Techies are all ears for gaming headsets

Technology market research firm TechNavio says the gaming-headset market is witnessing exponential growth worldwide because of the rapid adoption of gaming.
Technology market research firm TechNavio says the gaming-headset market is witnessing exponential growth worldwide because of the rapid adoption of gaming.ST PHOTO: TREVOR TAN
Technology market research firm TechNavio says the gaming-headset market is witnessing exponential growth worldwide because of the rapid adoption of gaming.
Technology market research firm TechNavio says the gaming-headset market is witnessing exponential growth worldwide because of the rapid adoption of gaming.ST PHOTO: TREVOR TAN

The devices have better audio driver tech, provide more privacy and block out noise from surroundings

When Mr Ang Chor Han's old gaming headset failed during a recent late-night session, he began searching for a replacement.

"I wanted a gaming headset because they come with mics, and have features like 7.1 surround sound," said the 26-year-old operations manager. "Most regular headphones don't come with mics so you have to use a clip-on, which can be a bit troublesome."

The growing number of gamers like Mr Ang, who like to don headsets when playing games and value good sonics, has led to the increasing popularity of gaming headsets worldwide over the past few years.

In a report last October, technology market research firm TechNavio pegged the annual growth of the global gaming headset market at 7.8 per cent from 2014 to 2019.

"The gaming headset market is witnessing exponential growth worldwide because of the rapid adoption of gaming," it said.

That trend is evident in Singapore as well.

"With increasingly better audio driver technologies installed in gaming headsets, they are definitely gaining more popularity," said Mr Tan Chee Ming, business development strategist at Singapore University of Technology & Design's Game Lab.

He added that another reason headsets are popular is that they "provide more privacy when communicating and lesser surrounding noise, as compared to desktop speakers".

WHAT MAKES A GAMING HEADSET?

One of the prerequisites of a gaming headset is having a microphone. "Microphones are much needed for quick communication between players in multi-player, fast-paced games," said Mr Tan.

Mr Zheng Yang Yun, general manager of audio retailer Treoo, said most gaming headsets have good passive noise isolation to block out noise from the surroundings. And they tend to have a more bassy sound signature,which helps when a player is listening to in-game explosions.

Mid- to high-end headsets may also have features such as in-built sound cards, which can process audio independently of a PC's onboard sound card to improve overall audio quality.

Finally, many gaming headsets also look the part, with RGB lighting or bold hues. "Striking colours add to the awesome cool gamer factor," said Mr Tan.

As for Mr Ang's gaming headset quest, he prioritised comfort over everything else.

"I mainly look for a gaming headset that's comfortable, lightweight and cooling, because there's no point in having good sound and awesome features if wearing it is going to bug you after 10 minutes of gaming," he said.

He ended up with the Kingston HyperX Cloud II, a purchase he is very pleased with.

"They are very comfortable, and really good, the best headset I've used so far."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 20, 2016, with the headline 'Techies are all ears for gaming headsets'. Print Edition | Subscribe