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Accessory Makers All Aboard Console Bandwagon

LOS ANGELES — No one has been anticipating the release of the Microsoft Xbox One and Sony PlayStation 4 more than the third-party gaming accessories manufacturers.

Like a case maker to an Apple announcement, the E3 gaming show ushered in announcements from accessory makers in the days leading up to the event and throughout the show itself.

As Liam Callahan, an analyst for The NPD Group, noted to TWICE, “Typically, the start of a new generation of consoles is a great opportunity for accessory manufacturers. As gamers pick up their new hardware, they typically purchase an accessory as well.”

TWICE has rounded up some of the products that are scheduled to become available around the times that Xbox One and PS4 ship at the end of the year.

Mad Catz Interactive debuted its Arcade FightStick Tournament Edition 2 during E3, a fighting game controller with arcade controls for the Xbox One.

“We earlier commented how the enhanced performance of the Xbox One opens up additional scope for innovation and believe that the Tournament Edition 2 FightStick perfectly illustrates our commitment to the next generation of entertainment,” said Darren Richardson, Mad Catz Interactive president and CEO.

The company expects it to be the first fighting game controller available for the new Xbox. It’s scheduled to ship during the holidays.

Nyko Technologies announced gaming peripherals for the Xbox One and PS4 during E3, as well as for the Nvidia Shield, Xbox 360 and for Android devices.

The Headset Adaptor for Xbox One plugs into the HDMI port of the console, and provides stereo RCA audio output for use with most gaming headsets. The HDMI passthrough port is engineered to provide a high-fidelity audio source for analog audio components, while allowing Full 1080p output to the TV. It is compatible with any gaming headset that utilized RCA connectors for in-game audio, Nyko said, and will be available during the holidays.

The Smart Clip is designed to hold a smartphone onto a console controller for hands-free second-screen use. Versions for the Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PS4 are being readied for later this year. It can be used with any smartphone measuring up to 3.5 inches wide, which include all generations of iPhones, Nyko said.

Nyko is also launching versions of its Charging Base for the Xbox One and PS4, both of which will be AC powered. They will have dual controller ports, with the Xbox One edition packaged with two rechargeable batteries and the PS4 edition featuring Nyko’s USB charging dongle system.

Pricing and specific shipping dates for the products will be announced later, but Nyko said they are scheduled to ship within the windows of the consoles’ availabilities.

Polk Audio debuted three audio products during the show, two of which were developed in collaboration with Microsoft for use with the Xbox One and the third for the Xbox 360.

The N1 soundbar is engineered with custom audio settings, including FPS or Racer modes during game play, or Cinema or Music settings when using the console for entertainment outside of gaming. It will ship this fall for a $299 suggested retail.

Polk developed the two sets of headphones — the 4 Shot ($299) for Xbox One and 133t ($199) for Xbox 360 — to be lightweight and ergonomic. Features include a near-field microphone, a spring steel headband pivoting ear cups.

Planned for a Q4 release, the headphones will come in Desert White, Nova Blue and Ink Black.

Turtle Beach, which jumped the E3 gun by announcing it was teaming with Microsoft for a line of Xbox One audio solutions, provided more details on the products during the show. It also announced several new partnerships.

Two headsets were shown for the Xbox One: the Ear Force XO Seven and Ear Force XO Four, both wired surround- sound models.

The Ear Force XO Seven has a headset adapter that connects to the Xbox One controller, enabling game and audio-chat at a user’s fingertips. Other details include a detachable boom mic, a breakaway mobile cable with an in-line mic for phone calls and audio chat, padded headband, memory-foam ear cushions and interchangeable speaker plates for customization. Suggested retail is $149.

The Ear Force XO Four has the same headset adapter as the XO Seven and also has a detachable boom mic. Suggested retail is $99.99. Further details weren’t given.

During the show, Turtle Beach announced a two-year partnership agreement with Activision Publishing for its “Call of Duty” franchise, in which Turtle Beach will developing a line of headsets for the upcoming “Call of Duty: Ghosts.”

Turtle Beach has also developed an officially licensed Marvel headset with interchangeable speaker plates. The Marvel Seven headset is meant for use across the gaming platform gamut: consoles, PC, Macs and mobile. It’s designed with an Audio Control Unit that has one-touch controls and audio preset switching.

Turtle Beach also previewed during E3 a line of Bluetooth headsets that feature “hidden” microphones instead of detachable boom mics. The iSeries lines will feature at least three models, one of which will have active noise cancellation. Pricing and shipping dates weren’t available at press time.

Juergen Stark, Turtle Beach CEO, said: “We are extremely excited about the new products and partnerships we have announced and what they mean for the future growth of our business. With Activision, Marvel, Microsoft and our established relationships with Major League Gaming, Nintendo and Twitch, it is clear that Turtle Beach has the strongest partnerships in our industry.” — Additional reporting by Greg Tarr