Is it a phone? Or maybe a tablet with removable gamepads kind of like a Nintendo Switch? No one really knows, but Razer has been rumored to be working on a mobile gaming gaming device for quite some time now, and according to a new interview between CNBC and Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan, it seems like that might actually happen.
In addition to its range of gaming PCs and peripherals, Razer has become known for its far out gaming concepts such as the Project Valerie triple-screen laptop, the Project Christine modular PC, and Project Fiona gaming tablet. But aside from the Fiona, none of those concepts ever made it to retail, which is a big reason why all the whispers about a rumored Razer mobile gaming device were so hard to believe. Rumors hit a fever pitch in January when Razer bought the Nextbit Robin smartphone brand.
If you look at Razer’s portfolio, a dedicated gaming device makes a lot of sense. Razer has the PC side of things covered, and the company has dabbled in things like smart watches and fitness bands before. But for people who want to take their games on the go, the cheapest thing Razer currently offers is a $1400 ultraportable notebook, which doesn’t even actually have that much gaming cred on its own since the system doesn’t have a discrete graphics card.
There are a lot of ways Razer could go on a mobile gaming device. With the rise of smartphone gaming, Razer could shoot for an updated take on Sony’s Xperia Play phone, which was a neat idea, but way ahead of its time. Or Razer could refine its Project Fiona concept from 2012 and make a portable gaming tablet with removable controllers made for playing PC games via Steam or GOG on the go.
Yet there is a wrinkle that could prevent Razer’s upcoming mobile gaming whatever from ever seeing the light of day. In the same interview with CNBC, Tan talked about Razer’s plans to go public sometime later this year. Tan said that “Having that war chest from the IPO would allow us to [invest in R&D] and much more. And that’s what we want to continue doing: to make cool products.”
This suggests that if the IPO doesn’t generate enough money for the company, Razer may not want to use its newfound capital to build a potentially risky mobile gaming device. But if it does happen, Tan said he’s hoping that the company will have something to show by the end of the year. I’m willing to give him an extra two weeks (so generous, I know), but if we don’t hear about anything by the time CES 2018 wraps up, it might be time to put to rest your dreams of a Razer version of the Switch.