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Gamescom 2014: Razer gets colorful, Mad Catz mechanical, Speedlink doubles up

Mad Catz M.M.O. TE MMO gaming mouse.
Mad Catz M.M.O. TE MMO gaming mouse.
Mad Catz

A slew of new gaming gear announcements from Gamescom 2014 released today reveal a slew of interesting products. There's a mouse with 2 scroll wheels from Speedlink, a very colorful mechanical spider from Razer, and everyone's favorite gang of Angry Kitties (Mad Catz) is finally releasing a mechanical keyboard and an MMO gaming mouse. Read on for a quick round up.

Razer's flagship BlackWidow Ultimate gaming keyboard is going to get a whole lot more colorful in 2014.

Mad Catz gets mechanical with the S.T.R.I.K.E. TE and adds an MMO mouse to the family

Mad Catz new S.T.R.I.K.E. TE (Tournament Edition) keyboard continues their tradition of abusing periods in product names. It includes an aluminum chassis, 109 brown mechanical keys, and 30-key rollover anti-ghosting. The S.T.R.I.K.E.TE also features multi-zone illuminated backlighting, dedicated macro buttons.

The S.T.R.I.K.E.TE will be available in matte black, gloss black, gloss white, and gloss red colors for about $130 at launch, which puts it in line with most mechanical gaming keyboards. For additional information or to pre-order your own S.T.R.I.K.E.TE, go here.

Joining the S.T.R.I.K.E. TE will be the Mad Catz M.M.O. TE, a mouse boasting up to 8200DPI and a Razer Naga-like 12-button thumb grid for all your favorite MMO (massively multiplayer online) games. The thumb grid is more stylized with shaped buttons, however, and at least at face value looks like it would be easier to navigate by touch than Razer's Naga. At about $68 it looks like a good deal.

For additional information or to pre-order an M.M.O.TE, go here.

Razer gets really, really colorful with a new BlackWidow and more new peripherals

Razer today announced that their upcoming 2015 lineup of gear is about to get a lot more colorful with Razer Chroma. Chroma will enable devices (headsets, keyboards, etc.) to show 16.8 million colors and synchronize colors across your products, so you can make sure all your peripherals don't clash. More interestingly, Chroma includes an SDK, should any game developers want to integrate support for it in their games. This would make games capable of changing your peripheral colors based on in-game activity--for example, turning your keyboard green if you're poisoned.

On a side note, Roccat gaming gear has long-supported a similar feature (Roccat F/X), but to my knowledge no developers have ever supported it directly. We'll see if Razer is any better at roping in developer support.

The upcoming BlackWidow Ultimate Chroma will enable you to change the color of every single key on the keyboard independently of one another -- even surpassing the SteelSeries Apex and its support for 5 distinct color 'zones'. Various color options, such as breathing, pulse, or even a wave that 'washes' over the device will also be available. (I can also imagine a variety of potential pranks that might be used on a Chroma keyboard to spell out or draw pictures with some clever color manipulation...)

Razer Chroma will be integrated into Razer Synapse software and coordinate across all of your Chroma-capable devices--which will begin shipping September 2014 with the Razer BlackWidow Ultimate Chroma edition. A Chroma-enabled Deathadder and Kraken 7.1 will follow in 2015.

Speedlink doubles down on scroll wheels

Why settle for one scroll wheel on a mouse when you can have 2? At Gamescom 2014 Speedlink unveiled the PRIME Z-DW Double Wheel gaming mouse. In addition to its extra programmable buttons, the added scroll wheel can be customized and assigned complex macros. You can also use it to cycle between sets of macros.

Also interesting is Speedlink's KUDOS Z-9 gaming mouse--although more specifically, its software. The KUDOS Z9 is accompanied by a smartphone app (Android/iOS are both supported) that you can use to program the mouse without leaving a game or even needing the drivers installed. I suspect more smartphone integration and innovation may become more popular in gaming peripherals in the coming years.

Pricing and availability have not been announced.

Plantronics rigs the RIG with surround sound

Plantronics announced a surround sound RIG headset -- the RIG Surround -- that will be available for a budget-friendly $99 in time for the holidays this year. I've already reviewed the current (stereo) RIG, which I ended up liking more than I anticipated. Add Dolby 7.1 surround sound to the feature list and drop the price, and it sounds like the new RIG will be an attractive option.

SteelSeries announces a heroic mouse and falls flat with Dex

SteelSeries 'big reveal' was at E3 this year: The SteelSeries Sentry. At Gamescom, they announced a new licensed gaming mouse based off of Blizzard's Heroes of the Storm MOBA. The mouse is based on the SteelSeries Sensei [RAW]’s design and performance. In addition, it includes 3 lighting zones, profile storage via SteelSeries Engine 3 software, and an adjustable CPI (DPI) range up to 5700. The Heroes of the Storm mouse will retail for $69.99 and is slated to arrive later this year.

SteelSeries also announced 2 new mouse mats. The first is a Heroes of the Storm branded mat based on the SteelSeries QcK mousemat. It will retail for $14.99 and arrive with its sibling mouse (above). You can read more about the Heroes of the Storm products here.

The other mouse mat is a new one to the SteelSeries lineup called the SteelSeries Dex. Granted, it's kind of hard to get excited about a new mouse mat, even if it is "created from a low-friction polymer material". It also "...features a unique pattern that acts as an optimal tracking surface for both optical and laser mice alike." In short: it's rubbery, it's textured, and it's all good (for all mice).

The DeX will be available later this fall for pre-order at $39.99 MSRP.

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