Panasonic plays to long-session gamers with immersive neckband speaker
Panasonic has joined forces with Japanese game developer Square Enix to launch a neckband speaker specifically for gamers at Gamescom 2021, which offers surround-sound, immersive listening without needing to plug in headphones.
Though headphones can get you much closer to the sounds of battle than, say, external speakers, gamers in for the long haul can suffer pinch and heat problems after a while. Panasonic's SoundSlayer Wearable Immersive Gaming Speaker System, the SC-GN01, are worn around the neck and rest on the shoulders, so should present no such comfort issues.
The 244-g (8.6-oz) unit envelops the user in a sweet spot of "realistic surround sound" using four strategically placed full-range speakers rocking neodymium magnets and a "high-performance signal processor." It's not wireless, and will need to be powered over USB, with cabled audio connections to consoles, computers and such like via 3.5-mm jack or USB, depending on the gaming device used.
Three sound profiles designed specifically for gamers are cooked in, with noise- and echo-canceling dual MEMS microphones also included for clear, natural comms. One sound mode is best suited to role-playing environments like Final Fantasy XIV Online, a FPS (first-person shooter) profile promises "accurate audio location so users can hear subtle sounds, such as footsteps," and the Voice option makes for dialog clarity during such things as adventure gaming.
Panasonic hasn't forgotten other user groups though, and has also included a mode for music lovers, and another for movie watchers.
The SoundSlayer Wearable Immersive Gaming Speaker System goes on sale in October. US pricing has not been revealed as yet, but as a general guide, Sony's similarly game-centric wearable speaker is priced at US$174.99. The video below has more.
Product page: SC-GN01