We had the pleasure of visiting the guys at CHERRY in Germany this week as they set out their mission statement for the future. If you’ve ever taken even the slightest interest in PC gaming, chances are you’ve probably heard of CHERRY in some capacity. They make the world’s premier mechanical keyboard switches, and their name comes with a fair bit of prestige. Despite widespread success in the Eastern world, they’ve yet to make a big push in the Western market with their own keyboards and peripherals.
That’s all about to change, apparently. With their acquisition of Swedish company XTRFY they’re sharpening their focus and hammering into the Esports scene with a bang. We were welcomed to the Xperion in Cologne – which, incidentally, is one of the coolest gaming spaces I’ve seen in a long time – and given the chance to get hands-on with CHERRY‘s range of gaming keyboards. After a few snacks and drinks, we were given an introduction to what CHERRY XTRFY hopes will be their future as a brand.
From a design perspective, these keyboards are flawless in my opinion. With just three models they appeal easily to a massive range of users. These keyboards would not look out of place on a gaming desk, lined up in an office, or on stage at an Esports event.
The inherently customisable nature of CHERRY‘s products means you can get the perfect keyboard for your needs with these three base models. I was personally most impressed with the CHERRY MX 3.0S – available in sleek black or an irresistibly sharp white – with its solid aluminium frame and clean design. There may or may not be one of these sitting on my desk now, and I don’t imagine it’s going anywhere for a long time.
There was a big emphasis on CHERRY‘s gaming brand moving forward. From now on, the brand will be CHERRY XTRFY, and all future products will be branded as such. With a close look at these products, it’s hard to believe they will be anything besides a massive success.
After the talk, we were given the opportunity to mingle with CHERRY and ask some hands-on questions. I had a few informal chats with staff members and the excitement they feel about this next phase of their business was tangible in all of them. They were genuinely thrilled to be there showing all this stuff off, and from a design perspective, their gear really stands out.
The following keynote speech really drove home their new focus on delivering peripherals for every gamer – enthusiast, professional or casual – they want to get everyone on board. Looking at the range of people invited to the event, they seem to be taking an almost grassroots approach to publicising that. I’m sure there were some big industry names there but on the whole, it looked like smaller, independent sites that would cover a lot of niche audiences.
As they explained in the speech, gaming is a massive industry now. Bigger than movies, bigger than music. And a massive share of that is Esports, which shows no sign of slowing down. If people have an electronic device, they play games on it.
It’s interesting because CHERRY is hardly a new company. They’ve been present in the keyboard industry since the 1950s, which makes them the first tech company named after a fruit (move over, Apple). But as they explained at the event, much of their gaming successes have been over in the Eastern market. But the CHERRY XTRFY brand feels fresh and exciting. It doesn’t seem like some soulless corporate merger – there’s a genuine exchange of ideas and a passion for the products exhibited, and that’s enough to get even cynical old me excited about it.
CHERRY XTRFY: Next level
Ultimately, this was probably one of the most exciting announcement events I’ve ever been to (and that’s not just because of the unlimited supply of gummy sweets and Red Bull present on the day). Because it was on a relatively smaller scale, the passion for these products and the company’s future was really obvious. Everyone there got the chance to get hands-on with the products – either with the display models or the gaming stations they’d set up.
To be straightforward; these are some incredibly well-engineered and designed peripherals. They look and feel nicer than any other keyboard I’ve seen at their price points. If CHERRY XTRFY keeps delivering products like this, they’ll be dominating the competition in no time at all.
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