Creative has spent 2016 revitalizing its gaming division, and now it’s completing that process by getting back into the keyboard and mouse market.
Creative is launching the Sound BlasterX Vanguard Mechanical Keyboard and Siege Gaming Mouse with preorders available now (and at a discounted price). The new devices will begin shipping December 20. The Vanguard is a full-size keyboard with custom Omron switches that don’t need to travel as far as competing switches to activate. It also features media keys and Sound BlasterX’s Aurora RGB LED lighting, which is one of the stand out visual features of Creative’s impressive under-monitor Katana soundbar. The Siege is the company’s “professional-grade” gaming mouse, and it uses a PixArt IR LED sensor for 1:1 pixel precision. The Vanguard sells for $180 and the Siege will go for $80, but Creative is selling the keyboard for $100 and the mouse for $55 during the preorder stage that ends December 15.
“We’re extremely excited to be introducing two brand new high-performance gaming-grade peripherals into the Sound BlasterX pro-gaming line,” Creative general manager Long Chye Low said in a statement. “We’ve been here from the very beginning of PC gaming, and for three decades, Sound Blaster has broken boundaries with audio innovation and technologies. Our audio products have always provided a competitive edge for gamers in perceiving what’s going on around them in the game.”
As Low mentions, Creative has a long PC-gaming history. Sound Blaster was the go-to brand for soundcards for a decade before integrated chips on motherboards minimized that category. The company has continued to make soundcards for PC audiophiles while also producing speaker equipment, and now it’s rebooting its gaming efforts. This comes as that market continues to attract more competition. Kingston, a hardware brand known for making PC memory, has gone hard at that sector with its HyperX RAM, headsets, and now a keyboard. Companies like Razer and SteelSeries have established strong gaming brands over the last several years, and they regularly introduce new product categories to blanket the gaming consumer. But with Sound BlasterX’s first handful of products in 2016, Creative is off to a strong start. The aforementioned Katana is one of the smartest new PC-gaming audio solutions, and Creative’s H7 headset and G5 external soundcard both surprised me with their quality when I reviewed them in August.
While it feels like every company on Earth now has a gaming keyboard and mouse to offer, Creative obviously doesn’t want to get left out — especially when so many gamers want to build aesthetically appealing gaming PC rigs that share a common visual style. And to accomplish that, you often need to combine several peripherals and pieces of equipment from the same company so that the design language and special features like the RGB LED lighting all work together. If Creative can put the kind of engineering prowess it showed off in the Katana into its keyboard and mouse, then it could potentially win over a significant percentage of the gamer-related spending. And Low claims that’s exactly what Creative is doing.
“Our teams spent countless hours a day refining every intricate detail of the mouse and keyboard to ensure you get the highest quality and the best performance,” he said. “These gears are built not only to be durable and responsive, they are engineered to win; and with our cutting-edge audio giving you an unfair advantage, winning is no more left to chance.”