One of the most interesting gaming gear products at E3 2011 wasn’t a mouse, keyboard, or a controller of any kind—it was a pair of LED ‘gaming light’ pods from gaming peripheral maker Mad Catz.
The Mad Catz Cyborg gaming lights, created in conjunction with ambient light specialist company amBX, are a pair of hinged, adjustable clamshell-like pods designed to augment your gaming environment by casting ambient reactive lighting that extends and complement the colors appearing on your screen. The Cyborg gaming lights are capable of casting light from a palette of 16 million colors, and they work with any game or movie. They can also be used to enhance your music listening.
How it works
The Cyborg gaming lights basically use a memory-resident software driver to interpret on-screen color information and location, and then extend it by emitting colors to match.
For example, a pair of Cyborg amBX gaming lights aimed at your back wall could cast yellow-orange hues to enhance the fiery explosion you just caused in Bioshock Infinite, or augment the color effects of spells you’re hurling in The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim.
Similarly, the Cyborg gaming lights can extend environmental colors from your screen to your walls, enhancing and immersing you deeper into your game or movie. This could add considerable tension to the haunted ruins or a dead star ship in your favorite survival horror game. And those blood-splattering eviscerations might be even more dramatic accompanied by a spray of red light.
The Cyborg gaming lights provide an even better experience for games written specifically to support them through their programming/scripting language. This allows a game to use the lights ‘proactively’ and give game makers another way to manipulate and enhance their game’s environment. Funcom’s Age of Conan and Ubisoft’s Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway are among the first games that have formally announced support for the technology.
Although a pair of Cyborg amBX gaming lights will set you back $99 and consume a single USB port, you aren’t limited to just two of them. You can have as many connected to your PC as your USB connections will allow for, so if you’re willing to lay out the cash you can add 4, 6, 8 or more Cyborg gaming lights to your system or a completely immersive ‘surround color’ experience.
The Cyborg amBX gaming light technology also works with movies and music. Augment those fantastic scenes in James Cameron’s Avatar or turn your gaming den into a disco den with a colorful array complementing those lame 2D effects in your favorite media player. (Someone should probably work out a deal to bundle these with Pink Floyd albums, not to mention ensure they come with a seizure warning label…)
Originally announced at CES 2011, the Cyborg Gaming Lights should be hitting online e-tailers and Mad Catz’s online store ($99 for a pair) “very soon” according to Alex Verrey, the Lord of Public Relations at Mad Catz. Included with the Cyborg Gaming Lights (as well as the Cyborg Gaming Keyboard with amBX technology) are trial versions of EverQuest II and Age of Conan: Rise of the Godslayer.