Gadgets

SteelSeries gets serious about Competitive Gaming, offers eye-tracking hardware and mobile controllers

This year SteelSeries, one of the best hardware manufacturers gamers can have in their corner, has announced several new hardware options at E3 2014. One of those announcements, will surely interest competitive players. The eye-tracking technology that the company unveiled today, “is specifically designed and optimized for gamers,” the company states in its pre-E3 press-release.
 
The company hopes to set a new standard in the industry stating, “In a partnership forged earlier this year with Tobii Technology, the global leader in eye tracking, SteelSeries is introducing the Sentry Eye Tracker. This virtual, visual coach provides players with the ability to track, analyze and benchmark eye movement and behaviors during gameplay in order to improve and ultimately win.”
 
“When you think about the concept of eye tracking, you immediately think of innovation and next generation technology; apply that to gaming and you have something truly unique for gamers,” said Tino Soelberg, SteelSeries CTO. “At its core, the Sentry employs eye-tracking functionality from our partner, Tobii, who has been a pioneer in eye tracking across many industries. When you take that core functionality and apply the deep gaming expertise of SteelSeries, we think we are able to offer a product that is innovative and incredibly beneficial to gamers.”
 
The SteelSeries Sentry Eye Tracker: (as detailed by the company)
brings players an entirely new way to train for competitive gaming, by allowing the player to analyze a wide range of statistics based on where and how long a user focused, or fixated, on the screen. Fixations per Minute (FPM) tracks how often a user moves his or her eye gaze and attention around the screen; low values indicate that the gamer is able to process a lot of information. For comparison, FPM in eye tracking is the same type of correlation as APM or the total numbers of actions per minute a player can perform.
 
In order to provide gamers with a standard for their eye-tracking stats, SteelSeries is working with some of the world’s top-performing professional gamers to establish peak performance goals. This benchmarking will allow users to compare their eye movements in gaming sessions with those of professional-level champions. It’s these benchmark comparisons that will allow users to gain deeper insight into how to use their eyes to improve their game.
 
Chief Gaming Officer and former captain of Team Fnatic, Patrik ‘cArn’ Sättermon, who believes in the value and benefit of innovative technologies like eye-tracking said, “We are constantly looking for ways to improve, even if its improvement at a granular level, that will sometimes be the difference between death and victory. Our players are incredibly motivated to not only use the Sentry Eye Tracker for their own gaming, but to be able to create standards that other players can measure their progress against.”
 
OPTICAL INNOVATION
 
Beyond the features of analyzing and benchmarking, the Sentry Eye Tracker also has the capability to enhance gameplay by using eye movement as a new type of in-game control. SteelSeries and Tobii are working together to offer this functionality in the future. With the capacity to operate and control games with eye movement, the game enhancement opportunities are endless.
 
SteelSeries and Tobii will also work with additional partners to implement eye-tracking functionality into other platforms specifically dedicated towards gamers. For example, Overwolf is working with the Sentry to optimize the social aspect of gaming by implementing its overlay application with eye-tracking accessibility. It will provide users of the SteelSeries Sentry with instant access to their social media channels and web, as well as the ability to share their gaming sessions amongst community and friends.
 
The SteelSeries Sentry Eye Tracker will be available to gamers later this year.
 
Also announced was the mobile wireless controller, offering more precision and features for gamers on the go. “We have been working for well over a year now on perfecting the wireless controller experience for iOS devices. We have been incredibly impressed by the way the SteelSeries Stratus has been received by consumers so far and we are looking forward to introducing the Stratus XL to the iOS gaming community – who have been asking for a full-sized controller option,” said Tino Soelberg, SteelSeries CTO. “The Stratus XL was designed to meet their demands, delivered with the premium features and top-to-bottom quality expected from SteelSeries.”
 
SteelSeries-Stratus-Mobile-Feature
 
The Stratus XL Wireless Gaming Controller features a console-style layout with a pressure-sensitive directional pad (D-pad), 4 pressure-sensitive action buttons along with a total of 4 shoulder buttons – 2 pressure-sensitive top shoulder buttons and 2 analog trigger bottom shoulder buttons. In addition to dual analog sticks, Stratus XL includes a dedicated pairing button to connect to iOS devices via Bluetooth and a convenient on/off switch to save on power. The Stratus XL will deliver an estimated 40 hours of gameplay with two standard AA batteries; a battery life indicator is located on the underside of the device.
 
Similar to the Stratus, the highly-rated wireless iOS controller that launched earlier this year at CES, the new controller features red LED indicator lights found in the middle of the controller that displays the number of controllers or players connected during multi-player gameplay – allowing up to 4 controllers to connect to a single device.
 
Pricing & Availability
 
The SteelSeries Stratus XL Wireless Gaming Controller will be available later this year on SteelSeries.com and at other retailers. For more information about the Stratus XL Controller, please visit steelseries.com/stratusxl.