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Turtle Beach isn’t so turtle-like. In fact, it has to move more like a hare these days. The maker of gaming headsets is cranking out the latest wireless and wired audio gear at the Consumer Electronics Show today. And their latest products show that disruption has come every part of the gaming business. Turtle Beach now has to make its headsets on the assumption that gamers are going to play on many devices, not just one.
The line-up includes sleek black headsets aimed at turning the heads of hardcore gamers who play titles such as the bestselling Call of Duty: Black Ops II. The headsets are also designed to be usable across consoles, PCs, and mobile devices. For Turtle Beach, this represents a strategic expansion into the PC and mobile gaming headset markets.
Valhalla, N.Y.-based Turtle Beach is one of the biggest providers of audio headsets in the game industry. It is expanding because gamers are changing as well. About 24 percent of players regularly play games on a console, a PC, and a mobile device, according to MocoSpace.
The new wireless headsets include the Ear Force XP510 for Xbox ($290, available in the first quarter) and the Ear Force PX51 for the PlayStation 3 ($270, available in the Q1). The headsets use Turtle Beach’s proprietary digital signal processor, Dolby Digital surround sound, dual-band Wi-Fi for an interference-free connection, a rechargeable lithium polymer battery with a 15 hour lifespan, and Bluetooth technology. The latter enables cable-free wireless chat.
The company is also launching its Ear Force Seven Series headsets. These are tournament-grade headsets that will also be targeted at the rest of us. The models include the Ear Force XP Seven for console gaming ($280, available in Q1); Z Seven for PC gaming ($250, available in Q1); and M Seven for mobile gaming ($250, available in Q1). The interesting thing about that last headset is that it probably costs more than most smartphones on two-year subscription plans. The Seven Series headsets are the same across all platforms and have interchangeable cable kits. They have removable boom microphones and in-line microphones.
The Seven Series headsets for console and PC come with Turtle Beach’s state-of-the-art, touch capacitive Audio Control Unit, which gives players the ability to instantly change the mix of game, chat and microphone audio levels.Players can also use a sound editor to replace standard audio presets with customized audio mixes.
Turtle Beach is selling a TM1 audio mixer for $250 now for use with the Seven Series headsets. It offers communication for up to six players on the same team, or two teams of three players. Turtle Beach is also unveiling the Ear Force PX22, a universal wired headset that upgrades the earlier PX21. It has a variable Bass and Treble Boosts, Dynamic Chat Boost and a 4-pole connector for compatibility with mobile devices. The PX22 will sell for $80 and be available in the second quarter.
Turtle Beach will also offer the Z300 headset with high-end features, and a USB-powered Z22 headset for PC gamers. Details on those will be announced later.