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Logitech device aimed at the $32 billion portable gaming market

Logitech, the $5 billion company best known for its everyday keyboards and mice, has a bold new product that’s a world away from its basic computing peripherals. Today, the company is announcing the G Cloud, a portable gaming device created specifically for playing cloud-based video games. Priced at $349, the device will start shipping in October.

The global handheld gaming device market was worth $32 billion in 2020, according to one analysis, and is expected to reach over $50 billion by 2027, with established players like Nintendo and Xbox driving growth. Logitech’s Ujesh Desai, who led the development of the G Cloud, says the game is about to have its Netflix moment, in which cloud-based games will be instantly accessible through a subscription to the platform, without Expensive game console or cartridges required. “The infrastructure is there,” he says. Logitech hopes to capitalize on the momentum.

[Photo: Logitech]

To that end, the G Cloud has a simple form factor, with a white plastic shell, over a dozen buttons and controls, and a 7-inch multi-touchscreen. Designed to be comfortable to play for long periods of time and for different sized hands, the device is lighter than others on the market and less bogged down by internal hardware. For the gaming equivalent of Netflix browsing and binging, the G Cloud tries to make starting and playing a game as easy as possible. “We support the Microsofts, the Googles, the Apples of the world. We respect their strengths and our job is to fill in the areas where we think we can add greater value,” says Desai. For its partnership with Microsoft in particular, Logitech defines the G Cloud as a natural companion to the Xbox Game Pass subscription service.

[Photo: Logitech]

Logitech is already familiar to gamers for Logitech G, its gaming-focused line of products, including headsets, controllers, genre-specific devices like racing wheels and heavy-equipment controls for gaming. farm simulation games. G Cloud is its first standalone device, and its first with a screen.

[Photo: Logitech]

Logitech isn’t the only company entering the rapidly evolving portable gaming space. With an increasing number of games accessible on mobile phones and through device-specific subscription services, handheld games took leaps and bounds from the 8-bit Nintendo Game Boy of the 1990s. Nintendo’s handheld, the Switch, has its own subscription service, and Nvidia’s GeForce NOW service makes PC gaming accessible across a wide range of devices a gamer has in their home or pocket. There’s also a range of add-on equipment that can turn a regular smartphone into an adaptable, if slightly clunky, gaming device. And Steam Deck is a new portable device that could be the closest direct competitor to Logitech’s G Cloud, with the ability to stream subscription service PC games, as well as games stored internally.

Logitech hopes consumers will see its new device as a more accessible take on those alternatives. Focusing specifically on cloud-based gaming, the G Cloud is smaller and lighter than the Steam Deck, and easier to use than add-on gear designed to turn smartphones into gaming devices.

[Photo: Logitech]

“Very, very early on, we said it was a handheld for cloud gaming,” says Desai. “And that might not sound like a big deal, but anchoring ourselves first and foremost to the fact that this is a handheld in the cloud, it really informed a lot of the design decisions that we have taken.”

Without the need for heavy internal CPUs and graphics and the fans they require, the G Cloud has a slim profile that makes it easier to hold in hands of different sizes. The designers paid special attention to the long-term feel and weight of the device, given that some gamers are likely to use it for hours at a time. This focus and the lighter hardware requirements make the G Cloud a particularly lightweight gaming handheld, weighing in at 463 grams, or around 1 pound. By comparison, the Steam Deck weighs 669 grams, which is about half a pound heavier.

[Photo: Logitech]

Ingve Holmung, head of design at Logitech, explains that the concept behind the device was “definite softness”, emphasizing ergonomic comfort, simplicity and accessibility. “Entering a new space, you don’t necessarily want to just write down the things you do everywhere else,” says Holmung. “We were really trying to create something new that felt like a Logitech G product. But it’s a portable device with a screen. It’s very different from other things we do.

With its mostly white body, the G Cloud looks a bit different than most cutting-edge, gimmicky proud video game hardware on the market, including one made by Logitech itself. “We didn’t want it to be just another piece of black plastic,” says Holmung.

Desai says the decision between the established gaming aesthetic and the softer approach was like a fork in the road for the design team. “We stayed in the center of this fork for a while. We really debated it a lot,” he says.

In the end, the team settled on a design that was more open and less restricted to the hardcore gamer segment of the market. Desai, a gamer himself, says the design is meant to appeal to gamers and non-gamers alike.

“What we think the future that people like Microsoft and Nvidia are trying to paint is that they want to make those game subscriptions available to everyone,” Desai says. A basic portable device, with the simplicity of Netflix, could be a way for these cloud-based gaming services to reach more people. “We think it’s just a new way to play,” says Desai.