By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
SteelSeries has added some new SKUs to its line of professional gaming accessories that are slated for availability in the coming months.
Leading the introductions is the Siberia v2 headset. The successor to SteelSeries' signature Siberia headset, which launched in 2004, the Siberia v2 adds an “invisible” retractable microphone system that pulls out from the left ear-cup, allowing for a more convenient and travel-friendly headset especially for tournament players, the company said.
The Siberia v2's speakers were increased from 40mm to 50mm and the speakers were positioned further back in the ear cup for richer bass and improved frequency response to 10-28,000Hz, according to SteelSeries president Brian Stech, who demonstrated the headset at TWICE's office. Optimized for professional gaming, where crisp, detailed sound can be the difference between winning or losing, the soundscape features crystal-clear high, low and mid-tones, Stech said.
A new closed breathable ear-cup design features thick leather padded cushions built from sound dampening foam to increase outside noise isolation, especially important for first-person shooter games, Stech said.
The Siberia v2 boasts impedance of 32 ohms, two 3.5mm jacks, a reinforced headband for optimized pressure and comfort, and a 50-16,000Hz unidirectional microphone with a fully bendable boom.
The headset maintains the original Siberia's lightweight design with the company's trademark headband suspension construction, which makes it extremely comfortable for use over long periods of time, Stech said.
The volume regulator, the cord and its base have also been upgraded. The primary cord was shortened to 1 meter for use with portable gear and an additional 2-meter cord is included for use with stationary computers.
Two versions of The Siberia v2 will be offered, with and without a USB sound card. The virtual surround 7.1 sound card offers a consistent sound experience, ensuring gamers the exact same sound and settings no matter where they are in the world or at what computer they are playing, Stech said. Software is provided with the headset so the user can customize equalizer settings, profiles and other output settings.
Stech said the 7.1 surround sound capability makes the Siberia v2 idea for audio and video use as well.
The Siberia v2 will be available in November. Pricing will be announced at that time.
Stech, with the assistance of professional gamer Jordan Gilbert of the SteelSeries-sponsored Evil Geniuses team, also demonstrated two new gaming mice and a new gaming surface, previously announced but shipping next month.
The top-of-the-line Xai mouse features a 10.8-megapixels per second laser image correlation sensor, which processes 12,000 frames per second at 5,000 dpi resolution at movement speeds of 150 inches per second — what Stech called “high-definition tracking” — for unparalleled precision.
The ambidextrous-shaped Xai can be fully configured via an LCD menu system on the back of the mouse, with settings then stored in the mouse's built-in memory, eliminating the need for drivers and providing configuration capabilities on-the-go.
Personalization modes for the user include ExactAim, ExactRate, ExactSens and FreeMove, which can adjust for a gamer's preferences in such details as jitter compensation, report rate, sensitivity to hand motion and aiming motion. It also has automatic lift distance calibration for users who tend to lift their mouse to reset its location.
It has seven programmable buttons that can accomodate macros of up to 200 strokes per button.
Each Xai can store up to five custom profiles and are software independent, meaning they will respond identically on any PC.
The Xai will be available in mid- to late October at a suggested retail of $89.99.
A step-down entry-level mouse, the Kinzu, features a 3.75-megapixel per second optical image sensor which processes 9,375 frames per second.
It has the same ambidextrous shape as the Xai but is 7 percent smaller.
It will retail for $34.99 and will become available next month.
Also demonstrated was the SteelSeries 9HD hard plastic gaming surface, designed to fully support the enhanced tracking capabilities of the company's gaming mice.
The finely textured surface consists of tens of thousands of light-reflecting microscopic points which produce a prism effect, enabling the user to perform exceptionally precise mouse operations.
It has a non-skid rubber base and will retail for $34.99. A smaller version, the 4D, will be $19.99.
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