The PC gaming peripherals market is one that is fiercely competitive. Brands such as Logitech, Corsair, and Razer tend to dominate the market and are often times the brands of choice for serious gamer and hobbyist alike. So, what is a fairly new PC gaming peripherals company such as Azolt to do? Taking cues from the best with the hopes of one day surpassing them is a start.
"We are trying to build another Razer and following their road at the beginning," says Azolt CEO Angus Chang. "But it is not our goal for the brand."
Azolt is seeing how Razer was able to build their brand and notoriety in a relatively short amount of time and is hoping to follow suit by taking a similar path as the PC gaming giant.
"At the beginning of Razer, they were using same technology (half-mechanical) for their keyboards. They call this technology dome-switch," explains Chang. "However, they are selling mechanical switch keyboard from 2010 after one year (from 2009) testing and negotiation with their OEM Taiwanese manufacturer."
Chang says Azolt got the information from Razer's OEM manufacturer "...since we will also produce a true mechanical keyboard with German Cherry mechanical switch from same Razer’s manufacturer."
Azolt's gCrusader and gReformer, two of the company's five keyboards are, also come from a "big brand" (Thermaltake) OEM manufacturer.
The above quotes came from email correspondences with Chang and give an overview of some of what Azolt is about, but to dig deeper we decided a formal Q&A was in order. Without further ado, find out what Azolt is about and why they believe they'll be able to take on Razer and join the other PC gaming peripheral giants.
GeekNifty: Where did the motivation to found Azolt come about?
Angus Chang: It was because our co-founders are also teenagers. We are games and gadgets enthusiasts. In our studying period, we also took some courses related to gaming. We now graduated with few years and trying to look for a job to reach our idea for the gaming. However, it isn't easy work but we have gotten a lot of relationship for the business from our previous jobs. Then one day, we thought that we should start our own business with our own ideas. We are loving to create new things and broken the old rules. You may find this concept at the name of our brand. Azolt, the O and L are representing the 0 (zero) and 1 (one) but they are sorting by 0 to 1. In fact, they are sorting by 1 to 0 when you watch on the keyboard. Due to we want to break the old rules and bring more creative gadgets for our user. That is where our motivation come from.
GN: You compare yourselves to Razer quite a bit. Do you see them as something to aspire to become like or a giant to slain?
AC: In our dream, we are actually trying to become the best of the best. If we don't have this concept in our mind then our products will never be the best in this field. It will prove that our ideas are weak and we should get back to a normal job and don't have any dream again. We don't want that to become true.
GN: In a market defined by fierce brand loyalty, how can a newer company such as Azolt hope to compete?
AC: Yes, it is very fierce in the market. Especially we are lacking of money to reach our ideas. Moreover, the market is changing very fast and our idea may be reached by other competitors. However, we are trying to serve our customers by honesty and quality of our products. We currently are not a very big company so we can serve our each customer carefully and [are] trying to get the 100 enthusiasts for our brand.
GN: What is Azolt doing differently that other PC gaming peripheral companies such as Razer and Logitech not doing?
AC: One of our co-founders, they are a manufacturer to produce keyboard for other brands. They have a lot of experience in keyboard production so we are not starting from zero. They are getting a lot of experience with other brands' customers, so why we would like to say that we are serving our customers by honesty and quality of our products. If you say Razer and Logitech have a lot of experience in [the] keyboards field, then I would like to say we have they both experience and the experience of production since they just need the OEM service. Moreover, we have a lot of relationship in the keyboard manufacturing field. We are able to get the first-hand information from them, for example, what technology Razer and Logitech are using and what can we do to improve our technology.
GN: There are a number of gamers who think that a gaming keyboard isn't actually a gaming keyboard unless is it fully mechanical. What is your view on this?
AC: We cannot reject their opinion. We are caring each opinion from the user. We are thinking that gaming is a relaxing activity to let people release their stress from the job. However, what do you think if gaming equipment increases your economic stress? Moreover, we also need to care [about] the middle and beginning level user. There are a lot of childrenand teenager without a good economic capacity. Some people just playgames on their spare time and gaming is not their full-time job. By the way, we are also developing full mechanical gaming keyboard for the high-end market.
GN: What is your message to PC gamers as a whole?
AC: We think that the keyboard is not important in the future to gaming after you look at the gaming technology development. The VR technology is coming into our life so it is the time for us to make some changes. However, we are happy to see that since it is matching our ideas for the coming gadgets and more changes mean more chance to us.
GN: Why should PC gamers (whether novice or veteran) consider the Azolt line over others, both budget-oriented and top-tier oriented?
AC: In our mind, we believe that honesty and quality of products are very important to seize the loyalty of users. Moreover,honesty is built from time and people, and quality is built from experience. We have known some brands that are not using the mechanical switch but it is still in their promotions with the mechanical switch. We don't do that to cheat our users. It is despicable promotion skill. We have the great experience from other brands. We are trying to bring these experiences into our products and services to serve our customers honestly. Also, our customers will leave us easily and our brand will be disappeared if the two things haven't built up at the beginning.
Azolt's products including its gCrusader and gReformer keyboards and gLauncher keyboard/mouse combo can be found at a variety of online retailers including Newegg.com and Amazon.com with prices ranging from $44-70 USD.
The above Q&A was edited for grammatical purposes only. The content remained unchanged.