NOTE: Back in October 2016, I wrote an article entitled ‘Kickstarter & The Mechanical Keyboard Industry’. I’ve now revived that article and am writing a follow-up that is now open to other crowdfunding sites. Let us begin!
Crowdfunding is a great idea if you can get enough backers. Sites such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo and various other sites lend themselves to making people’s dreams come true. The mechanical keyboard industry is becoming more prevalent nowadays with the rise of e-sports on its various platforms, as well as all of the newbies coming into PC gaming. On Indiegogo for instance, back in August, Azio finished a campaign for a “Luxury Mechanical Keyboard” – This raised $286,803 overall and was 1833% funded – That’s pretty high and proves there is a demand for surreal, more artisan style mechanical keyboards.
A brand new addition to this is the “X-Bows Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard” that takes a new stance on layout and uses a more ergonomically designed layout as shown is both the name and the pictures. It’s got 17 days to go and has received CA$148,915 (£89,400 approx) so far. This looks promising! (See here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1917596122/x-bows-mechanical-ergonomic-keyboard#)
The Das Keyboard 5Q we talked about last year is now open for preorders from their website. It does actually not use CHERRY MX switches but uses Gamma Zulus from Omron and is $229.99 on Das Keyboard’s website (See here: https://shop.daskeyboard.com/collections/all-mechanical-keyboards/products/das-keyboard-5q).
The Wooting One from last year is now commercially available and after a series of shipping and manufacturing mishaps that were detailed on their YouTube channel is now sold out! Shipments start again next month so it might be worth trying to get your hands on one for either €159.99 (Basic) or €199.99 (Premium) (See here:https://shopint.wooting.nl/wooting-one-basic.html). In GBP, the Basic is approximately £143 and the Premium is approximately £179.
On the other hand, the Protean Reactive RGB Gaming Keyboard with screen got cancelled by its creator and never got funded. Kicktraq states it only got around £20,000 of its £150,000 goal before it was cancelled which is a bit of a shame really. There was potential in the idea but it obviously didn’t work out, and so the creator cancelled the idea. It would have been pretty interesting really. That really goes to show that crowdfunding doesn’t always work and that in some instances, it was just down to putting ideas into practice. They said in a comment that it wasn’t aimed at the right group of people. It was meant to be aimed at gamers, but turned out to be more at the programmers and software users (Photoshop etc). They expected an overlap of target markets but this didn’t occur and they got a lot of negative press. Here is the last we heard from Archtor on the matter:
Thank you to everyone for the great support in backing the project. After reviewing feedback and discussing with the community we have decided that for the time being it would be best to cancel the funding efforts. We are still very committed to delivering great peripherals and so we will be back. You can stay in touch with us through any of our social media channels or sign up to our newsletter via the link below for further updates and input into Protean.
We value your input so please do get in touch if you have anything to add.
A bit of a sad story to end really, but the same could be said for the Ouya if anybody remembers that. The 8th best funded project in Kickstarter history, hyped up like crazy and received $3.7 million in two days. It flopped essentially and the lack of sales forced the business into administration and then to be sold to Razer in 2015 who discontinued the Ouya and so, it has been branded a commercial failure Who knows if the Protean could have ended up in the same way?
A journey of ups and downs really is the world of crowdfunding. Fantastic for many but disastrous for others. The mechanical keyboard section reflects this perfectly really.