Left-handedness is one of the harder disabilities to wrap your head around. After all, many left-handers have simply learned to become partially ambidextrous, at least enough to navigate passably through a right-handed world. For some left-handers, though, this simply isn’t an option. Razer took steps towards fixing this with the Razer Naga Left Handed Edition, a specially designed mouse for left-handed gamers.
We spoke to Chris Mitchell, Head of Sales and Marketing over at Razer about their contribution to accessibility for Southpaws, the Razer Naga Left-Handed Edition.
The Passionate Minority
According to Chris, a classic business approach couldn’t be used to justify the existence of the left-handed Razer Naga. The numbers simply weren’t there, after all. Despite this, the passionate minority are part of why this product exists.
“Planning for a left-handed mouse has been a difficult journey, as it is a project that has drawn large costs at low demand due to an overall limited audience of left-hand people who have not already made the imperfect adjustment to using right-handed gaming mice. The insufficient demand was again confirmed when we ran a Kickstarter campaign back in 2018”, he says.
“However, die-hard members of the Razer community have continued to voice out requests to bring back an updated left-handed gaming mouse. As a brand who owes much of its success to our cult following, we firmly believe in inclusivity within the gaming community – every gamer deserves quality peripherals catered for their individual needs”, he adds.
“Besides leveling the playing field for left-handed gamers, the new Razer Naga Left-Handed Edition will also allow gamers with physical disadvantages or disabilities to play and enjoy games”.
Encouragement From Close To Home
According to Chris, it wasn’t just strangers on the internet pushing for the left-handed mouse either. He talks about two left-handers already close to him who were a big part of the project.
“My twin brother is left-handed and both of us were competing professionally back in the day”, he recalls. “He used to even play cross armed with his left hand moving over to the right side of the keyboard until he figured out he could re-arrange his setup. Both him and our former president Razer Krakoff were testers for our lefthanded mice and strong advocates to bring these to life.”
Of course, it’s not just about the left-handers. According to Chris, the mouse is also popular among other special needs groups. After all, the mouse contains some great accessibility features, like reprogrammable buttons.
Not Just For Left-Handers
“The Naga Left-Handed was created for lefties who prefer to game with their left hand. While it is true that a lot of left-handed gamers have adapted to playing with their right hand, it is often a compromised solution. A lot of gamers have reached out to us and mentioned they plan to switch back to using their natural left hand”, he said.
“We also noticed that a lot of special needs gamers use the Naga Left-Handed. The Razer Naga Left Handed Edition was designed to offer the best utility from its programmable thumb grid to its ergonomic form factor” he adds.
“All buttons on the mouse, including its programmable 12-button thumb grid, are optimally positioned so that gamers can access them easily and quickly—with each click providing audible, tactile feedback that feels satisfying and responsive” he continues. “The ability to bind functions to certain keys on the side plates makes it possible for those with special needs or disabilities to use one mouse for all productivity matters. This was further encouragement for the team to create a unique mouse for the left-handed community”.
That being said, Chris says they couldn’t just ride the coattails of being the only left-handed gaming mouse. As a part of the Razer brand, they needed to make sure it lived up to the Razer name.
“Making a left-handed mouse is far more complex than just simply flipping the original design around— machines need to be re-tooled from mold to circuitry, and these mice must undergo our full QA checks, testing and certification” he says. “Like every product Razer releases, our approach was uncompromising—the packaging and unboxing experience had to be perfect, with all these things executed at no additional cost to the gamers”.
It’s good to know that Razer is pushing forward with such a bold statement in accessibility. Not every gamer fits the same mold, and it looks like the Razer Naga Left Handed Edition is a good step to addressing the needs of a small subset of gamers.
Thanks again to Chris Mitchell for taking the time to talk to us about the Razer Naga Left-Handed Edition, and Razer for the opportunity.