A Mouse Shouldn't Need an Internet Connection to Work Properly (Updated, It Doesn't)

Illustration for article titled A Mouse Shouldn't Need an Internet Connection to Work Properly (Updated, It Doesn't)

A mouse is a fundamental part of every desktop computer. It should just work, at all times. Odd, then, that Razer's high-end Naga gaming mouse does exactly the opposite, requiring an internet connection if you're going to stand any chance of using it.


Update: Razer has gotten in touch to explain:

The first time a player starts up Synapse 2.0, he/she is asked to create an account. Once registered, Synapse 2.0 works offline and never needs to be online again, provided users check the "stay logged in" box. Synapse 2.0 then works regardless of internet connection, as settings are saved on the client PC and are not synced to the cloud. We recognize that the offline mode may not be obvious to the user and will be taking steps to allow users to enable it manually.

It has a longer statement, too, which you can read here.

A forum member over at Overclock.net has been explaining the problems he's been having with his shiny new $80 gaming mouse. From the posting:

This really took me by surprise. Just bought a new Naga 2012 mouse, installed the software and get greeted by a login screen right after. No option to bypass it to use the software to configure the mouse, set the options, sensitivity, shortcuts, macros etc.

So I go ahead and create an account and try to log in. Nothing. Try several more times, and still nothing. Try to make new accounts with different email addresses and it still wont work.

Finally call Razer who tells me the activation server is down, and I wont be able to use the mouse until it goes back up and will only be able to use it as a standard plug and play mouse til then. I ask about a workaround to use the mouse offline and they say there is none. Supposedly once the mouse is activated on the computer offline mode will work, but it needs to upload my profile and activate my account first and since their server is down its not going to happen. I ask for a supervisor to confirm this is the case and ask again for a workaround to use it offline. He said sorry theres nothing they can do, tells me the call center is closing and hangs up on me.

In fact, it turns out that Razer is using a cloud-based version of Synapse to run some of the mouse's functions. To use the online portion though, you need to register the mouse online—which is impossible if Razer's servers are down. Not just that, though: lose your internet connection and you lose the features powered by the online version of the software, including all the scriptable extra buttons and functions that are the mouse's primary selling point. (Update: Actually, if you lose Internet connectivity, Razer peripherals automatically go into offline mode, and all user settings are synced to the user's computer.)

TechDirt suggests the same problem afflicts Razer's new gaming keyboards, and that any workaround using a downloaded version of the cloud-based Synapse software is infuriatingly complex. A mouse that needs an internet connection to get working is, clearly, a bit of a pain in the ass. [Overclock.net via TechDirt]




I'm sorry, but in context of the update (Which is the kind of thing that you'd think this kind of story could have waited on hearing from the manufacturer first, it's not exactly world shaking news, and considering the Naga's been around for years, I'd be surprised if it's something that qualifies as new information), this is a pretty dopey article. Let me preface by noting I have no real bias towards Razer (I've never owned one of their products and while I plan on getting an MMO mouse soon, I'm leaning Logitech's instead based on design preference), but to complain about the necessity of an online component to set up a MMO gaming mouse (Key initial being the ONLINE part) is bordering on ludicrous.

I'm all for jumping on the "let's complain about a company and things that sound like DRM and yadda yadda yadda" bandwagon, but seriously, pick your battles. It just seems unreasonable to get all huffy about something that quite simply boils down to the necessity of an online connection to set up a mouse that was specifically designed for online gaming. It's like "OMG, my internet connection is down, how am I going to program the mouse I bought to play World of Warcraft?!"

And yes, I know the update's put right at the top, but frankly the article shouldn't have even been put up without getting word from the manufacturer. Even from the typically lower journalistic standard of blogging (Versus print journalism) that's irresponsible and half-assed, especially considering the extremely high readership of this site. I'm not generally one to defend a large corporation, but you're hurting business for a manufacturer by posting such a hastily put together article that was thrown up here with only half of the relevant information.