One Keyboard to Rule Them All? A Gaming Startup’s Rise To Glory
How a 23 year old PC Gamer turned a meme, into a mousepad, into a multi-million dollar startup success.
The battle lines were drawn long ago. Blood has been spilt. Spirits have been broken. But out of the fog of war, a new hero emerges.
PC Gamers vs Console Gamers. It’s a tech-war thats been raging for decades now. And thanks to our beloved & vibrant meme culture, naturally things have started getting personal. Its evolved (maybe devolved is a better word?) into a brawl between “PC Master Race elitists” versus their “Filthy Console Peasants” counterparts. Each side hurling jabs across gaming forums and social media comment sections.
But recently, one young gaming devotee has somehow managed to turn this tongue-in-cheek meme battle, into a highly successful gaming industry startup. And with a line of hardware & accessories that have already made its way into the “battlestations” of over a million PC gamers across the world, while going toe to toe against some mammoth competitors – the “Glorious PC Gaming Race” army is growing formidable.
In reality, most video game players will concede every platform has its merits. Many play games across multiple devices themselves. But die-hards on both sides of the table will defend their preferred tech to the death before admitting it.
Shazim Mohammad (known by the handle “Pirate” within some online circles), founder of Glorious PC Gaming Race, was one such PC gaming devotee. Living in Dallas Texas, a reputed member in the a frequenter of the controversially named, but tight knit Reddit gaming community /r/PCMasterRace, Shazim considered himself a true blood PC gamer through and through.
“What tech battle? There's no contest…PC gaming is superior in just about every way.” he says with just a hint of smirk on his face.
If anybody doubts his aversion to consoles, Pirate had established his roots in the console "modding" community, hacking them apart into portable, self-contained laptops.
And like every enthusiast PC Gamer, Pirate prided himself on building the perfect gaming “battlestation”. One of the major benefits of PC versus gaming consoles like Playstation or Xbox, is the ability to customize every aspect of your gaming experience to your exact personal specifications. A PC gamer can assemble the perfect ensemble of hardware and accessories, crafted to fit their gaming preferences, visual aesthetic, & budget.
But Shazim had a problem. The year was 2014, and he couldn’t actually find the perfect set of gaming hardware and accessories for his preferences and budget. Turns out, they didn’t exist. Many products were too expensive. Others were cheaper, but low quality. Some too flashy, or shoved their branding obnoxiously in your face. And nobody offered the accessories designed exactly as he and his fellow “Glorious” PC gaming compatriots wanted to use them.
What's a young, driven guy nicknamed Pirate to do, but take on the daunting task of doing something about it?
At age 23, Shazim already had started to flex his natural entrepreneurial & creative drive. He’d previously launched a website dedicated to his PS3 console hacks, developed his own iOS games, and has been published for some incredible custom PC modifications - so starting a new venture didn’t scare him. But he had an uphill battle to fight.
One of Shazim's Modded PCs - featured on Engadget.com
He envisioned a gaming company that was created specifically to cater to the dedicated PC gamer who demanded more. He wanted to create the perfect set of competitive gaming products, and sell them at a price cost-conscious millennials like himself could actually afford. He would go head to head against the massive corporate giants like Razer, Corsair, and SteelSeries – by staying true to his roots & passion. His customers would be people who see gaming as more than just a hobby – it's a part of their lives.
Thus, Glorious PC Gaming Race was born. A homage to the meme he’d grown fond of, and the die-hard PC gamers he’d cater to.
The company with a funky name and Greek god inspired logo took off like wildfire. Since inception, GPCGR has already generated millions in sales, gaining commendable market share against major competitors, while building a community of devoted followers.
“Our name, and the meme its born from, is part of our core brand identity. It was risky – but we wanted people to know we’re not just a gaming company, we’re a dedicated PC gaming company, and will always be a PC gaming company. We want our customers to feel like they’re a part of a truly special community of people who share their interests.” Shazim says, “Some people don’t get it. But that’s okay, we wouldn’t be where we are now without it. If anything it keeps things fun, and helps us stand out from the crowd”
And so far, the gamble paid off. Their connection with gaming communities like the one on Reddit fueled their rapid growth. Self proclaimed members of the “Glorious PC Gaming Race” eager to support the only company willing to call the Filthy Console Peasants out for their misdeeds.
Surprisingly, GPCGR's rocketship to success all started with a mouse pad. Of course mouse pads already existed - but nobody was making them quite big enough for an avid gamer. So Shazim made a big one. Then a bigger one. And an even bigger one. Their introductory line of oversized gaming mousepads were a huge hit – and quickly became one of the top selling gaming mousepads on the market.
Next they added the "perfect gaming wrist rest" into the mix. An eloquent blend of comfort, support, and style, designed to help protect players' wrists from repetitive stress injury during extended gaming sessions.
More recently, the company launched the product that would really put them in the big leagues. Inspired by his PC Modding roots, Shazim unveiled GPCGR’s flagship product - the world’s first Modular Mechanical RGB Gaming Keyboard, aptly called “Glorious”.
The mechanical gaming keyboard – which incorporates switches with actual moving parts opposed to the standard modern “membrane” keyboard – has become an essential part of every serious PC gamer’s battlestation. Some gamers like the customizable responsiveness of mechanical switches, while others just like that satisfying nostalgic “clickity clack” missing from membrane boards.
The Glorious "GMMK" keyboard was birthed out of necessity. Previously, most mechanical boards came pre installed with a specific type of switch. These switches, often differential by color codes, such as the “Cherry MX Red”, or “Kailh Blue”, differentiate the “feel” and responsiveness of each keystroke. And it was very difficult to change them once you bought a board.
The high quality boards also tended to be very expensive. The cheaper boards were, well...cheap. And many of them tended to be covered in ugly manufacturer branding.
The Glorious "GMMK" solved all that. With an innovative competition-grade design that allows users to swap out switches in a matter of seconds – it’s the first truly modular board on the market. Gamers are now able to mix, match, and test any compatible combination of switches and key-caps they want. Its built with ultra-high quality materials, and sold (mostly online) at a very reasonable price - with minimum visible branding (aside from a signature “Ascend” button).
“There were hundreds of options for keyboards out there already. But we wanted to make the perfect keyboard”.
And so they have, it seems. The keyboard has been a massive success. Taking off within both gaming circles and mechanical keyboard enthusiast groups, and selling tens of thousands of units already – its put GPCGR on the map as more than just a gimmick. But this is just the beginning for the company. GPGCR says it has several more exciting products planned for launch in the near future - including its innovative Trident headphones holder.
“Our mousepad was a first. Our Keyboard was a first. And we’re constantly talking to gamers to find new ways to innovate and make their experience better. People are starting to take us seriously, and and more of them are joining our community every day. If they haven’t heard of us yet, they will - we have big things coming.”
The PC vs Console war will almost certainly rage on for a long time to come. It will be exciting to watch how this young startup success, and its Glorious PC Gaming Race army has a hand of it. Watch out Filthy Console Peasants.
Glorious products can be found through their website pcgamingrace.com, amazon.com, newegg.com, and in a select few speciality retail stores.