CES 2023: Cooler Master Rebrands & Expands into Pre-Builds & Streaming
Extreme Makeover Corporate Edition
Cooler Master does not just want to expand into a new market, it wants to rebrand its corporate image and target new audiences. As it celebrates its 30th anniversary, the company wants to shift “from a traditional PC component manufacturer to tech-lifestyle brand.”
This change will be spearheaded by three product families of pre-built desktops: Be Excellent, Be Different, and Be Creative. (Yes, those were the names that Cooler Master felt screamed “tech-lifestyle brand.”) Pricing has yet to be revealed, but Cooler Master's strategy of driving interest in a core model with eye-catching halo products is sensible.
- The CoolingX (Q2 2023) will be a liquid-cooled streaming workhouse, featuring a last-gen Ryzen 9 5950X X and RX 6800 XT and 64GB of DDR4 RAM.
- The AIOX NUC (Q3 2023) is mini-PC powered by Intel’s 12th-gen Core i9.
- The Shark X (Q3 2023) will feature an ITX motherboard, liquid cooling and shark-shaped.
- The Sneaker X (Q3 2023) is similar but shoe-shaped.
- The Mini X (Q3 2023) is a customizable, small form factor PC that will feature the newest Nvidia RTX 40 series and AMD 7000 series GPUs.
- Available immediately, this family will consist exclusively of 1,000 limited edition Cosmos Infinity 30th Anniversary PCs.
Tapping into Content Creators
Cooler Master also announced three streaming peripherals, taking a page from brands like NZXT that jumped from components into peripherals. None have received launch dates or prices, but Cooler Master appears serious about the content creator market. These peripherals would join its StreamEnjin livestream mixer, which debuted in 2021.
- Stream Lucid: USB-C mic with RGB lightning
- Stream LUX: LED light for on-camera streaming
- Features magnetic frame to attach color accents
- Stream Origins: Capture card that records from 1080p/120FPS up to 4K/60FPS
Cooler Master’s new direction is prudent given that PC components have been among the hardest hit by the post-pandemic gaming downturn. Lower-volume, premium products (say, a shark-shaped computer) and streaming peripherals target less price-sensitive customers. The social media buzz from its one-of-kind desktops won't hurt either.
On the other hand, Cooler Master is a latecomer diving into competitive, established markets as spending is dramatically slowing. It must also make sure it doesn’t ignore core customers who spend money for components, not a tech-lifestyle. As esports powerhouse Faze found out after a lackluster IPO last year, gaming-as-a-lifestyle may not have as much public demand as many investors are hoping.