E3 2011: Mad Catz Previewby Ken Laffrenier
There are many individuals and organizations throughout gaming today that see the business potential and the revenue generating capabilities of the electronics industry. But there are a very limited number that seem to understand the ebb and flow of the demands of the actual players that will drive this thriving behemoth. And there are only a handful of groups that are driving the direction of entertainment across consoles, platforms and our very senses; it is within this tiny handful that we find Mad Catz Interactive Inc.
At E3 2011, Mad Catz Global PR Manager Alex Verrey took a few minutes out of his busy schedule (groups of individuals were queued 75-100 deep just to get the chance to see the Mad Catz offerings) to showcase the new lineup of co-branded Xbox 360 licensed gaming headsets.
In keeping with the long tradition of moving entertainment forward Mad Catz had the wherewithal to acquire headset manufacturer Tritton Technologies. With acquisition in hand, it was inevitability that gamers would soon experience a top of the line, truly immersive, level of connectivity through a range of exclusive headsets.
At the very pinnacle of this exciting lineup is the ‘Warhead 7.1'. The Warhead features proprietary ‘truly wireless' hardware, meaning that there is no wired connection to your controller and no secondary dongle; simply pair the unit up with your console as you would any Xbox branded wireless components and your ready to enjoy a simulated 7.1 surround sound experience.
The Warhead puts the conversation power in the hands of the gamer; not only is the flexible boom mic removable (the headsets can utilize a 3.5mm auxiliary adapter to plug into other audio devices...where you may not need a microphone) but it also offers the ability to cancel the sound of your voice when chatting. This unique feature has been touted for some time and now with a quick switch you can choose to focus in on the sounds of your opponents or revel in the sound of your own voice. The mics include an easily accessible mute button and have an LED light in the tip to easily identify when the microphone is live.
Obviously, with any wireless component, battery life is of significant concern. The Warhead 7.1 addresses this by including a battery charger in the base as well as providing 2 batteries. Utilizing the proprietary hardware you are able to view, on your television, the battery life remaining....and when the time is right simply swap it out for the fresh battery from the charging base.
Mad Catz has had a long tradition of ensuring that their peripherals are accessible to all, and the Tritton line of headsets are no different. The Warhead 7.1 is at the top of the price point with the ‘Devastator' coming in at a mid range price point. The Devastator will utilize standard stereo sound and utilize AA batteries for the headset power. Both the Warhead 7.1 and the Devastator will include accessible volume and sync controls.
To round out the trio and to offer an entry level experience to the Tritton/Mad Catz family there is the ‘Detonator'. The Detonator is a usb wired solution utilizing standard stereo sound and inline volume controls but promises to deliver the same sound/chat experience as its wireless/pricier big brothers.
As of press date there is no firm price structure available but we do have assurances that none of the headsets will exceed the $300 mark (the actual term used was that ‘they will not approach the $300 mark'). All three models will be available before the 2011 Holiday season and keep an eye on Xboxaddict for details and reviews as they become available.