VR Audio Hits E3 Expo

More than 70,000 people participated in the recent Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in downtown Los Angeles, and 20,000 fans attended E3 Live.
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Los Angeles, CA (June 24, 2016)—More than 70,000 people participated in the recent Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in downtown Los Angeles, and 20,000 fans attended E3 Live.

The global video game event displayed more than 1,600 products from more than 250 exhibitors. E3 Live, the first E3 event to be open to the general public, was held at L.A. Live and featured gameplay demos, live music and dance contests, and special appearances.

“Gamers were the winners at E3 this year. The advancements in technology unveiled at E3 will redefine entertainment for the world,” said Michael D. Gallagher, president and CEO of ESA, the trade association that represents the U.S. video game industry and owner of E3.

While the focus was largely on the latest and upcoming video games, this was, as expected, the year that virtual reality went mainstream. Yet post-show reviews of the products and games available have been decidedly mixed.

There were complaints that Sony’s PlayStation VR (codename Morpheus) made people nauseous. The consensus was that PSVR’s hardware could only run games at 60 frames per second, whereas 90 fps has become the industry standard.

Fans were scandalized to learn that Facebook’s Oculus marketing strategy has involved paying developers large sums of money for exclusivity rights. Meanwhile, Google, Magic Leap, Disney and director Michael Bay are all said to be forging ahead on the development of their respective VR and mixed reality experiences. It seems that 2017 is more likely to be VR’s big coming out party; Nintendo and Microsoft are holding off on big product VR launches until next year, PSVR won’t be available until late this year and Oculus has had trouble fulfilling its Rift VR headset pre-orders due to an “unexpected component shortage.”

Hardware highlights at the show included Alienware’s PC backpacks, enabling users of high-power tethered VR headsets to move around freely. On the audio side, industry giant Turtle Beach launched several products at E3 after its non-appearance at the 2016 CES, including its new Elite Pro Headset, which is optimized for chat. Turtle Beach’s new Tactical Audio Controller provides independent control of background noise, the mic send level, mic monitor level, the balance between game audio and chat, and the overall level. DTS 7.1 surround is also supported.

But perhaps most interesting was Turtle Beach’s prototype HyperSonic Glass, the latest addition to its patented—25 patents to date, with 27 more pending—ultrasonic audio beam technology product line. HyperSonic is a virtual audio source that can produce a 3D effect and has applications in retail, museums and other locations. At E3, Glass was being demonstrated in a single sheet with the audio split to generate a beamed stereo image. The technology offers the potential for highly focused and localized sound when built into TV and computer displays.

E3 Expo
www.e3expo.com