Audio in gaming is an important, if somewhat secondary, concern for many gamers. While the proper audio can add an extra punch to games, there are still plenty who turn off a game's included audio to allow self-made soundtracks to work instead. But audio can make a good game into a great one, and to that end, Plantronics announced it was teaming up with Sony to bring powerful new audio capability to several PlayStation devices.
More specifically, Plantronics will bring out the Plantronics RIG, an officially-licensed device set to work with not only the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4, but also the PlayStation Vita handheld device. The Plantronics RIG is a headset system, which includes both audio headset and built-in microphone that allows for both incoming and outgoing audio to help ensure that gamers can hear and be heard throughout gameplay. Plus, there's also a kind of mixer system that includes three different EQ profiles, with the appropriately evocative names of Intensify, Pure, and Seismic. But there's also a fuller mixer option included so that users can regulate sound levels for voice chat and soundtracks, as well as including the ability to handle some audio calling as it works with smartphones as well.
Peripherals business manager for Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, Judy Ward, offered up some commentary on the release, noting “Whether in the living room or on the go, PlayStation offers immersive gaming experiences, and new, connected ways to enjoy media. With its recognized commitment to innovation, Plantronics was a natural partner as we look for solutions that offer the high-quality audio and clear communication essential to deliver the best PlayStation experience.”
In something of an odd development, though, these will be emerging in several different places once said devices arrive on the market—specifically, Europe, the Middle East, and the Oceania region, which covers places like Australia, New Zealand, and several neighboring islands—but among these places is not the North American market, a development that's strange by most any standard. But it's one that may make some sense, especially given that the device will be making an appearance at the Gamescom 2014 event, currently taking place in Cologne, Germany, for those who want to try one on and see how it sounds.
It's odd that one of the world's primary markets is being overlooked in terms of a gaming peripheral, but then, Plantronics had to start somewhere. Maybe Plantronics regarded the North American market as too crowded with such peripherals, thanks to companies like Razer, Logitech and Turtle Beach. Indeed, it might have been an uphill battle for Plantronics in the United States, so maybe the company decided to stick to somewhat less crowded, but still very much important, markets. Though if that were the case, it's a wonder Plantronics didn't go after the Chinese market, which is poised for huge growth.
Still, it's an interesting development, and with holiday shopping season afoot, the Plantronics RIG is likely to see plenty of interested gamers buying, or at least, the families and friends of interested gamers looking for Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa presents. This is likely to be a tool that's quite well-received, and should help push Plantronics and Sony sales figures going into what should be the busiest time of year for both.
Edited by Maurice Nagle