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Gaming Accessories Manufacturers Storm E3 In L.A.

LOS ANGELES — All of the major accessories players held court at this year’s Electronics Entertainment Expo (E3), staged here earlier this month. Here TWICE has collected a roundup of some new accessories that debuted.

Turtle Beach showed off several new PlayStation3 and Xbox 360 gaming headsets (all models can also be used with both systems).

The PX3 programmable wireless stereo headset, announced just prior to E3, is billed as the “kid brother” to the Ear Force PX5 model introduced in February. The PX3 comes preloaded with 18 interchangeable audio presets, with additional stereo audio presets to be made available for download from the company’s website. It is the company’s first headset with a rechargeable battery pack, said to offer more than 10 hours of uninterrupted game play. Suggested retail is $149.

The Ear Force Z6A multi-speaker surround-sound headset ($99.95), also announced just prior to the show, features eight amplified speakers, dual subwoofers, oversized mesh ear cushions, quick-disconnect cable and USB power.

These two PS3 headsets will ship in the summer. Turtle Beach also took the wraps off two Xbox 360 models, the Ear Force XP500 programmable wireless gaming headset and the Ear Force XL1 amplified stereo gaming headset. Both will ship in the fall for respective suggested retails of $269 and $39.95.

The XP500 boasts Dolby 7.1 surround sound and wireless Xbox 360 chat via Bluetooth. Specs include programmable custom presets, dualpairing Bluetooth functionality, and microphone monitoring. It can function wirelessly with the Xbox 360 right out of the box, Turtle Beach said.

The entry-level XL1 is geared toward casual gamers and has an in-line amplifier, built-in bass boost, independent controls for the game and chat volume, 50mm drivers and fabric mesh ear cushions.

SteelSeries also debuted a new gaming headset, part of a co-branding partnership with Blizzard Entertainment for its Diablo III video game.

The SteelSeries Diablo III family of gaming accessories includes a headset, mouse and two QcK mouse pads.

The headset features 50mm drivers, over-the-head suspension design, closed leather ear cups, uni-directional retractable microphone, in-line volume and mute controls, and a USB connector. It is the company’s first illuminated headset, with 18 LED lights, and has on/off illumination and three levels of pulsation options.

Suggested retail is $119.

The Diablo III mouse ($69.99) has a 5,000 cpi laser sensor, seven ergonomically positioned buttons, ambidextrous shape, and three areas of illumination with three levels of pulsation. All seven mouse buttons can also be quickly remapped for a personalized setup, SteelSeries said.

The mouse pads come in two designs, both with non-slip rubber bases: the Barbarian edition and the Witch Doctor edition. Each has a $14.99 suggested retail.

Joining the fray of Xbox 360 headset introductions was Mad Catz, co-branded under the Tritton and Xbox 360 brands. Darren Richardson, Mad Catz president and CEO, noted, “Gaming audio is an important part of our business and will be a key growth driver for our fiscal 2012. Furthermore, we believe that our audio products could account for 40 to 50 percent of our sales in the next 12 to 18 months.”

Three models were announced: two wireless versions and a wired version.

The Tritton Warhead 7.1 Dolby wireless surround headset uses Wireless Xbox Live voice communications. It features 50mm drivers, two hot-swappable rechargeable battery packs, selective voice monitoring, and independent voice and game volume controls with mic and game mute.

The Tritton Devastator wireless stereo headset also has selective voice monitoring, as well as an analog input.

The Tritton Detonator stereo headset has 50mm drivers, selective voice monitoring, and independent voice and game mute and volume through a wired in-line remote.

Pricing and shipping information weren’t given.

For the multi-platform gamer, DreamGear introduced the TriMount, a mount that can hold the Xbox 360 Kinect Sensor, PlayStation Eye and Nintendo Wii Sensor Bar all at the same time atop a flat-panel TV or wall.

The TriMount is foam-padded and will be available in August for $29.99.

Razer announced it has teamed with Electronic Arts for several co-branded lines based on EA’s video games.

For these exclusive EA-licensed product lines, Razer will manufacture a variety of headsets, mice, mouse pads, keyboards, Xbox 360 controllers, bags and other accessories.

“By working closely with EA, Razer is providing an avenue for the major game publisher to use their software and our hardware to create synergy, giving gamers an exciting and unparalleled gaming experience unattainable elsewhere,” said Min-Liang Tan, CEO and creative director of Razer. “We are challenging ourselves to create peripherals that add a level of immersion to video game titles that we are deeply passionate about.”