potential and we were looking to diversifying ourselves.

That was our first tryout, then we launched the very first version of the Cloud in 2014. This one gave us a lot of space to learn and prepare for what was following after. Also, we had the financial support of Kingston behind us, which was much needed to launch these products.

At that time, we saw there was some space for our idea, which is still alive now: we wanted to give more quality to the users for those price points. That’s why we launched the first version of the Cloud headset at that time. We had a feeling that it was a fast paced market that we wanted to be a part of.

The HyperX peripherals family

You’ve sold seven million headsets globally since the first headset launched. Why do you think they have been so successful?

We really introduced a base of quality and comfort that wasn’t there before on entry and mid-range gaming headset. Now for £80 you can have a really good headset, which wasn’t really the case at the time we first launched. You would have got a really basic headset for less than £100.

The market conditions were quite good and it allowed us to be successful. We launched the Cloud 2 headset in 2015 and now it’s the best-selling PC gaming headset in many European countries, including the UK. We also launched several other headsets with are all within the top ten, also in the UK.

For us, the UK is within the top five global regions. We had huge growth in the last few years. The gaming market in general has been growing between ten to 20% each year, but for us it has been more like 20 to 25% each year. So we’re growing faster than the market in general, which is a good thing.

Last year was completely crazy because of the popularity of Fortnite. Everybody had a very good year thanks to that game! For us it was particularly crazy in the UK.

HyperX has doubled its presence in UK retail over the past three years. How did you manage this and what are HyperX’s plans for working with retailers going forward?

A few years back we were just here and there in retail. We were taking the space where we could, but now the retail space is really a major focus for us. We’ve invested a lot in retail over the past few years and we’ve partnered with major retailers in the UK, including Argos, Dixons, Tesco, GAME and so on.

We also massive invested in a retail base, to enable customers to play, touch and feel the products, which is where retailers and fight back against online retailers – by offering a great customer experience.

We’ve also partnered with the likes of Belong in the UK, so we have our peripherals in 20 of their arenas in the UK, which is a major investment for us. We have them almost 1,000 units of each product.

It’s also a good way for the end users to play with the products and see what a proper gaming product is.

What goals does HyperX have over the next few years?

We are a very ambitious brand. We plan to continue to grow. The competition is quite fierce at the moment and there are a lot of new brands coming to market. There’s more competition for sure, but we’re confident in our strategy and our products. We listen to the market and we listen to customer feedback.

We want to become a major player on console peripherals as well as keyboard and mice, because the PC side of our business is still a major bullet point for us and we really want to become a major brand for gaming in general within the next few years, across PC, console and mobile.

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