Tom's Hardware: From day one, Roccat did all the product design on its own. Why is that?
René Korte: Like I mentioned, Roccat products offer features that really help people to get better in their games or that improve your gaming experience. This is what separates Roccat peripherals from the stuff our competitors build. But the only way to make sure our products have those features, and even more important, have them working flawlessly, is to build the products on our own. Scratch to shelf. You cannot rely on external guys that don’t care about your company and don’t care about gaming. Here at Roccat everyone has a passion for gaming, and it’s this passion that makes the company and our products really unique. We also wanted to keep this knowledge in the company, because Roccat never was meant to be a nine days’ wonder. Evolution is only possible if we build something inside the company that can be developed independently, without starting from scratch all the time with external agencies, or manufacturers that are only copying instead of innovating.
Tom's Hardware: Let’s get back to the Kone. How long did it take to have it on store shelves, and what problems did you face during the development process?
René Korte: We started with a team of six people. Most of them are still working here at Roccat. We did countless sketches, 3D renderings, and shape models to find the perfect design. What we did not do on our own was the software and electronics, and that was a big mistake. What we saw here did not fit our needs, so we decided to start working on that ourselves, too. That was after more than 12 months of work. Imagine that; we hadn’t earned one dollar up until then. That could have been the end of Roccat, but we decided to start all over again, and it was the absolute right decision. Times back then were crazy. We still have one guy working here who tested the first 60,000 Kone mice with his hands, to make sure the sensor was working correctly. We also always had huge support from the gaming community, and that’s also something that helped us getting through rough times.
Tom's Hardware: Today, Roccat is an established company. How do you stay in touch with the gaming community, and are there still connections to eSports?
René Korte: Roccat has its roots in eSports, and we will always stick to that. The feedback from more than 100 professional gamers influenced the shape of the Kone, for example. Danny Soerensen, one of the best professional FPS players ever, is a Roccat brand ambassador. We support many tournaments, events, and teams in eSports. We get feedback from professional gamers frequently, and knowing their needs is essential for our product development. But we also listen to the average user, of course. The Kone is the only mouse that has been improved over so many years, based on the feedback of our customers. We received so many requests for colors or certain features during the last five years, that we decided that now the time has come to let some of them become reality.
So, the first special edition to celebrate this anniversary will be the Roccat Kone Pure Color. We created five awesome designs, including the original Kone Pure, and they will be available within the next weeks.