It’s always cool when a gaming company pulls back the curtain and lets us see how our experiences are made possible. Audio company EPOS did just this recently with “The Power of Audio in Gaming.” This livestream event had several key players in the company show the science behind gaming headsets, and prove why audio is a key element and not just a cherry on top of the “main” experience.
You can watch a session of the event on YouTube, in which Danish TV host and tech journalist David Guldager took to a virtual stage. He welcomed EPOS leadership as they talked tech amidst a futuristic background that flashed with the EPOS logo. Zoom calls also brought several sound designers in. They started by delving into how exactly the brain processes sound.
The argument given what that the ear gives the brain signals, and this “neural code” decides how we ultimately perceive the sound. So we really hear with our brain, not our ears–at least for the purposes of designing a good headset. As such, EPOS focuses on certain key factors to help the sound reach the brain faster and more clearly. This consideration is what goes into the cup and frame design for EPOS headsets. The goal is to make sure the fit is perfect and sound is unimpeded as it travels to the ear and eventually the brain.
Another deep dive went into the shape of the human ear. I know, it sounds absolutely fascinating, but EPOS identified pain points. In particular, there are places of the ear that aren’t flexible, and that’s where a lot of discomfort happens. There was mention of how new EPOS wireless earbuds will adjust around these points. I hope this is true, because pain is definitely something that has turned me off earbuds in the past.
Going along with the earbud talk, a point was made to talk about mobile gaming and its rising prevalence. 2020 was huge for mobile, not only because of the pandemic but because of big hits like Genshin Impact. There are even competitive Fortnite streamers that play on mobile. With mobile proving itself an equal force to console/PC gaming, the market for mobile-specific audio equipment is big.
This later lead to a review of the products EPOS has already released to show how these lessons have been applied. We see the greatest quality in the 600 series, which benefits from a lot of the research into the brain. The mobile discussion lead to the GTW 270, EPOS’ first earbuds. Our reviewer found they were “like putting loud slippers on your ears.” So clearly all that pain points stuff paid off.
By this point in history, we’ve learned a lot about the human body and how it reacts to certain stimuli. But video games are a relatively new technology. There’s still a lot to think about, and “The Power of Audio in Gaming” shows how even a simple headset is a big science project.
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