Plantronics first began developing headsets in the 1960′s in the avionics and the military sector, boasting an impressive lists of clients, including NASA and United Airlines. It wasn’t until the 1990′s that the company began branching into consumer-grade headsets. Gaming wasn’t really on their radar until the past decade. Its interest in gaming has since then grown to a full line of headsets at different price points and specifications to suit the varying needs of gamers.
A few weeks ago in Dallas, TX at Quakecon 2012, Plantronics showed off to me in secret their latest addition to their gaming line.
The new headset is beautiful, yet non-showy in all black and the simple color scheme harks back to the company’s roots. The design was based off of a military-grade headset meant for avionics, which, according to the company, wasn’t exactly built with comfort in mind. The company finally decided to revamp the design—to the relief of many a pilot’s temples and ears—when an avionics company approached the company with a comfort request.
After designing that line of headsets, the company wondered at the possibility of bringing products over to consumers—namely, gamers. After all, a headset with the noise-cancelling capabilities to block out the loudest plane engines for a pilot would also be the perfect tool for a gamer needing to maximize their concentration in a noisy competition setting. Why not convert a military-grade headset to meet the need of the consumer market?
Thus, the Plantronics GameCom Commander was born, a premium headset with a price point of $299. You’re not only paying for remarkable quality, but also rarity. Never mind the virtual 7.1 surround sound, velcro rebranding, and amazing noise cancelling featured on the Commander—there’s only a limited number of them being produced. The Plantronics representative pegged the number at around 10,000. Each of these headsets will be branded with a different serial number on the right ear cup as a way of marking how unique they are.
I noticed that Plantronics’s current line of headsets generally run on a lower price range from other manufacturers, usually targeted to a specific platform. I asked whether or not this $299 black beauty was Plantronics’s answer to top tier headsets, but the Commander is PC-only. Still, it’s a little early to discount Plantronics out of the top tier gaming headset market, as a representative hinted that “that’s coming.”
Here’s the rundown of features of the GameCom Commander:
- Unparalleled noise isolation technology
- Dolby® Pro Logic® IIx and Dolby Headphone technologies for a realistic 7.1 experience
- Superior professional grade fit and comfort with over-the-head ruggedized design
- Quick connect controls to PC, mobile or tablet with breakaway cords
- Numbered Limited Edition
- Case for tournament travel and storage
- Adhesive headband strip for branding and personalization
If you’re attending PAX Prime in Seattle (August 31 – September 2), you can put these cushy, comfortable cans on your own ears at the Plantronics booth (#1232).