Turtle Beach received its first MCV Award for best peripherals and accessories in 2012 and went on to win every year from 2014. During our annual retail survey last December, Turtle Beach was also named the No.1 peripherals manufacturer by retailers – for the third consecutive year. We catch up with the firm’s EU communications director Keith Hennessey (pictured right at the MCV Awards 2017, with Nick Forder).
You were presented with the MCV Award for Best Peripherals and Accessories for the fifth time earlier this year – what sets Turtle Beach apart from other accessories firms?
First and foremost, it helps that we were the first to market, having virtually created the console gaming headset category years back. We’re also constantly listening to gamers and asking what they want from a gaming headset, and then trying to ensure these features are incorporated into our products.
Another big factor that sets us apart is our broad portfolio. We make a gaming headset for everyone. Lastly, Turtle Beach is known for innovating in the space – developing features to help gamers have a better experience, to win more, and so on.
What other successes have you met recently?
Our focus on eSports has been a big success for us. Last year we launched our Elite Pro line of gear tailored for today’s generation of eSports athletes and hardcore gamers. That’s led us to being able to partner with and be the gaming headset of choice for large and influential eSports players, teams and organisations like OpTiC Gaming. We really took our time to get the products right and ensure they would make an impact for pro players.
Turtle Beach's £169.99 Elite Pro Tournament Gaming Headset
What trends are currently affecting your business?
The same challenges that face many businesses, really – how to keep things fresh and differentiate ourselves from the competition. The sector has grown massively in the last few years and many companies, including the first parties, now have their own audio offerings. So we have to learn to adapt and offer something that no one else does, which is why we focus on consistently delivering a best-in-class game/chat audio experience, and being first to market with innovative and new features like Superhuman Hearing.
Where do you reckon the market is heading?
The gaming headset space is constantly evolving, with new tech and new consoles being introduced at a faster rate than ever before. It’s important to keep on top of things and adapt our product range to best take advantage of that new tech. We pride ourselves in being first to market on most things when it comes to gaming audio. In terms of where it’s going – it’s exciting with the likes of Dolby Atmos and with VR finding its feet – it’s clear audio will become an even bigger part of the gaming experience than it already is.
What’s your assessment of the market right now?
It’s competitive, there’s no doubt about it. We’ve just seen Mad Catz, a major player in the industry for years, go out of business and there are lots of companies fighting it out for their respective market share. However, on the upside, competition tends to breed innovation, which is a good thing for all. We certainly keep an eye on what is coming from our competitors, but ultimately try to ensure our products offer something unique to gamers at every level and at every price point.
Turtle Beach's ID
Key contact: UK sales director Nick Forder (pictured top, far right), email@example.com
Location: San Diego, New York, Mexico, Basingstoke
Headcount: 130 worldwide, 22 in the UK
Key products: Headsets for all platforms and budgets, from entry level chat headsets to professional grade eSports gear