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CES Feature Articles

January 03, 2014

Eyes Front: Tobii & SteelSeries Want to Get Your Eyes in the Game

There are a lot of innovative peripherals showing up when it comes to video games, and increasingly popular is the move to get the head more into the game. Sure, we've seen motion controllers like Leap Motion and Microsoft (News - Alert)'s vaunted Kinect system try to revolutionize the way the game is played, and more and more the head itself is making a bigger play thanks to things like the Oculus Rift, the head-mounted display that promises virtual reality-style gameplay. But the Oculus Rift isn't the only such device around, as Tobii and SteelSeries are looking to get together to make the head the controller as well as the main visual input source.

Though right now, the Tobii and SteelSeries co-production is being played rather close to the vest in terms of specifics, the early word suggests that, when the device launches, it will launch in grand fashion, available to the public right on the launch. About the only word that's out about the device's actual functions so far says that the accessory will have its roots in the EyeX controller Tobii developed not so long ago, but SteelSeries notes that, though the device will be available for PCs first, there aren't any particular “limitations” that might prevent the device to go to consoles.

Further reports suggest that the launch will take place sometime this year, and those interested can actually get a developer kit for a discount with the arrival of the CES (News - Alert) 2014 event, with the price dropped to $95 from its current $195. Indeed, CES 2014 looks to be a big day for Tobii indeed, as it will be showing off the EyeX controller during the event.

Tobii and SteelSeries may have a winner here—reports suggest that the eye controls are pretty smooth and, when used with the proper kind of game, are actually quite engaging—but that win is likely going to have to come with playing nice with the Oculus Rift. The only real problem with the EyeX controller is that it's likely to be taking up the same head space that will be more likely devoted to Oculus Rift units once the gamers are able to get hands on that. Yes, the Tobii / SteelSeries creation does sound like fun, and given the right kind of game could be an exciting and engaging part of a gamers' normal roster, but it's going to have to compete with a device that promises a development that gamers have been craving since the 1990s: virtual reality.

Maybe the two devices could prove complementary; after all, being able to not only see the gameplay but control it by seeing it could work out well. But should it come down to a choice between the Oculus Rift and Tobii / SteelSeries' system, it seems like something of a foregone conclusion that the users will stick with the Rift. Only time will tell, of course, just how the whole thing fits together if at all, but it seems like Tobii and SteelSeries will have a lot to overcome to reach success on this.

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

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