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Five Years Of Kone: Interview With Roccat CEO René Korte

Five Years Of Kone: Interview With Roccat CEO René Korte
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“Building the perfect gaming mouse is joy and pain.”

Roccat founder and CEO René Korte speaks with Tom’s Hardware about the process of building one of the world’s most successful lines of gaming mice. Before founding Roccat, he was a vice president of Razer in Europe. Prior to that, René worked for media companies like AOL and Computec. He also co-founded and managed one of the most successful professional gaming teams ever: mTw. René decided to start his own company in 2007, and six years later, Roccat is now one of the top manufacturers of gaming peripherals with products retailing in more than 70 countries worldwide.

Roccat's Rene KorteRoccat's Rene Korte

Tom's Hardware: René, Roccat is celebrating the Kone's fifth-year anniversary this year. What does this product mean for Roccat, and to you personally?

René Korte: The Roccat Kone is the one product it all started with, and it remains our core product today. The Kone Series embodies the Roccat philosophy, that we are always trying to improve the gamer’s experience or to make people better players.

Overall, the Kone is a huge success story for Roccat. Although we had some bumps along the way, we learned from them, and ultimately improved gamers’ experience as a result. For me personally, five years of Kone means almost seven years of Kone. We started developing the first Kone right after I founded Roccat. At the time, we simply weren’t satisfied with most of the gaming peripherals on the market. So, we decided to do it better. We had been working on the very first version of the Kone for more than a year when we realized we were traveling on a dead-end street. We decided to start all over again, so my time with the Kone is one of a lot of joy with a few growing pains along the way.

Tom's Hardware: What was it that made you build your own gaming mouse? Which features couldn’t you find with other mice back then?

René Korte: Back then, I was still active in professional gaming. So, I had first-hand information of the problems players had with the existing peripherals. For example, the shape of the mice that were available sucked nine out of 10 times. The ergonomics were weak. Roccat was also the first company to solve some of the problems with laser sensors on different surfaces with the TDCU. Customization through lighting effects was something Roccat invented too, so there was a lot to improve on. All of those things were, and still are, meant to make people better gamers. It’s not about what’s possible technically. Our features improve your gaming or your gaming experience.

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  • 0 Hide
    merikafyeah , March 4, 2013 4:22 AM
    If only the scroll-wheel on my MX-518 was more durable, I would consider it the best 5-button mouse in existence. Right now it's still usable, but the scroll-wheel is now "loose". By that I mean, sometimes the scroll will register before the wheel fully "clicks" to the next position. Afaik this cannot be fixed.

    At least it doesn't have that "single-clicks registering as double-clicks" issue many other gaming mice nowadays seem to suffer from every now and then.
  • -2 Hide
    slomo4sho , March 4, 2013 6:22 AM
    Call me misinformed but this is the first time I have heard of this company...
  • 4 Hide
    dark_knight33 , March 4, 2013 7:40 AM
    slomo4shoCall me misinformed but this is the first time I have heard of this company...


    Roccat is a German company. They likely have a larger presence in Europe than the states. I have heard of the brand, but never seen any of their products at retail.

    Some of the mice look pretty similar to Logitech MX series. That's not to say Roccat copied them, I'm sure there are only so many ways to shape a mouse. Rather, I mean unless you are pretty picky, or want a certain feature Roccat has, it's likely they aren't a big in the US because Logitech & Razer are already serving the market well.
  • 0 Hide
    merikafyeah , March 4, 2013 8:44 AM
    BTW, AnandTech wrote a favorable review on Roccat's latest Kone mice:
    http://www.anandtech.com/show/6802/capsule-review-roccats-kone-xtd-and-kone-pure-gaming-mice

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16826436016
  • 0 Hide
    Marcus52 , March 4, 2013 10:01 AM
    Roccat's mice do have a lot of respect and if you ask people what their fav mouse is in a gaming forum, they will get their share of mentions. I recently considered one myself when looking at mice better suited to FPS gaming than my WoW MMORPG mouse made by Steelseries. I decided to go with a R.A.T. 7 and I'm glad I did, it is the best mouse I've owned so far. I don't think I would have been disappointed with a Roccat device though. The customization possibilities of the R.A.T. won me over, and they made it possible for me to fit it to my hand, which is fabulous. :) 

    I didn't go with another Steelseries, even though their FPS-oriented mice have a good reputation amongst gamers, because the quality of the WoW mice wasn't up to my standards. I don't mind paying a premium price for a premium peripheral that will last for years, and while the WoW mice I have still function okay, okay isn't really good enough, the left and right-click buttons were not consistent on the 2 mice I have, and the finish is poor on both of them.
  • 0 Hide
    emdea , March 4, 2013 11:57 AM
    Five years of kane
  • 3 Hide
    gorz , March 4, 2013 10:11 PM
    The Roccat Kave is an awesome headset.
  • 0 Hide
    knowom , March 5, 2013 5:38 AM
    I don't see any real appeal for a Roccat mouse personally honestly my mouse options are pretty much between Logitech and Razor brand mouses or if Microsoft ever improved the original IntelliMouse with modern button features and modern dpi/poll rate settings while maintaining the comfort feel of the original I'd probably consider that given it was probably the most comfortable mouse I've used or come across that I can think of.

    What I'd really like to see more then anything is a modern track mouse from Logitech that's got the same high DPI and poll rate settings and ample button triggers and similar layout to it's gaming mouses.

    It's a shame how badly Logitech has neglected it's track mouse and Microsoft has the IntellMouse because they were both very good and well designed when they first launched, but badly need a product refreshment due to their ages because since the specs don't come remotely close to more modern specs.

    If Roccat wants to get my interest make a modern track mouse that's laser based with a high polling rate and high DPI and nice array of customizable buttons in a nice ergonomic layout.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , March 5, 2013 10:44 AM
    I have a few roccat items, the Isku keyboard which I think for me is a good keyboard little pricey though, the roccat Kave ture 5.1 headset hmm great sound big bass, although I found it uncomfortable after a short time the little square pads left dents in my head and a feeling of pressure pains where the pads sat on my head the mic is poor design and now I use desk mic because my friends tell me they hear buzzing and poor quality sound when using the headset mic the head set was around 3-weeks old at this point but I love the sound on this headset so much I just pulled off the pads and made my own more comfortable padding I would not advise this headset I was honest, I also own the roccat kone xtd mouse which I love, all my roccat items I bought to replace my razer items that I felt I was ripped off with as they felt more like kids toys build quality when compared to my roccat items. I've also owned logitek items (very good compay) along with razer and madcatz (cyborg rat 3 and rat 7mmo) but for me my money will always goto roccat from now on, I suppose other than the headset this company seems to know that the feel of the build quality is as important as the performance of the product, I just felt more happy that what I had on my desk felt more like what i'd expect for my money than what razer did. I would say roccat in my eyes is better than razer and equal to logitek for quality.. im not a razer hater (lol almost was after the arctosa experience poorest build quality keyboard not worth 50pence I have every tried to use) I still have my razer nostromo which I think is the dogz nutz but for the money i cant help feeling razer is highly over rated when compared to other gamming companys of late. im sticking with what I feel is worth its money and that's roccat , but be warned the kave headset needs roccat to rethink the padding and mic setup.
  • 0 Hide
    J3d1M1nD7r1cKs , March 8, 2013 6:27 AM
    I like their products! Looks like a good company to me! Please bring them to the us!

    And the I like the diversity in the products!
  • 0 Hide
    youssef 2010 , March 8, 2013 10:12 AM
    merikafyeahIf only the scroll-wheel on my MX-518 was more durable, I would consider it the best 5-button mouse in existence. Right now it's still usable, but the scroll-wheel is now "loose". By that I mean, sometimes the scroll will register before the wheel fully "clicks" to the next position. Afaik this cannot be fixed.At least it doesn't have that "single-clicks registering as double-clicks" issue many other gaming mice nowadays seem to suffer from every now and then.


    My Kone[+] had the same issue. There's a guide on YouTube that explains how to fix this using WD-40 and some duct tape. I used only the WD-40 and now my mouse feels good as new. Before the double click issue there was a problem with the scroll wheel of the mouse. The wheel would jitter and briefly scroll in the opposite direction. I initially e-mailed their tech support about this and, they told me it's a hardware issue and that I should replace my mouse. My new mouse started having the same issue after a while. I used a few drops of WD-40 and the issue never returned, even after a year and a half of usage.
  • 0 Hide
    youssef 2010 , March 8, 2013 10:23 AM
    I forgot to add that I bought a G9x for my other computer. Despite the hype I've heard about this mouse. I feel that more work went into the Kone[+]. Despite the issues I've had with the Kone[+], I don't think I'll be using any other brand of mice.

    I also own the Roccat Kave 5.1. This was my first gaming headphone and I still love everything about it. About the padding issue mentioned by "stevevnicks", I just cover my head before wearing the headset. This helps a lot. The Kave made me buy a soundcard for the first time in my life because I was experiencing interference with my on-board audio.

    Roccat is a great company. And clearly a lot of thought went into every one of their products. Some technologies like the EasyShift[+] and TDCU are unique to this company and I couldn't find something to match them
  • 0 Hide
    youssef 2010 , March 8, 2013 10:24 AM
    slomo4shoCall me misinformed but this is the first time I have heard of this company...


    I first heard of it when I was looking to buy my first gaming mouse