Update: A SteelSeries representative sent us the following in an email asking why the price had been reduced so soon after the initial release.
“The response of this product coming out of CES was incredibly positive, [but] the largest concern was with the price set at $99.99 MSRP. Our goal with the Stratus goes beyond just selling a controller; it’s really about helping to define a new platform. We want to see that succeed and took initiative immediately after CES to find ways where we could improve the odds of that success by lower[ing] the price. The outcome is that our team was able to work with our partners to bring the cost for the consumer down to $79.99.”
Original Post: Well, it looks like the price wars have begun in earnest. SteelSeries’ Stratus is now $79.99, instead of the $99.99 it launched for at CES. If you pre-ordered this at the older price, you’re in luck: SteelSeries will honor the new, lower cost for all pre-orders.
The Stratus is available at this new, lower price at Apple retail stores as well as on the SteelSeries website.
How did the company manage this feat? Speaking with competitor Signal, maker of the full-sized RP One iOS game controller, we learned that quality isn’t cheap, sue to the cost of components and testing. SteelSeries says it worked with its manufacturing partners to attain the cheaper price.
“Working diligently with our suppliers to lower the MSRP, which we believe will help welcome a new world of gamers into this exciting space, allows us to stay true to our roots and provide consumers everywhere an exceptional value,” said SteelSeries Founder Jacob Wolff-Petersen in a press release.
Which says to me that, at least for this company, the price point was already somewhat high if they could manage to drop $20 per unit off the retail cost. The biggest complaint about all the announced iOS 7 game controllers has been the price–so far, all the announced products retail for $100. Some gamers have gone so far as to assume Apple has set the hight prices, though this proves different.
So, here it is, then, the first salvo in a longer conflict. With Logitech, Moga, Signal, and SteelSeries all fighting a battle to win the hearts and wallets of iOS gaming consumers, it’s only a matter of time until we see them all compete on price.
The commoditization of computing peripherals is ancient history in the PC world, with high-end mice and keyboards a luxury afforded by only the most passionate gamers. The rest of us make do with the less expensive stuff at the big box store.
Perhaps SteelSeries felt that the only way to move product to the most consumers was to drop the price, as they already claim the Stratus to be a highly accurate precision controller for any iOS 7 controller-enabled iOS device.
We’ve reached out to the SteelSeries team for comment and will update as necessary.