Besides seeing all of the newest and upcoming video games at E3 you also get treated to a lineup of innovative gaming peripherals, especially when a new console cycle is about to launch. Mad Catz has been in the business of creating high-end gaming hardware for more than a decade, and at E3 2013 they were showing a slew of new items that will be coming to market later this year. But it’s not just controllers and keyboards this time; Mad Catz is also stepping into the console space. Here are three items that caught our eye, and why you should pay attention to them.
M.O.J.O Android Micro Console
If you’ve been following Kickstarter, you might have seen the Ouya micro gaming console that recently made its way into the hands of gamers. It’s an Android-based system that connects to your television, offering the chance to play games on the big screen that might have been confined to your PC, tablet, or smartphone before. Mad Catz is getting into the same game, and will be launching its own console later this year.
The M.O.J.O. is an open platform console that won’t be getting any of its own, dedicated games. Instead, you connect it to your TV and then sign in to access your Amazon and Google Play from there. The console also comes with Mad Catz’ new C.T.R.L. Wireless GamePad that connects via Bluetooth. The GamePad features a “Mouse Mode” that allows you to use mouse controls to play touchscreen games (like Angry Birds) on the M.O.J.O.
The M.O.J.O. is much smaller than the Rubiks Cube-sized Ouya, and it looks more like the battery pack for another piece of equipment than an entire console. We were taken through the rudimentary menus in the M.O.J.O, and learned that it isn’t just confined to games. You can access all of your Amazon/Google apps here, as well as locally stored videos, allowing playback on the console.
We’re still waiting on details like pricing and system specs, although you can see in the photos that there’s an SD slot to compliment the “no less than 16GB of onboard storage,” according to Mad Catz. We do know it supports Bluetooth 4.0, and the GamePad itself also includes a stand that can hold a mobile device, similar to PowerA’s MOGA Controller. Both the M.O.J.O. and the C.T.R.L. are expected to ship this holiday season, so we’ll look for more news in the months ahead.
Arcade FightStick Tournament Edition 2 for Xbox One
Yes, the name “Arcade FightStick Tournament Edition 2 for Xbox One” is slightly confusing with the two and the one both in there, but this new controller is one of the first designed for Microsoft’s new console, and it has several innovations. First, the top is now hinged, allowing easy access to the guts inside, so you can change your components and also swap out the graphics plate. It also has two carry points on the back that can connect to the included shoulder strap, making it easier to lug this thing over to your buddy’s house or to a tournament. There are also some top secret buttons near the top that Mad Catz is “not yet ready to discuss,” so we’re not quite sure what those do.
The FightStick itself was name-dropped during Microsoft’s E3 press conference, and was used to show off Killer Instinct gameplay. Mad Catz was one of the only companies outside of Microsoft to have an Xbox One at their booth on the show floor, and they had Killer Instinct on-hand for demos. We weren’t allowed to open the hinged top because “these are early versions, and they are a mess under there,” according to Mad Catz, but we’re eager to see how the customization features don’t require you to disassemble your controller. The new Tournament Edition 2 is expected to ship this holiday season, and we’ll be getting a price point and more feature details later.
F.R.E.Q. 4D Gaming Headset for Windows PC and Smart Devices
Rounding out the newest tech at the Mad Catz booth was a rumbling sensation for your ears, and we don’t mean really low bass. Mad Catz has long been associated with quality headphones, especially under their Tritton brand, but now they are moving into a new dimension with headphones via ViviTouch 4D technology, which translates audio on the fly to movement. Rumble is about the best way to describe it, and it’s a fairly interesting innovation when you think about it in relation to PC gaming. While console gamers have long had hand controllers that can rumble to give them different indicators, PC gaming has been locked into the mouse and keyboard for quite some time, both without rumble.
The F.R.E.Q. 4D addresses that gap by having your ears feel the rumble. It’s a subtle difference, and it isn’t a separate piece of encoding with the audio, so we aren’t sure how games will take direct advantage of it. But the experience is novel, and the headphones sound great either way, bringing added punch to explosions and gunfire. The kit also includes a detachable cable, so you can swap from USB to a 3.5mm jack, allowing you to plug them into a phone or other mobile device.
That’s what stood out for us at the show, although we’re sure Mad Catz will be busy bringing out even more products soon. Hopefully we’ll have updates on these three items shortly. We’ll pass the news on as soon as we have it.