An increasingly unfocused Razer has announced that it is leaving the game key resale business and closing down its own-brand Game Store site, less than a year after it launched with great fanfare.
While best known for its gaming peripherals business, Razer has been spending several years attempting to diversify its interests: The company has designed and released laptops, smartphones, monitors, virtual reality headsets, launched its own music distribution platform, and even partnered on smart lighting for cars and ill-advised cryptocurrency mining software.
The Razer Game Store launched in April 2018, and company co-founder and chief executive Min-Liang Tan was clear about its reason for existing: 'As gamers, we know the importance of a good deal and the Razer Game Store delivers that to everyone,' he claimed at the time. ''We have been delighting gamers with our high-performing peripherals, laptops, and software, and we're now also able to provide the content itself that fuels their passion.'
The Razer Game Store, however, was not a digital distribution platform: Instead, it resold keys valid for redemption on third-party platforms including Valve's Steam and Ubisoft's Uplay, while offering discounts, vouchers, and a cryptocurrency-based reward system which could be spent on additional games or hardware from Razer's web store as incentives for players to buy via Razer rather than direct.
Less than a year on, though, and Razer's calling time on the project. 'We regret to announce that Razer Game Store will cease operations on February 28, 2019 at 0100hrs Pacific Time as part of the company’s realignment plans,' a message posted to the site reads. 'It has been a privilege for us to recommend and deliver great digital game deals to you. We have been extremely fortunate to have you as part of our awesome community. Thank you for the support and making all this possible.'
While Razer has indicated that pre-orders will be honoured, the company's move is unlikely to be welcomed by those who used the company's Razer Gold cryptocurrency as a stored-value wallet. 'I topped up my Razer Gold to buy games on the Razer Game Store. What can I do with them?', an entry in the FAQ for the closure reads. 'There are plenty of ways to unlock great content with your Razer Gold,' Razer's response claims, pointing those with outstanding Razer Gold balances to the Razer Gold Catalogue site as a way to spend those coins - seemingly ignoring the fact that the site offers little other than conversion of Razer Gold to in-game currency in a variety of mostly eastern massively multiplayer online games. Refunds for Razer Gold balances have not been discussed.
Razer has not issued a statement on its reason for closing the store, nor detailed whether its 'realignment plans' will see the same happen to its music distribution platform and other non-core business units.
February 27 2020 | 11:00