Kris Huang And ROG: Creating The Standard

Kris Huang And ROG: Creating The Standard

In 2006 ASUS created a new sub-brand that would make products specifically targeted at the growing PC gaming market. Dubbed Republic Of Gamers or ROG, the sub-brand built a reputation for creating innovative and powerful hardware that broke records and impressed gamers year after year. Almost 17 years on, ROG has transformed from a quirky sub-brand of a PC company to a household name, all thanks in part to Kris Huang, one of the original co-founders of ROG and an avid gamer himself. We had a chance to sit down and talk with him as he visited the Philippines to find out what ROG has been up to, their plan for the future as well as what other crazy collabs we can expect from the brand.

With such a heavy emphasis on creating gaming gear for gamers, how exactly does ROG go about developing products for users? What are the things you look at when you build high-refresh-rate displays, new keyboards, mice, and other similar products?

“Design thinking is our methodology. I think not just ROG, but the whole company (ASUS) follows this. Our belief in design thinking is to come out with a very user-centric solution. Part of the design process is empathy, to understand gamers’ pinpoint, and then to ideation to prototyping, and testing,” Kris says.

But providing top-notch products isn’t purely just about engineering or design. A lot of the work they put in when they create products is influenced by gamers themselves. ROG as an organization has a lot of gamers in it (which really underlines the “by gamers, for gamers tagline), and a huge part of the design process involves understanding what they really want. Understanding gamer’s insight is something that they prioritize, as well as giving their customers synergy by allowing all of their products to work together in harmony, which led to the creation of software and hardware like Armory Crate and AuraSync.

Unlike other companies that have a yearly production cycle for their peripherals, ROG produces products based on their own roadmap that follows their timeline, which means no rushing products out the door to capitalize on trends or to collaborate with other IPs just for collaboration’s sake.

And when ROG does decide to do a collab product like with Sunrise for Gundam and Khara for Evanghelion, the decision-making process doesn’t just go through one person. It goes through committees inside ASUS made up of different people who love the brand in question to hash out the details of what goes into the products that will result from the collaboration.

Speaking about their collab with Khara for Evanghelion, Kris Huang says for ROG “They enjoy EVA, they’re hardcore fans. We gather them together and have a weekly meeting, with the EVA committee. We analyze what should be the essential part of this IP, this animation, and then how we implement it on the product. For example, we are thinking about how we implement the Spear of Longinus. How do we implement it with our product? You cannot just simply put your logo or the pattern on the product, it doesn’t make sense. In the end, we made our cap puller for the ROG Strix Scope RX EVA Edition using the image. Oh, okay. That’s the sphere. Yeah, the sphere. And there’s the AT field, and force field in EVA in the ROG Delta S EVA Edition. We made it inside the ear cushion.”

“When gamers or EVA fans, they are unpacking [the product], they go wow! They found those details. You can see their smile. It’s from their heart,” he adds, smiling.

This attention to detail and how ROG creates products that gamers actually want that blend both form and function year after year is the reason why the brand has grown not only in units shipped but in public perception and recognition as well. ROG is no longer just a gaming brand – it’s a lifestyle brand, and its logo is recognizable by both hardcore gamers and people on the street. You don’t need to be a hardcore overclocker to know what that stylized eye logo stands for.

“I think the biggest achievement is we got tremendous gamers recognition. I think that’s the most important. There’s one time I walked into the night market in Taiwan. It’s very crowded. And there’s a kid, he’s walking towards me and he’s pointing at me. He didn’t recognize who I was but I was wearing the ROG shirt. He’s like, Oh, ROG. I really want one. At the time, I felt everything worth it. People, the kids, they recognize us, they understand what ROG is. They know the brand,” he said.

But that shift to a more lifestyle approach wasn’t easy, as Kris told us.

The brand, actually the image shift from overclocking to a gaming or more lifestyle brand, is under transition, I would say. At the time, like in 2013, and 2014, we had a huge debate internally, and also we got feedback from outside because esports was booming. DOTA, League of Legends, started to have a world champion tournament. Some people thought that our brand should stay very hardcore. We should stay in this Lamborghini position. We should never dilute the brand, so we don’t do the cheap product. But another group of people said, Hey, gaming is a super huge market. Why don’t we just go to the very entry market, and become a household brand, a very family gaming brand? It’s a huge debate. But right now in the end, what we did is we reorganize what the brand should be, what ROG, what’s our vision, what’s our mission, and our tagline is for those who dare,” he said.

That decision has helped Kris Huang to grow ROG to become one of the most recognizable gaming brands in the market, with gaming products contributing to more than 50% of ASUS’ income. ROG’s co-branding efforts with IKEA, technical apparel firm ACRONYM, aim trainer AIM LAB and others have cemented the brand’s place in the pantheon of gaming greats, proving once and for all that they’re the gaming industry’s standard that’s hard to beat.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest News

Latest Reviews

Best Phones in the Philippines

Best Guides

Recent Posts