This Billion Dollar Company is Entering the Live-Streaming Business
Razer, which is valued at $1 billion by analysts, is entering the live-streaming business with its Stargazer webcam.
The camera has been optimized for today’s video game streamers, who use channels like YouTube and Amazon-owned Twitch to play the latest video games. It also supports 1080p high definition gameplay running at 60 frames per second (compared to the 720p and 30 frames per second of standard webcams). The $200 camera will ship in Q2.
“We see the Razer Stargazer as an incredible tool for all game streamers and broadcasters. Twitch alone announced this year that it has more than 1.5 million broadcasters, and YouTube has over a billion users—a large percentage of that is dedicated to posting ‘let’s play’ videos,” says Min-Liang Tan, the company’s co-founder and CEO. “All these people are directly going to benefit from the feature-set of our highly advanced webcam.”
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The webcam includes Intel RealSense tracking technology, which has multiple gaming uses. It’s Dynamic Background Removal feature also allows broadcasters to remove background imagery so their small picture-in-picture box overlays seamlessly atop the larger gameplay window. The device’s tracking technology detects emotion by reading the streamer’s face, which can be coupled with FaceRead software to allow for any real-time avatar that appears on screen to mimic the streamer.
Razer is working with game developers to integrate the new webcam into upcoming game releases, including virtual reality titles.
“The Razer Stargazer lets people use their hands and faces to naturally reach out into these virtual worlds,” Tan says. “When people experience how seamless and effortless it is, it’s going to revolutionize gaming again.”
Tan believes there are a limitless number of opportunties for Razer Stargazer and virtual reality in the enterprise market.
“We could see shared VR experiences, whereby two people wearing VR headsets with the Stargazer mounted, can have their faces and hands scanned into the same space, perhaps [even] a new way to interact in a board meeting,” she explains. “We’re working with a wide range of developers on fun experiences for all kinds of VR users.”
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Razer organized the Open Source Virtual Reality (OSVR) platform last year, which works with dozens of companies to ensure technology and hardware works across Facebook’s Oculus Rift, Sony’s PlayStation VR, the HTC Vive and other virtual reality devices.
Meanwhile, in addition to showcasing its first PC through its partnership with Lenovo, Razer is also debuting its new Razer Blade Stealth laptop at CES 2016.
The Ultrabook is thinner than both the MacBook Air 13 and Dell XPS 14, supports 4K resolution, and features Razer’s programmable chroma keyboard. Pricing ranges from $1,000 to $1,600.
Tan says its partnership with Lenovo is focused on creating Razer editions of some of Lenovo’s Y Series products. However, both brands will continue to create and market products outside of the partnership under their respective brands.
The Razer Core—an external desktop that connects with the Stealth—was also on display at the trade show, but pricing for the device was not announced. Both the Blade Stealth and Core will be sold separately online at the Razer Store, hit most retail stores in January before debuting at the Microsoft Store in February.
Additionally, the company’s first smartwatch, the Nabu Watch, also made its debut at the trade show and available now for $150. The digital watch includes a secondary screen that delivers discreet notifications, offers fitness tracking, and provides watch-to-watch communication.