It’s not too often we see a truly novel gaming accessory; generally speaking companies are happy to slap a few stickers or a new coat of paint on existing controllers and headsets and call it a day. SteelSeries is changing that up with one of its new E3 launch devices this year – the Sentry Eye Tracker. The Sentry packs some eye-tracking expertise courtesy of Tobii, a Swedish startup we’ve covered in the past that has worked for years on hardware to monitor a computer user’s eye movements and provides interactive experiences that can be controlled by a user’s gaze.
There are a few people working on this problem, including The Eye Tribe, which took part in this year’s TechCrunch Hardware Battlefield at CES. Most have been looking to build the eye-tracking tech into tablets and PCs for the purposes of giving users the ability to look where they want their character to point in games, for instance, or automatically scroll through documents and web pages, auto-pause video playback and more.
In-game control is part of what the Sentry can offer, and planned for future software features, including calling up in-game social consoles and sharing, but the initial launch targets a different use case – coaching. The Sentry is designed to gather and report data about where a gamer looks and how they use their gaze and attention during a play session. It can track things like Fixations per Minute, which tells you how often you’re flitting your eyes around, and getting that number lower is apparently correlated with being able to process a lot of information at once.
Benchmarks will be established based on the world’s best-performing professional gamers, and then there will be tips and advice for Sentry owners to help get their numbers in line with the best in the biz.
Hey, pro athletes make a lot of money selling training gadgets, advice and software that promise performance improvements to amateurs and hobbyists, so why not gaming, too? SteelSeries might’ve found the most practical current use of eye tracking, too, but we’ll have to wait until this device ships in the fall to find out.