I like to go to electronics stores.
On average, I’m inside an electronics store at least two times per week.
Since it’s 2018 and there aren’t that many electronics stores left, this usually means I’m either wandering around a Best Buy or a Fry’s Electronics.
A weird side effect of this is that I’ve started to get a good sense of how certain products I like are selling. I always go look at the gaming headsets, and I always take note of what’s in stock, and what isn’t.
Over the last few months, I’ve noticed something: Steelseries is crushing it.
A few weeks ago, I noticed that my local horrible Fry’s ordered a whole huge stack of Arctis Pro Wireless headsets. That headset, a replacement for the lauded Steelseries 800 series, is also the most expensive dedicated gaming headset currently available on the wide consumer market, at $329 US Dollars.
When I saw the pile of them at Fry’s, I turned to my dad who was with me at the time and said:
“There’s no way they’re going to sell all of these!”
I was totally wrong.
Steelseries headsets are consistently coming into and out of stock at my local retail outlets.
There’s no denying that they offer a good combination of sound, comfort, mic performance, and price. Even though I do think the Arctis Pro’s marketing and over-reliance on hi-res audio is kind of… questionable.
To that end, Steelseries’ Brian Fallon did write a blog where he acknowledges that games don’t yet use hi-res audio files…so good on them for that!
Now, just because something is popular doesn’t mean that it’s the best, of course.
But it used to be that Razer occupied this coveted and totally anecdotal space of local superiority. And we all know that Razer’s products, while sometimes excellent, are also a little all over their place.
Although I didn’t agree with the marketing rollout of the Arctis Pro, I do think that Steelseries has the strongest overall headset lineup available right now, and it’s nice to see them doing well.
They have clearly delineated products that all make sense at their price points…even though they also have the most expensive headset option on the market.
And I have one more anecdote to share.
I saw a young boy and his father in the Fry’s yesterday, and the boy wanted to buy the HyperX Cloud Alpha with some money he’d saved up.
A good choice!
They also had a few colors of HyperX Cloud II in stock, which sells for the same $99 price. His father said, “wait, what’s different about this one?”
The boy doubted himself for a moment and closely inspected the boxes, and they both acknowledged that it was confusing and hard to tell the difference. But then the boy said “No, I watched a video about this, the Alpha is the one I want, it’s better.”
If I were a marketing person at HyperX, I’d consider that a failure. People at point-of-sale shouldn’t have to watch outside video content to know which of your headsets is better.
And yes, sometimes I watch people making headset decisions in stores.
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