StarCraft is a simple game. You harvest resources and then use those resources to build an army and defeat your opponent. The bigger your army, the more supply depots (as a Terran), pylons (as a Protoss) or overlords (as a Zerg) you need. Increasing supply in StarCraft is easy to do; every supply depot/pylon/overlord only takes a few seconds to finish and costs only a hundred minerals. When you forget to increase your supply in time you cannot increase the size of your army: you are caught in a supply block.
Zaunkoenig currently is in a real life supply block. Demand for our gaming mice in 2022 has severely exceeded our ability to supply them (hi there, Optimum Tech :P). So severely, in fact, that in October of 2022 we were forced to stop selling the Zaunkoenig M2K. Even now, in January of 2023, we are still chewing our way through the backlog of orders, but it will likely take us till next month to finally catch up.
Quality, seppuku and production capacity
First things first: Zaunkoenig will never lower the quality of our gaming mice in order to increase production capacity. Never. Our quality standards are extremely high and they will only become more extreme in the future.
Two years ago in a thread about the Zaunkoenig M1K we came across the following post that summarizes our stance on quality quite well:
«For all the people here that obsess about QC issues, this is the -one- mouse you wont have to worry about. I feel like the creators behind this mouse would rather commit seppuku than being caught shipping out a flawed sample.»
So, since skimping on quality is not an option, the only viable avenue is optimizing our production. Specifically: the production of carbon fiber shells. Carbon fiber production is largely manual labor, so buying more and bigger machines would not be helpful. Skilled labor really is the only thing you can throw at carbon fiber. Back in 2019 we wrote an article called «The carbon fiber process» that gives you a little glimpse into how much manual labor really goes into making the carbon fiber shell for a Zaunkoenig.
Unfortunately it is difficult to find people with experience in carbon fiber production, since it is a rare occupation. And our pockets are not deep enough to poach carbon fiber specialists from the likes of Lamborghini & Co.
What we can do however is find people with excellent hand dexterity and then turn them into carbon fiber specialists ourselves.
We have done so last year and will continue doing so over the course of 2023. It is a slow and sometimes painful process. Case in point: a few months ago we hired a student of the university of Tübingen to help us with the post processing of M2K carbon fiber shells. We gave her one of the easier subtasks and after an hour of training left her to her own devices. Twenty minutes later she already had a cut in one of her fingers that needed to be patched up. One hour later she had a carbon fiber splinter in another finger, that we had to carefully extract with a pair of tweezers. The next day she had a cold (unrelated to carbon fiber, I think).
That is what getting thrown into carbon fiber production looks like and that is why we can only scale up your carbon fiber production slowly.
Life is a batch
If you are one of the many that have ordered an M2K in July of 2022 and then had to wait till January of 2023 to get it, that means that you have been waiting more than half a year. We are very sorry about that. And we know that that sucks. When you order something you are looking forward to obviously you want it as quickly as possible. At Zaunkoenig we also are not at all happy with having such a substantial backlog. In fact it stresses us out knowing that so many of you have to wait for such a long time.
Unlike other gaming mouse companies Zaunkoenig does not mass-produce its mice. We make them largely by hand, in small batches. This is the reality of carbon fiber production and it therefore is wise to sell our gaming mice in a way that reflects this reality: in small batches.
For the foreseeable future we will thus offer one or two batches per month in which we will offer the amount of mice we have finished; that way we can ship out orders just a few days later, since all that is left is putting them in boxes and printing out shipping labels. We will sell strictly on a first-come, first-served basis. No preorders (no exceptions). Additionally we will limit the amount of mice that can be bought at once to just one, in order to prevent bots from buying a complete batch within seconds.
Batches will always be sold on a Sunday, at 21:00 CET (12:00 PDT).
The first couple of batches will probably sell out within seconds, so if you want to catch an early Zaunkoenig your best bet is to set an alarm. If you miss a batch, you have to wait until the next batch. There will be no exceptions, not even for journalists or mouse reviewers, so please do not even bother asking us.
The M2K is sold out forever, by the way. In 2023 we will launch two new gaming mice: the Zaunkoenig M2S as well as the Zaunkoenig M3K, starting with the M2S in the second quarter of 2023. But more on that in another Blog article.