The Consumer Electronics Show comes only once a year, so it’s no surprise that it’s one of the largest Tech shows in the US, let alone the world. Whether you’re into the latest in health tech, or you just want to dive into a new lineup of Ultra HD televisions, CES has something for everyone — including gamers.
Earlier this week, Max Level had the opportunity to sit down (or, rather, stand and walk) with Walter Duccini, the current Events Director for ASTRO gaming. With an arsenal of tough-hitting questions, tired ankles, and a somewhat winning smile, I was allowed a tour of ASTRO’s present and upcoming line-up of headsets for the experienced gamer.
ASTRO Gaming is on a mission — a mission to provide the world with high-quality, premier gaming equipment. Late last year, ASTRO Gaming celebrated their 7th anniversary, and they have shown no signs of slowing down. As it stands, ASTRO has produced a plethora of award winning gaming headsets, as well as bass and apparel used by even the most seasoned of gamers. Whether you’re playing in your living room or traveling the MLG circuit, ASTRO has something for you.
One of the most recent and seriously impressive pieces of equipment to come from ASTRO is the A38 Bluetooth Headset. Not only do they run on PTX low latency Bluetooth, but they combine the power with a state-of-the-art Active Noise Canceling technology. As soon as I fitted them to my ears, everything was instantly sucked away. It’s like slowly diving underwater — the world quietly disappears and you’re left with nothing but your own thoughts. Not only that, but the A38’s were beyond comfortable. With its foam interior and a design that rests atop your ears, it really feels like there’s nothing there. They’re decently lightweight, and the headset’s aesthetics are unmatched. The A38’s are also equipped with a multi-channel, noise canceling microphone system designed to pick up your voice — and your voice only. No longer do your team mates have to hear your significant other yelling at you to end your 12 hour League run.
And if you’re worried about charge life, never fear — the A38’s are equipped with a rechargeable Lithium Iron battery to provide long-lasting life for even the most extensive of gaming sessions. Gamers will be able to experience 15 hours of chat time, or 20 hours of pure listening bliss — all on a 5 hour charge. Although not compatible with consoles, ASTRO’s A38’s are able to be paired with any Bluetooth-enabled device, allowing you to take your gaming on the go. At the moment, ASTRO is offering an A38 beta program, allowing gamers special, limited-time only price to experience the best ASTRO has to offer. The pre-production units will be shipped in the next few weeks, and we can even see the A38’s available direct to consumer mid-2014. If all goes well, we can see full retail by the end of the year.
Another interesting aspect of ASTRO is something considered to be a lesser-known fact to the average consumer. In 2011, ASTRO Gaming was acquired by Skullcandy, an industry leader in headphone/music tech for a broad range of consumers. Talking more about the merge, Walter Duccini divulged a little truth about the partnership. “It’s a great thing,” Duccini stated, “because it allowed us to place the ASTRO design and style into a mass market product.”
“We’re now attempting to present Skullcandy in a more innovative light, as far as the gaming community is concerned,” Duccini continued. “By introducing a Skullcandy brand made with some of the same technologies as ASTRO, we’re able to provide premier quality headsets without compromising ASTRO’s brand.” By marketing Skullcandy’s latest headsets at an average price range of $80-$180, consumers will be able to preview ASTRO’s incredible and innovative headset technology without breaking their wallets.
Skullcandy’s SLYR retails for $79.99, and it’s the perfect headset in terms of quality and affordability. The innovative EZ stash mic is designed to hide away when you want to take your gaming on the go (or just answer those pesky calls), and Skullcandy’s precision for sound delivers extreme highs and a powerful bass. The over-the-ear design is great for a wide variety of players, and there’s little-to-no discomfort after extended use. The best part? It’s compatible with the PlayStation 4, and will soon be compatible with the Xbox One — pending Microsoft’s release of the mic adapter.
With partners such as EA, Riot, and Ubisoft, it’s anyone’s guess as to what’s next in line for ASTRO and Skullcandy. Although Duccini wouldn’t disclose any specifics, I can tell you that gamers can expect additional partnerships coming throughout 2014. When asked about the availability of Xbox One and PS4 products, Duccini admitted that “[ASTRO] is currently in development for Xbox one based products.”
2014 has only just begun, but the lineup for new tech is outstanding. Whether you’re on the hunt for a premier headset, or just looking for a way to better connect with your friends online, ASTRO and Skullcandy are once again proving why they are leaders in their respective categories.
Happy gaming, everyone! And, as always — thanks for reading, nerds.