Headsets Highlight Gaming Accessories At E3

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LOS ANGELES — Although video game titles dominated much of the E3 headlines, accessory manufacturers were also eager to use the show as their chance to debut new products. While introductions were heavy on the headphones, third-party makers did release details for all methods of gaming: console, PC and mobile.

Turtle Beach brought a wealth of product announcements to the show, including its first gaming headset with low-profile magnetic charging and its first Xbox One headset that provides wireless game and chat audio.

The Ear Force Elite 800 features DTS Headphone:X 7.1 surround sound, active noise cancellation, dual “invisible” microphones and customizable snap-on speaker plates. The PS4 headset wirelessly charges via a magnetic charging stand, and battery life is said to up to 15 hours of playing time.

When asked if Turtle Beach plans to make more models with wireless charging, a company spokesman said he couldn’t predict, but “it is entirely possible that it migrates to more wireless models as we think it makes sense to avoid tethering a wireless headset as much as possible.”

Turtle Beach has also redesigned its preset system to allow surround-sound modes to be tuned for different types of games, movies and music, it said. A mobile app enables the presets to be managed via a smartphone.

The Elite 800 will be available in the fall for a $299 suggested retail.

The Ear Force Stealth 400 wireless stereo headset, also for the PS4, has 50mm drivers, on-ear controls, four surround-sound presets, removable boom mic, and an optional in-line cable and mic for use as a wired headset. A built-in battery provides 15 hours of play time, according to Turtle Beach. The $99.95 headset charges via a USB cord.

For the Xbox One, Turtle Beach debuted the Ear Force Stealth 500X ($229). The wireless headset delivers digital audio from the Xbox One’s optical connection and separate wireless channels for chat and game audio. Features include DTS Headphone:X 7.1 surround sound, the redesigned preset system, and a built-in rechargeable battery with 15 hours of play time. The company said the headset also has new Wi-Fi technology to eliminate interference.

The Ear Force XO One has 50mm drivers, removable mic and a $79.95 price tag.

All of the headsets are scheduled to be available in the fall.

Turtle Beach also announced new headsets for PC gamers and a Tournament Audio Controller (TAC).

Mad Catz revealed a few details of its upcoming Tritton headsets for the Xbox One. The Tritton Kunai stereo gaming headset will be “designed for extreme comfort,” Mad Catz said, while the Kama headset will have 40mm drivers and in-line audio controls. The Tritton Kaiken mono chat headset, meanwhile, is engineered to be worn on either the left or right ear. It too comes with in-line audio controls.

Pricing and availability weren’t provided at press time.

Polk, which first entered the gaming accessories category at last year’s E3, debuted the Striker headset at this year’s show. The model is billed as an affordable option for Xbox One gamers. Features include a built-in boom mic, a wireless adapter and a choice of three colors. It will be available in October for an $89.99 suggested retail.

Razer showed off its first device for cellphone gaming: the Junglecat gamepad controller for use with the iPhone 5 and 5s.

The Junglecat features a slider design meant to mimic an iPhone case, as well as AXBY pressure-sensitive buttons, a D-pad, bumpers and a 20mm-thin profile. A free app enables users to customize the buttons, adjust pressure sensitivity and store profiles. The app also notifies users when new compatible games become available.

Suggested retail is $99.99. It will come in black or white when it becomes available in July.

For headsets, the company partnered with Wargaming for a “World of Tanks” Kraken Pro headset, and it also added fluorescent colors to its Kraken headsets and headphones, which it called its best-selling line of the category. The new colors also mark the first time it has released a full colorway for a product, Razer said.

SteelSeries introduced a full-sized gaming controller meant for use with iOS devices. The Stratus XL is a larger-sized version of the company’s Stratus mini controller, which launched in January at International CES.

The XL version has a pressure-sensitive D-pad, four pressure-sensitive action buttons, four shoulder buttons, a Bluetooth pairing button, an on/off switch and a battery-level indicator. Up to four controllers can be simultaneously connected to a single device. According to SteelSeries, the controller can operate on two AA batteries for 40 hours of game play.

It will be available later this year. Pricing wasn’t set.


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