Razer

Razer made a case for cooling iPhones while gaming

Posted by | Apple Hardware Event 2019, Gaming, hardware, iPhone, Razer | No Comments

Razer’s efforts to build a game-centric smartphone haven’t exactly caught the world on fire just yet. Still, mobile gaming is a huge business poised to get even bigger, with services from big names like Apple and Google waiting in the wings.

Seeing as how accessories have long been the company’s bread and butter, products like Arctech are probably an easier way for the company to ensure it’s got a horse in that race. The product is a phone case specifically designed to help stop phones from overheating during resource-intensive activities like gaming.

Thermaphene

The product uses Razer’s proprietary Thermaphene technology sandwiched between a microfiber lining and an outer casing with perforations to help let the heat out. Per Razer:

Thermaphene is a thermally – conductive material that dissipates heat. In independent testing against similar style cases, the Razer Arctech case maintained temperatures up to 6° Celsius (42.8 Fahrenheit) lower than the comparison case.

There are two versions of the case, Slim and Pro, the latter of which offers added protection for up to a 10-foot drop. As for why the company’s launching today, in addition to the Razer Phone 2, the Arctech will be available for all of Apple’s new iPhones. The Slim runs $30 and the Pro is $40. They’re both available starting today.

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Razer goes big on payments with Visa prepaid card

Posted by | Asia, asia pacific, Finance, Gaming, malaysia, mobile payments, mol, online payments, Razer, Singapore, Southeast Asia, visa | No Comments

The latest pairing between a tech upstart and a financial titan is a digital prepaid card targeted at Southeast Asia’s 430 million-plus unbanked and underserved population.

On Monday, Razer, the Singapore-based company best known for its gaming laptops and peripherals, announced a partnership with Visa to develop a Visa prepaid solution. The service, which allows unbanked users to top up and cash out easily, will be available as a mini program embedded in Razer Pay, the gaming company’s mobile payments app. That means Razer’s 60 million registered users will be able to pay at any of the 54 million merchant locations around the world that take Visa.

Going virtual is the natural step given the region’s fast-growing digital population, but the pair does not rule out the possibility to introduce a physical prepaid card down the road, Razer’s chief strategy officer Li Meng Lee told TechCrunch over a phone interview.

Both parties have something to gain from this marriage. Hong Kong-listed Razer has in recent years been doubling down on fintech to prove it’s more than a hardware company. Payment services seem like an inevitable development for Razer whose users in the region are accustomed to buying in-game credits at convenience stores.

“For many years, the people who have been making digital payments before it became a sexy word in the last couple of years… [many of them] are the gamers who go to a 7-Eleven, pay in cash, and get a pin code to buy virtual skins for the games,” noted Lee. “Because of that, we’ve been able to build up more than a million service points across Southeast Asia.”

The key differentiator of Razer’s prepaid service, Lee said, is that customers paying at Visa merchants don’t have to already own a bank account, whereas that prerequisite is common for many other e-wallet services.

The Razer Pay app is handling transactions for a slew of internet services like Lazada and Grab and has made a big offline push, boasting a network of more than one million touchpoints through retailers including 7-Eleven and Starbucks where it’s accepted.

All in all, Razer Pay claimed it processed over $1.4 billion in payment value last year. It first launched in Malaysia in mid-2018 and recently branched into Singapore as its second market. Lee said the service plans to roll out in the rest of Southeast Asia soon, upon which the Visa prepaid mini app will also be available in those markets.

For Visa, the tie-up with an internet firm could be a potential boost to its reach in the mobile-first Southeast Asia where some 213 million millennials and youths live.

“This is a great opportunity for us to be working with Razer in addressing how we work to bring the unbanked and underserved population into the financial system,” Chris Clark, Visa’s regional president for the Asia Pacific, told TechCrunch. “We will be doing some work with Razer on financial literacy and financial planning to bring that education to the population across the region.”

Razer’s fintech ambition has been evident since it announced to gobble up MOL, a company that offers online and offline payments in Southeast Asia, in April 2018. Besides payments, Lee said other microfinance services such as lending and insurance are also on the cards as part of an effort to ramp up user stickiness for Razer’s fintech arm.

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Seven years later, the OUYA is dead for real

Posted by | Gaming, Kickstarter, ouya, Razer, TC | No Comments

Remember the OUYA?

As a cheap Android-powered game console, it was pitched as being able to “open the last closed platform: the TV.” It was one of the first huge Kickstarter campaigns, raising nearly $9 million on the site in 2012. Even half a decade later, it remains one of the biggest campaigns Kickstarter has seen.

Outside of Kickstarter, the $99 console never really found its audience. OUYA was split up by 2015, its software assets and team acquired by Razer.

Razer kept the OUYA store running post-acquisition, a ghost of its former self. On June 25th, 2019, they’ll pull the plug once and for all.

In an FAQ on its site, Razer says that the OUYA store will be shut down by the end of June. The game store for the Forge TV (a similar attempt at an Android-powered console built by Razer itself) will also be shut down.

If you’ve somehow still got funds in your OUYA account, you’ll want to use them quick — the FAQ suggests that come June 25th, those funds will be more or less gone.

But what about the games you’ve already bought? Will those continue to work? That’s a bit more complicated. Writes Razer:

You will be able to play games via the OUYA platform until June 25, 2019. Once it has been shut down, access to the Discover section will no longer be available. Games downloaded that appear in Play, may still function if they do not require a purchase validation upon launch. Contact the game developer for confirmation.

In other words: some games will work, some won’t. They do note that the download servers will also go dark on June 25th — so if there’s a game you want to keep for the long term, make sure you’ve got it saved on the console.

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Razer hooks up with Tencent to focus on mobile gaming

Posted by | airasia, Android, Asia, ceo, Companies, computing, consumer electronics, Consumer Electronics Show, Earnings, Gaming, HTC, LG, malaysia, Meituan, Min-Liang Tan, mobile phones, mol, Razer, razer phone, Singapore, smartphone, smartphones, Southeast Asia, TC, Tencent, Xiaomi | No Comments

Razer is summoning a big gun as it bids to develop its mobile gaming strategy. The Hong Kong-listed company — which sells laptops, smartphones and gaming peripherals — said today it is working with Tencent on a raft of initiatives related to smartphone-based games.

The collaboration will cover hardware, software and services. Some of the objectives include optimizing Tencent games — which include megahit PUBG and Fortnite — for Razer’s smartphones, mobile controllers and its Cortex Android launcher app. The duo also said they may “explore additional monetization opportunities for mobile gaming,” which could see Tencent integrate Razer’s services, which include a rewards/loyalty program, in some areas.

The news comes on the same day as Razer’s latest earnings, which saw annual revenue grow 38 percent to reach $712.4 million. Razer recorded a net loss of $97 million for the year, down from $164 million in 2017.

The big-name partnership announcement comes at an opportune time for Razer, which has struggled to convince investors of its business. The company was among a wave of much-championed tech companies to go public in Hong Kong — Razer’s listing raised more than $500 million in late 2017 — but its share price has struggled. Razer currently trades at HK$1.44, which is some way down from a HK$3.88 list price and HK$4.58 at the end of its trading day debut. Razer CEO Min Liang Tan has previously lamented a lack of tech savviness within Hong Kong’s public markets despite a flurry of IPOs, which have included names like local services giant Meituan.

Nabbing Tencent, which is one of (if not the) biggest games companies in the world, is a PR coup, but it remains to be seen just what impact the relationship will have at this stage. Subsequent tie-ins, and potentially an investor, would be notable developments and perhaps positive signals that the market is seeking.

Still, Razer CEO Min Liang Tan is bullish about the company’s prospects on mobile.

The company’s Razer smartphones were never designed to be “iPhone-killers” that sold on volume, but there’s still uncertainty around the unit with recent reports suggesting the third-generation phone may have been canceled following some layoffs. (Tan declined to comment on that.)

Mobile is tough — just ask past giants like LG and HTC about that… and Razer’s phone and gaming-focus was quickly copied by others, including a fairly brazen clone effort from Xiaomi, to make sales particularly challenging. But Liang maintains that, in doing so, Razer created a mobile gaming phone market that didn’t exist before, and ultimately that is more important than shifting its own smartphones.

“Nobody was talking about gaming smartphones [before the Razer phone], without us doing that, the genre would still be perceived as casual gaming,” Tan told TechCrunch in an interview. “Even from day one, it was about creating this new category… we don’t see others as competition.”

With that in mind, he said that this year is about focusing on the software side of Razer’s mobile gaming business.

Tan said Razer “will never” publish games as Tencent and others do, instead, he said that the focus is on helping discovery, creating a more immersive experience and tying in other services, which include its Razer Gold loyalty points.

Outside of gaming, Razer is also making a push into payments through a service that operates in Southeast Asia. Fueled by the acquisition of MOL one year ago, Razer has moved from allowing people to buy credit over-the-counter to launch an e-wallet in two countries, Malaysia and Singapore, as it goes after a slice of Southeast Asia’s fintech boom, which has attracted non-traditional players that include AirAsia, Grab and Go-Jek, among others.

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Razer is closing its game store after less than a year

Posted by | Gaming, Razer | No Comments

Razer is one of the dominant brands in gaming when it comes to buying equipment to play, but one of its biggest efforts to own a larger slice of digital spending hasn’t gone according to plan. After less than a year, the company announced it will close its digital game store at the end of this month “as part of realignment plans.”

The Razer Game Store launched worldwide in April 2018 with the aim of taking a slice of a game sales business that is dominated by Steam. Razer’s offering tied into its gamer credit (virtual currency) strategy to incentivize its customers to buy hardware and digital content with the promise of discounts. The company didn’t comment on why the store is closing, but you’d imagine that it didn’t go as well as Razer had hoped.

It sure takes a lot to bite into digital game sales, but the rewards are potentially lucrative.

Steam made $4.7 billion in 2017 (we don’t yet know its total for 2018) and Epic Games, buoyed by the runaway success of Fortnite, banked a $3 billion profit last year across its entire business, sources previously told TechCrunch.

Amazon-owned Twitch — which dominates the live-streaming space — had its own store before it closed, while Epic launched a very competitive offering at the end of 2018. The Epic Games Store, though, is fairly sparsely populated at this point. It is a long-term project, but the fact that even a company of the size and influence of Epic needs time goes to show the struggle that any new entrant will face.

The Razer Game Store will close on February 28

The Razer Game Store will close its doors at 1am PST February 28. All purchased games will continue to work and pre-ordered titles will ship as planned, according to Razer. Discount vouchers must be used before that date, however.

In a Q&A accompanying the announcement, Razer said it would “continue bringing games to gamers via other services.”

“We will be investing in other ways to deliver great content and introduce game promotions through Razer Gold, our virtual credits system,” the company said, perhaps hinting at tie-ins with other game stores in the future.

Razer went public with an IPO in Hong Kong in 2017.

Note: The original version of this post has been updated to correct that Twitch’s store has in fact already closed, such is the challenge of rivaling Steam. Thank you to reader James Binns for spotting the error and writing in.

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This is the Razer Phone 2

Posted by | Gaming, hardware, Razer, smartphones | No Comments

Remember phone reveals? Once upon a time, companies were able to save a little for the event. These days, however, we nearly always know exactly what we’re getting ourselves into. Due to be announced next month, the second iteration of Razer’s gaming-centric handset is no different.

Bits and pieces of the forthcoming phone have already surfaced, but today’s latest leaks give us the clearest picture thus far. From an aesthetic standpoint, not a lot has changed. From the front, the new Razer Phone 2 looks virtually identical to last year’s model, retaining the boxy design.

Enough politics for today. pic.twitter.com/5nUc3xdden

— Evan Blass (@evleaks) September 28, 2018

The back of the handset has been tweaked a bit, with a shifted logo, now in a neon green, in keeping with the rest of Razer’s products. The company appears to have borrowed the Chroma lighting effects here, meaning that the logo should light up when in use. The rear-facing camera has shifted down a bit, as well.

Beyond this, we don’t know a ton about the phone — but have no fear, there’s still time. The handset is set for an official launch on October 10, which leaves us with a week and a half left to leak.

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Gaming monitors, headsets and peripherals for a winning desktop setup

Posted by | amd, asus, Bluetooth, Column, Gaming, hardware, nvidia, Razer, Wirecutter | No Comments
Makula Dunbar
Contributor

Makula Dunbar is a writer with Wirecutter.

Editor’s note: This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter’s independently chosen editorial picks, Wirecutter and TechCrunch earn affiliate commissions.

New and serious gamers know that it takes a significant amount of time to sharpen skills, and to strategize ways to capture high scores. Staying ahead of player 2 is easier when you have the right gaming peripherals.

A monitor with a crisp display, a responsive gaming mouse, a comfortable headset—or all of these items combined—are what you need to take your PC gaming experience to the next level. We can’t promise that new equipment will keep you at the top of the board, but the best gear with accommodating features is essential to a great setup, and to helping you try.

G-Sync Monitor: Asus ROG Swift PG279Q

For the best option to pair with a Nvidia graphics card, we recommend the Asus ROG Swift PG279Q (Amazon) G-Sync gaming monitor. At 27 inches it’s big enough to give off an immersive feeling, but not so big that visuals seem overwhelming. It only works over displayport and has two connection options (HDMI 1.4 and DisplayPort 1.2a). You’ll still be able to plug in peripherals like a keyboard or phone via its built-in USB 3.0 port. We tested it with a variety of games and it performed well with them all. This monitor’s luminance range is also pretty wide so it’ll display images nicely if placed in dim or bright areas.

Photo: Rozette Rago

FreeSync monitor: Asus MG279Q

The Asus MG279Q (Amazon), our top FreeSync monitor pick, is best for those who use an AMD graphics card. A gaming console and computer work well with this 27-inch monitor as it’s packed with connection options (one Mini DisplayPort 1.2 connection, two HDMI 1.4 connections and one DisplayPort 1.2).

We like its adjustability and that you can detach it completely from its stand. It can be mounted on a monitor arm to better accommodate different setups. Though it supports FreeSync between 35 Hz and 90 Hz, it has 1440p resolution and a standard refresh rate of 144 Hz for clear, high-quality visuals.

Photo: Rozette Rago

Headset: Kingston HyperX Cloud

The excitement that comes along with gaming is largely attached to being able to clearly hear the action. A gaming headset that can offer all-day comfort, a high-quality microphone and full sound is a headset you want to go with.

Our top pick, the Kingston HyperX Cloud (Amazon), offers all of these features and after about 30 months of testing, it’s held up well. It’ll still look as good as new after being tossed around, but more importantly, its headband and ear cups don’t feel heavy or constricting. You’ll be able to play online with teammates without hearing an overlap between headset and microphone audio. It’s also a decent headset for watching movies and listening to music.

Photo: Michael Hession

Mouse: Razer DeathAdder Elite

The Razer DeathAdder Elite, our top gaming mouse pick, has a design that’s ideal for hands of all sizes. We like that it has textured grip, and that you’re able to get comfortable with preferred settings using its customizable buttons and scroll wheel. It isn’t clunky and you won’t press the wrong buttons, as they’re intuitive and well-placed.

Aside from its RGB lights that change color, it doesn’t look much different from a mouse you’d find at a work desk. It comes with Razer’s Synapse software (which works on Mac and Windows), and it has an accurate, exclusive Pixart PMW3389 sensor that tracks without issue.

Photo: Kyle Fitzgerald

Keyboard: Razer BlackWidow Tournament Edition Chroma V2

Though we like the multicolored backlighting on the Razer BlackWidow Tournament Edition Chroma V2 (Amazon), there’s more than a few reasons why this compact mechanical keyboard is our top recommendation. Its removable palm rest makes getting comfortable in different positions easier and it comes with a durable protective case.

Its learning curve isn’t as steep as competitors, so if the Chroma V2 is your first gaming keyboard it won’t be long before you get into the swing of things. You can set macros to specific keys and applications and use a variety of switch options. Like the Razer DeathAdder Elite gaming mouse, it uses Synapse software.                                                                                                   

Photo: Kyle Fitzgerald

PC gaming controller: DualShock 4 Wireless Controller

Gamers who prefer playing on consoles will enjoy using a PC gaming controller with a computer. The DualShock 4 Wireless Controller (which comes with the PlayStation 4) is our top pick, because it’s the most capable PC controller, as well as a few extra features: The touchpad can be used like a mouse cursor and it has an internal rechargeable battery. It connects over Bluetooth or USB and is best used with a separate gaming headset, as its audio jack doesn’t function properly with PCs.

The controller works great with Steam, though in order to get it working with MacOS or non-Steam Windows games, you’ll have to adjust some settings. We think it’s worth the effort for a responsive controller that’s comfortable to hold for long periods of time.

Photo: Andrew Cunningham

This guide may have been updated by Wirecutter.

Note from Wirecutter: When readers choose to buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn affiliate commissions that support our work.

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Razer’s new external graphics enclosure is compatible with Macs

Posted by | Gaming, hardware, Razer | No Comments

A couple of gaming hardware announcements just dropped from team Razer. What makes the Core X graphics enclosure arguably the most notable of the bunch is the inclusion of a standard Thunderbolt 3 connection on the rear of the device.

In addition to Razer’s own systems and Windows 10 PCs, the new enclosure is compatible with Apple products running macOS High Sierra 10.13.4. That’s part of a whole new focus on gaming for Apple’s devices, unveiled back at WWDC roughly this time last year, along with the promise of VR development support.

In late March, external GPU support officially arrived for High Sierra 10.13.4, and now Razer’s ready to get on-board. The Core X is designed to hold up to three desktop graphics cards and can charge a connected laptop through the aforementioned Thunrderbolt 3 connection.

The enclosure is available now for $299. Along with the X, Razer’s Core V2 is now also compatible with Macs via Thunderbolt 3. That one will run you $499. Good new all around for Mac users ready to get serious about gaming.

Also new today is the Razer Blade 15.6-inch, an ultra thin gaming notebook the company has taken to calling “the world’s smallest…in its class.” The 15.6-inch display comes 1920 x 1080, standard, which users can upgrade to 4k. All of that is surrounded by some skinny 4.9mm bezels.

Inside is an 8th gen Core i7 processor, coupled with either a either GeForce GTX 1060 or GeForce GTX 1070  graphics. There’s also up to 16GB of memory and up to 512GB of storage inside, loaded with what Razer says is $420 of games and software. The system features a 16.8 million color keyboard and output for up to three external displays.

The new system starts at $1,899.

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Razer doubles down on Southeast Asia and payments with acquisition of MOL

Posted by | Asia, e-commerce, Fundings & Exits, Gaming, Min-Liang Tan, mol, payments, Razer, Singapore | No Comments

Gaming hardware maker Razer, which went public in a big IPO in Hong Kong last year, is doubling down on payments after it announced a deal to acquire MOL, a company that offers online and offline payments in Southeast Asia.

Razer made an initial $20 million investment in MOL last June to supercharge its zGold virtual credit program for gamers by allowing them to buy using MOL’s online service or its offline, over-the-counter network of retailers that includes 7-Eleven. Now Razer aims to gobble up MOL in full by acquiring the remaining 65 percent, which will allow it to grow its alternative revenue streams by pushing fully into payment services by merging MOL’s virtual payment platform with zGold.

It’s worth noting that the deal is an intention to buy MOL. It’ll be subject to review from shareholders, but Razer said it has already secured support from major shareholders. The transaction gives MOL, which delisted from the Nasdaq in 2016 following a bumpy two-year spell, the same $100 million valuation it held for the initial Razer investment.

The acquisition will boost Razer’s recently announced online games store, which rivals services like Steam, but first and foremost it is focused on growing the firm’s share of online sales in Southeast Asia’s growing e-commerce and payment space. To that end, Razer recently launched a store on Lazada, the Alibaba-owned e-commerce service in Southeast Asia, something that Apple did earlier this year.

“We are already the No. 1 gaming brand in the U.S., Europe and China, but Southeast Asia is still nascent and a very small part of our business,” Razer CEO and co-founder Min-Liang Tan told TechCrunch in an interview. “We see this [deal with MOL] as stuff we can do immediately.”

Tan said that, in particular, working with MOL saw revenue grow “dramatically” while MOL itself surpassed $1.1 billion in GMV across its payment network last year.

“This is the perfect opportunity for us to not just be a minority shareholder, but to combine the business and continue scaling from here,” he added, reiterating that he believes the deal gives Razer the world’s largest virtual credit system for gamers based on user registrations. “That’s a huge opportunity for us.”

Away from its core business, the push will also help Razer in Singapore where it has applied to develop a unified e-payment system that would be used across the country, which is the Razer CEO home nation.

Tan said he has kept an ongoing dialogue with regulators, adding that he believes this deal “makes it clear that we don’t just have the scale, we also have the right technology.”

Beyond the Singapore opportunity, where Razer is a new entrant and thus considered an outsider for the license, Tan said the focus is on enabling cash-less payments right across Southeast Asia.

The blockchain has been widely touted as a building block that can help develop financial inclusion platforms in emerging markets, but for now Razer isn’t talking about whether it will hop on that wagon.

“We are excited about blockchain and the technology it brings, but we don’t have anything to comment on at this juncture,” Tan said.

The Razer chief was more vocal on the company’s wider goal, which he said is to develop “an entire ecosystem for our games partners.” The goal is to offset Razer’s impressive hardware sales business by constructing services that span game payments, game distribution and analytics on gamers and their behavior.

That optimism isn’t shared right now by investors in Hong Kong, however, which lured Razer as part of a push to attract more tech listings. Despite a surge when it when public in November, the stock traded at an all-time low of HK$2.44 today, down from its initial list price of HK$3.88.

Tan said he is focused on growing the business and its services regardless, but he did admit there’s a need for “the Hong Kong investment public to be more educated on tech companies.”

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Razer moves into wireless power, debuts HyperFlux mouse and pad

Posted by | Gadgets, Gaming, Mobile, Razer, speakers, TC, Wireless Charging | No Comments

 The wireless charging movement is getting one more boost today, this time from the world of gaming. Razer, the tech giant that has built a brand (and very loyal following) as a gaming-first hardware company, is announcing HyperFlux, a new wireless power technology that will be making its first appearance a new mouse, the Razer Mamba HyperFlux, and a corresponding power mat. Priced at… Read More

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