How Kingston cracked the gaming market: An interview with HyperX's Edward Baily

With its HyperX brand Kingston has become a big player in the PC gaming space
Author:
Publish date:
Social count:
0
1-ed-bailey.jpg

Over the past four years, Kingston’s HyperX gaming hardware brand has grown its sales by 200 per cent.
Dominic Sacco asks EMEA business manager Edward Baily how it’s been so successful in this area.

Memory and storage vendor Kingston Technology has been in the IT market for almost 30 years now. 

The company is well known for its specialism in components. But in the early 2000s, Kingston recognised a growing demand for another area: PC gaming. 

Rather than create a small set of products in this space, it decided to launch an entirely separate brand – and HyperX was born.

Today it is one of the biggest brands in its space, producing RAM, SSDs, USBs and headsets. The business has grown 200 per cent in the past four years, but what’s the secret to its success?

HyperX EMEA business manager Edward Baily explains: “We originally started HyperX back in 2002 because we wanted to offer a different type of DRAM memory to the market, so we decided to make gaming-themed memory that was a bit more aggressive with a different design. 

“It went okay for a few years, though there was one point where we thought about ending the brand. But we kept it going and then about four years ago we really started to invest in the eSports scene. And we discovered there was a lot of potential to expand the brand and grow it further.”

The key, it seems, was identifying the demand for competitive gaming early on.

“In 2012, when we started to focus on eSports, we saw a significant jump in revenue overall,” Baily adds. “We had a booth at DreamHack Summer 2012 in Sweden. That was the first time we realised the huge potential for eSports and PC gaming.”

HyperX now sponsors 27 professional eSports teams globally including SK Gaming, Team EnVyUs, Cloud 9, TSM and Luminosity. It also supports influencers like YouTubers and streamers, including Mark “Valkia” Purdy and Emily “QueenE” Krumlinde. Overall, it has invested millions of dollars in sponsorship to date.

HyperX’s own YouTube channel now has 330,000 subscribers. A recent video produced by the brand – a gaming house tour of Team EnVyUs – has amassed more than 800,000 views in the space of a few weeks.

“The difference with us compared to a lot of other brands is we don’t just sponsor an eSports team and then that’s it,” Baily says. “We actually work with them and encourage them to do [gaming] boot camps at our head office in California. 

“We like to make video content with them, like house tours and pro gaming tips, so it’s more of a partnership than just a sponsorship. We don’t just want to produce a standard product video – we want to produce good content. That’s why we’ve spent a lot of time and money investing in the YouTube channel. 

People who like our content will hopefully one day purchase memory or a headset from us in the future.” 

CHANNEL STRENGTH

Kingston has a strong reputation in the IT channel, and HyperX is leveraging this. It has partnerships with Ingram Micro, Tech Data, SIMMS and Entatech, and has recently signed a deal with Maplin as the first HyperX peripherals High Street retail partner in the UK, starting in 124 stores.

“It’s our first step into that High Street retail world as a brand,” Baily comments. “We’re very big online but now we’re focusing onto the retail side as well. We’re having quite a lot of talks with retailers in the UK right now. 

“With Kingston and HyperX, we’ve built our excellence on long-term relationships. We really look after our channel partners and deliver quality performance and price.

“The other thing that’s good for our partners right now is peripherals – they can make more money on these kind of products. The headsets and our new products we’re releasing are very interesting for the channel because they’re good margin products.”

HyperX is seeing success with accessories like the Cloud and Cloud II headsets (plus it launched an official Xbox One headset – the CloudX – on June 13th), so will it move into other product areas in the future?

“At the moment we don’t do mice or keyboards, and we’re not saying too much, but we’re investigating other gaming peripheral areas right now,” Baily says. “Watch this space closely over the coming six months – we have some exciting products coming to market and I think a lot of our fans will be very happy with them.”

Related