On Twitter yesterday, NVidia posed the question “How badly do you want @Razer’s beastly GeForce GTX 1080-powered, triple-4K-screened laptop, Project Valerie?” Well, apparently really bad, as someone decided to steal both laptop prototypes! Could industrial espionage be the motive? Or could it be that some idiot expo goer just couldn’t resist?
I’ve just been informed that two of our prototypes were stolen from our booth at CES today. We have filed the necessary reports and are currently working with the show management as well as law enforcement to address this issue … Penalties for such crimes are grievous and anyone who would do this clearly isn’t very smart. – Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan
The laptops were taken from the Razer Press Room at the end of CES on Sunday afternoon, January 8th, at around 4 pm. But the Project Ariana Chroma is presumed secure, as Tan only mentioned the Valerie laptops as missing. It’s really a sad tale, since Razer was celebrating two Best of CES awards for their Valerie Laptop and the Project Ariana Chroma Projector. The resulting theft casts a dark shadow over what was a very successful expo for the gaming hardware company.
Now some jaded people might think that this is a PR stunt in order to get one more day of coverage out of their CES hype, but this is not the first time Razer has been the victim of having their prototypes stolen. In 2011, someone broke into Razer’s headquarters and pilfered two of Razer’s Blade laptop prototypes. This is leading Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan to suggest that the theft could be the result of industrial espionage, a crime that will bring the FBI into the investigation.
At Razer, we play hard and we play fair. Our teams worked months on end to conceptualize and develop these units and we pride ourselves in pushing the envelope to deliver the latest and greatest. We treat theft/larceny, and if relevant to this case, industrial espionage, very seriously – it is cheating, and cheating doesn’t sit well with us. Penalties for such crimes are grievous and anyone who would do this clearly isn’t very smart.
This also leads to the question of whether these the only two Valerie laptops in existence? Razer surely has all the data and design schematics on file, but the resulting theft could cause a serious delay in Valerie making it to market, if it makes it at all. Thus Tan’s concern that this could be industrial espionage is understandable. But then again, with over 177,0000 expo goers wandering around looking at stuff, security can be a real issue, and I’m surprised we don’t hear more stories like this every year.
Razer is offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of whoever jacked Valerie from the Razer Press Room. They plan to offer the reward for a year, and may choose to extend the reward should it become necessary. It really comes down to law enforcement and their investigation, but clearly they are looking for a quick recovery, since as time goes on, it becomes less likely the laptops will be recovered.
For more information, check out Tan’s Facebook post here.