Seeing Things in a Different Light

For at least five years, eyewear manufacturers have been entering into collaborations for glasses that block blue UV light from computer and other device screens, and the frequency of deals has steadily grown over that time. This is especially true for initiatives involving gaming-related properties, whose fans not only spend a lot of time in front of their screens and need eye protection, but also view these products as giving them an edge in game play. Active IP include gaming accessories brands, video games, esports properties, and colleges and sports entities that sponsor esports teams.

Potential partners include blue-light-protection specialists, generalist eyewear marketers, and gaming accessories brands (in cooperation with eyewear companies):

  • Gunnar Optiks is a specialist blue-light eyewear brand that has been among the most active in pairing with video game IP. In June of this year, the company announced a partnership with Blizzard to create two models of gaming glasses tied to Overwatch, and in April it announced a bundle of protective eyewear and accessories for the Amazon videogame-based TV series Fallout, with in-world Vault-Tec 33 Industries branding. Gunnar’s previous collaborations have featured the games Diablo IV, Call of Duty, and Assassin’s Creed, among others, as well as related brands such as esports tournament operator ESL. The company’s non-gaming launches have included tokidoki, with which it is debuting a collection this summer; Guardians of the Galaxy’s Groot, announced in April; Major League Baseball; Sanrio; and Barbie.
  • Online eyewear retailer Zenni has been expanding its presence in esports in 2024, teaming in April with Evo to become the official eyewear of the largest fighting-game tournament, supplying products for all of its events around the world. It also partnered with TSM, an esports operation that encompasses teams such as the world-champion Apex Legends club and player-influencers including William “Leffen” Hjelte, becoming its official eyewear partner in February 2024. In the same month, it announced a deal with Ghost Gaming for a co-branded range of its Blokz blue-light-blocking glasses. The company has been involved with esports for some time; it became the official eyewear of the Call of Duty League in 2021, for example.
  • Oakley became a Fortnite licensee at the end of 2023, starting with the release of two collaborative eyewear models for gamers, both featuring the Luxottica division’s Prism Gaming lens technology. Earlier that year, Oakley had partnered with three prominent players in Asian esports, Tian “Meiko” Ye and Yuan “NingZhi” Jun of Edwards Gaming, who play League of Legends and Arena of Valor, respectively, and Guan Zeyuan, a League of Legends content creator. In May 2022, the company announced a deal with esports organization Envy Gaming, becoming the official eyewear partner of all OpTic teams and talent. In 2021, Oakley paired with gaming accessories organizations Turtle Beach and Roccat to add gaming glasses to the two companies’ array of products and further its own presence in the esports market. Also in 2021, Oakley created a line of eyewear for Call of Duty player Seth “Scump” Abner, who became the first esports athlete to join the company’s roster of athlete-endorsers.
  • Bye Blue Light specializes in collaborations with collegiate esports teams, with a long series of deals announced mostly in 2023. Some of its partner institutions include Wake Forest, Baldwin Wallace, University of South Carolina-Sumter, University of Southern Mississippi, Southern Nazarene, Marietta College, Missouri State, Southwestern Assemblies of God University, Trinidad State College, California State University-Fullerton, and more. Most recently, it paired with SUNY-Niagara esports in January 2024. The company supplies customized glasses with branded frames for each team (also available to the public online). Its products are endorsed by major collegiate esports governing bodies including Midwest Esports Conference, the SEC, Midwest R6, and the National Esports Collegiate Conference (NECC). Bye Blue Light promotes its merchandise through influencer partnerships, including a recent agreement with streamer and content creator Taylor Rose, announced in April.
  • Italian streetwear-influenced designer eyewear label RetroSuperfuture paired with gaming accessories brand Razer for gamer glasses under the RazerSuperfuture brand in 2023. There was also a metaverse component in association with D-Cave, an Italian metaverse lifestyle platform.
  • Gamer Advantage pairs with esports and gaming content creators for limited-edition bundles of glasses and accessories. Of its recent collaborators, two, Espresso and Immortal, specialize in news, information, and opinion about the game Call of Duty and its spin-offs, while the third, WillerZ, is a Twitch gamer specializing in Escape from Tarkov. The bundles include a pair of protective glasses plus a sunclip (for sun protection), cloth case, cleaning cloth, and exclusive sticker.
  • Shaq Eyewear by Zyloware, a licensed line that got its start in 2016, paired with Racing America in 2022 to create a line of blue-light-blocking glasses for gamers, with a focus on the racing game sector. Racing America is a news and information site focused on all things auto-racing, of which esports is a growing component.
  • Fashion-forward eyewear brand Unofficial created the first glasses range for Fortnite in 2022, including an eight-piece sunglasses collection and two blue-light-filter models of gamer frames. The line was released in Europe and Latin America.
  • Blux partnered with Astralis, a European e-sports organization, in 2021 for a range of four models of Vizor blue-light gamer glasses, offered through Kickstarter. The deal marked the eyewear maker’s entry into esports and was a step in its intention to expand its business globally, a strategy it had in common with Astralis.
  • HyperX, which markets headsets, microphones, keyboards, and other gaming gear, paired with esports organization Panda Global in 2020 for collaborative, co-branded glasses, including a prescription option. HyperX works with Eyeking, eyewear licensee of brands including Beastmode, Rae Dunn, and Hobie, to produce its eyewear program.

Most of these collaborations are focused solely on products with blue-light-blocking technology, although some include glasses with blue-light protection as part of a broader array of eyewear. Deals in the former category typically go out of their way to stress that the products are meant to promote eye health for gamers by reducing fatigue and digital eye strain, and secondarily to optimize performance and support a stylish look.

Of course, gamers are not the only ones who spend lots of time in front of their screens, and blue-light-blocking glasses appeal to non-gamers as well. That has been reflected in collaborations with non-gaming IP over the years. Quay, for example, has done many celebrity collaborations since 2019, which typically incorporate blue-light glasses among a wider assortment of eyewear models. Its partners have included Chrissy Teigen, Lizzo, Paris Hilton, and Ashley Graham. Other collaborations have ranged from Privé Revaux’s pairings with actor/musician Dove Cameron and the Pixar film Soul to Cristopher Cloos’ deal with Tom Brady, all of which included blue-light options along with other models.

RaugustReports will not publish this coming Thursday, due to the U.S. Independence Day holiday. We’ll be back to our twice-weekly schedule on Monday, July 8, 2024.

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