Matty Rich is the Hollywood director behind Straight Out of Brooklyn and The Inkwell, but he’s also spent time in the trenches developing video games. He served as the creative director for Ubisoft’s 187: Ride or Die game and lived in Paris, France during the development process. More recently, he has established Matty Rich Games (MRG) and is developing a trio of mobile games aimed at the mass market.
MRG Headphones is the latest offshoot of the MRG brand. The company has partnered with ViviTouch, which is owned by Bayer Material Sciences, to introduce 360 degree headphones to the market this fall. The headsets will retail for $200 and will be made available in different color schemes, including white, black and pink. Available exclusive at www.mrg-headphones.com this fall, Rich said the line will expand to retail stores and ecommerce sites in 2015. He talks about his new venture and explains what separates his product from the crowded gaming headset market in this exclusive interview.
What separates MRG Headphones from all the competitors’ products?
MRG Headphones offer 360 degree 7.1 surround sound with distinct ranges and mid-ranges and high-tones for innovative sounds that will change the way you hear and experience games. It’s a fusion of technologies for the gaming world, the entertainment world and for the music world. We’re a lifestyle brand with bold color schemes and ritzy sophistication and a gold rope pattern for some bling bling. MRG Headphones are not a headphone that’s designed for those who just want the bottom of the bass. If you want true clarity when playing a game or listening to music, this is for that consumer. Plus, they look cool. I’ve been blessed enough to be embraced by the gaming world and this is my opportunity to add another dimension to my experience as a creative director, to create a sound that takes the gaming experience to the next level. There are a lot of really good gaming headphones on the market, but I believe there isn’t any one headset that is as cool and dynamic as MRG.
How involved have you been with the creation of these headphones?
I’m extremely involved from the creation of art design, retooling and perfecting the sound and quality to perfect the MRG brand. I am working with a team in Asia to create a unique 360 degree audio sound. There’s no company that has a product that looks like MRG Headphones for gamers. The plan is to make it fashionable and cool, but the sound quality will be by far something that gamers will dig. They’re not big and bulky and intrusive like some of the other gaming headphones. There’s a detachable mic, so you can take them outside and listen to music.
We are bringing coolness to the gaming world by creating headphones for both indoors and outdoors that has a lifestyle fashionable feel for activities beyond gaming inside of the house.
How has your experience in Hollywood and the video game industry helped you design this product?
As a filmmaker, I know the kind of sound that I like and as a game developer I know what people want to hear when they’re playing a game or listening to music. I want to combine my Hollywood and gaming experience and bring something unique to this market. It’s similar to when I was working as the creative director at Ubisoft, I worked with the visual and sound department team to fine-tune channels for the game and music. I’m bringing all that knowledge from the gaming world and cinematic world to these headphones. In fact, I’d like to have these headphones used on set when directors are calling “action” for film productions.
How will you be featured in the marketing of these headphones?
Matty Rich is the brand. I stand by what I’m building. I will be featured in the marketing for the initial launch. I want people who trust and believe in my body of work to know that I’m bringing something unique to the market place. This isn’t just another celebrity slapped on the cover of a product, this isn’t a hobby, this is a business I’m building. It links to everything I’m doing — films, games and branding partnerships. The MRG brand is specific for gamers. It’s for people who want to wear a great sounding pair of headphones and yet still be fashionably cool.
What other marketing opportunities do you see with game publishers and MRG Headphones?
I’m in talks with several gaming brands to merge MRG headphones with their games for the launch of some of their titles including some eSports branding. My goal is to secure branding partnerships with gaming publishers to create a unique MRG headphone for some of their gaming titles. Each gaming partnership will have a unique sound that fits that experience for that particular game. There will be 360 degree audio clarity immersive sound on each product and once we do a brand marketing partnership, that product will have particular sounds for a game.
How will your own video games utilize this headphone technology?
MRG is making games that have 360 degree possibilities. Everything we are developing, whether it’s a sports, trivia or action game, has a film, TV, graphic novel and comic book component. Everything I’m working on is starting in the mobile space on iOS and Android.
How big is MRG?
MRG is based in Santa Monica and has a handful of people that work on headphones, games, film, comics and graphic novels. We also have a team of engineers and graphic artists in Hong Kong, which is also where some of the manufacturing is being done. We’re a start-up company and we’ll always be a start-up company. Every day is a new experience.
When will media be able to test out this new product?
MRG will host a gathering of journalists and select consumers at the upcoming E3 gaming where they can have a hands-on experience with the headphones.
What are you working on in Hollywood these days?
I just optioned the rights to a published biography book that I’m going to produce and direct as a feature film. It will be my third feature and I’m looking forward to that. Since 12 Years a Slave won the Best Picture at the Oscars, it’s success has impacted things significantly. 12 Years a Slave and The Butler have propelled new stories to be created in Hollywood. Now I have an opportunity to not just produce a movie, but also direct one. This is a true life story so it won’t have a gaming component. However, I’m looking forward to getting behind the camera and telling another American story that needs to be told.