They say if you build a better mousetrap, the world will beat a path to your door. We guess the same can be said about building a better mousepad. Everglide, quite by accident, began life in 1997 as a way to improve the overall game experience indirectly by making the existing mice more functional. This was done by creating a better surface for the mouse to rest on and glide across.
Over the years Everglide has grown to include illumination devices, PC carrying cases and a host of other products aimed at the PC game player. As the company grew, they faced new challenges and new demands, and today continue to meet these hurdles. And they have learned a lot about the industry and those that play games along the way.
We squeaked in a little time with David Welsh, the founder of the company who chatted with us about the PC side of the game industry, what gamers want, and how he keeps his finger on the pulse of the industry.
Everglide – http://www.everglide.com
GiN: Can you give us a quick overview of Everglide?
Welsh: EverGlide.com was established in 1997. Introduced at COMDEX ’97, its EverGlide Mousing Surface revolutionized the mouse pad industry with its acute surface and emphasis on durability.
The EverGlide Mousing Surface has received wide spread recognition and scores of high-ranked reviews and awards from the top gaming magazines.
Today, with its focus on creating a games product shopping destination, EverGlide products are distributed worldwide from Iceland to ArgentinDavid Welsh: Canada to Malaysia. Distribution centers are located in nine countries including the US, Canada, France, Germany, Singapore, and Iceland. Hundreds of US retailers carry Trademarked, licensed, and/or specialty printed EverGlide products. EverGlide.com merchandising partners include many of the leaders in the gaming industry including: Sony Online Entertainment, Westwood Studios, id Software, Sierra Online, AlienWare, and Electronic Arts.
GiN: From chatting with you, I know that your company has a pretty unique history in terms of how you were founded. Can you let our readers know a little bit about the day your company started?
Welsh: The legend is true. Nov. 11, 1997, I had thrown away my foam mouse pad. I was searching the house for something to use as a pad and reached for the cutting board. That Christmas we hot-stamped our logo on 400 mouse pad shaped cutting boards and sent them as gifts to our clients. The rest, as they say, is history.
GiN: Obviously, the peripherals market for the console side of the industry is a major component. But Everglide specializes in the PC side of the house. How robust is the industry for PC peripherals?
Welsh: The domestic personal computer gamer market is still very large despite appearances. Certainly console gaming has become mainstream with millions of dollars being pored into console game publishing, advertising, and sponsorship. However, estimates of domestic personal computer gamers range from three to five million. With the mega companies focused on console gaming the PC Gamer has been seriously neglected. EverGlide’s strategy has been to focus on that neglected gaming consumer with the development of new and innovative PC Game accessories.
GiN: Over the years you have launched and acquired new products like the MouseSkatez and the PCTote. How do you, as a company, determine what products Everglide should support?
Welsh: EverGlide has always been of, by, for, and about the gamer. We get quite a lot of fan mail. Some of it offers suggestions or ideas about new products. The MouseSkatez and BattleLamp products came about in just such a manner. We read all of our mail and take the gamer’s suggestions very seriously. Gamers will tell you what’s hot and what’s not – if one takes the time to listen.
GiN: Now, I know you have some big news about your new site to shop for all your PC-peripheral products. Would you like to talk a bit about this effort?
Welsh: Over the years EverGlide.com has become more than just a mouse pad store. I think its safe to say that we are known as much for our MouseSkatez and BadgeLite as for our mouse pads. But, we felt that the dueling logos was becoming confusing so very soon we will launch GotToShop.com. This new online shopping destination features GamerzStuff – a store specifically created for our personal computer gamer customers. All of our gaming accessories will now be located in one convenient store.
GiN: How important is it, do you think, to have all these products in one place?
Welsh: Its critical. One-stop shopping is now expected. Look at Wal-Mart: Groceries, Glasses, Gas etc.
GiN: You seem to cater a lot to the LAN party type of gamer with some interesting products like the BadgeLight kit. Would you say that this is your typical type of customer?
Welsh: LAN Parties are a great word-of-mouth place to, well, get the word out about new products and accessories. And, like I said, this market has been seriously neglected by the major manufacturers of gaming accessories targeting the PC enthusiast.
GiN: Any plans to move into the console accessory side of the market?
Welsh: We have been repeatedly asked about that and there is certainly a market for a greater variety of console game accessories. The question is always what it will cost to get to market and how great is the risk to our customer and product base. No question that we are looking very seriously at this.
Stay tuned, I guess.
GiN: Are there any areas that you think the PC industry might be heading in terms of the peripheral market?
Welsh: Illumination – illumination – illumination. That’s all I can say at this time.
GiN: What new and exciting products can we expect from Everglide in the future?
Welsh: In just a few weeks we will launch the Optica – a mouse pad designed especially for optical mice. Later on this summer several surprises are in store. One will just have to visit GotToShop – GamerzStuff and have a look.