I don’t like to write rants on the internet, even if they’re supposed to draw in more clicks and reads.
It’s not fun to be angry privately or professionally, and since I usually cover things I consider myself a fan of, I try to see the positives where I can.
Sometimes though, I’m inspired to write some good old-fashioned vitriol. Almost always, I’m frustrated at the way a product, even a good product, is being marketed.
Usually once I get it out of my system, a few people read it for a laugh and then I can move on with my life.
Except for in the case of two articles.
In the wake of the initial marketing pushes for the Steelseries Arctis Pro and the HyperX Cloud Mix, I exploded. And the internet continues to join me on my rage journey, even a year later.
The Arctis Pro leaned almost entirely into hi-res audio as its main selling point, a questionable thing to need unless you’re mixing audio at a professional level, and even more worthless for gamers since there’s no current games that support it.
HyperX also put hi-res drivers into their Cloud Mix. But even more egregiously, in spite of really wanting you to believe it from the name, the Mix doesn’t actually MIX together its wired and wireless sources. They’re two separate modes, and for the privilege of the Bluetooth receiver you’re paying a $100 premium over HyperX’s larger, more-comfortable Alpha headset.
And also $100 more than the Steelseries Arctis 3 Bluetooth, which does all of the same things and actually mixes its audio sources.
The HyperX Cloud Mix is Too Expensive
Value leader HyperX makes a gross move into the premium wireless headphone market, ignoring the competition.
I eventually reviewed both of these products…and Steelseries delivered in so many areas that weren’t hi-res audio. I still whined a bit about the high price of the headset, but there’s no denying it’s an exceptional-sounding nigh-unmatched product in the gaming audio space.
Steelseries even hired an outside R and D firm to help them mimic the sound signatures of popular audiophile headphones, and the result is one of the most neutral and accurate gaming products you can buy.
The extras they include arguably justify the high price.
But why-oh-why did they focus so much on hi-res audio in the marketing?
Why didn’t they say anything about the engineering that went into the sound, leaving it for a barely-viewed blog post? Why not say that it outperforms dedicated headphone/microphone combos that online gamers are so quick to recommend?
And why do hundreds of people read my rant article and completely ignore my review?
Every once in a while, someone will show up in the replies to my stupidly-titled hate article and say, “But Alex, everyone ended up loving this even though the marketing got wrapped up in hi-res hype!”
And I’m like, “I know! I reviewed them! I even edited in a link in giant BOLD letters at the top of the page you’re on right now!”
It confirms my suspicions about people not reading the article before commenting every single time it happens.
The HyperX article also continues to pile up reads…but it doesn’t bother me as much. While I liked the Mix on reviewing it, it’s not at all the best HyperX product in spite of being the highest-priced. And it has a deceptive name.
You could buy the Alpha or the Cloud Flight, get more value and sound for your money, and still have some left over for a cheaper Bluetooth headphone.
The moral of the story: If you don’t want me to rant at your gaming headset marketing, don’t hype up hi-res audio. It’s barely audible to humans and only really benefits the production pipeline. For the end consumer, it’s a waste of money and storage space. And games show no signs of embracing it.
I know that I could take the Steelseries article down if I don’t want people to keep reading it. But I keep hoping that folks will notice my review link, and I still think the points I made about the marketing are true.
I’m finally working on a review of the Arctis Pro Wireless, over a year late to the “party” of spending too much money on a gaming headset that has everything, and it brought all of this up in my mind again.
Please have a different opinion than me, and comment. That’s fine! As long as you’ve read my whole article.
And please don’t get taken in by crappy marketing for gaming headsets. It’s often brutal. It’s full of misdirections and lies, and buzzwords, and probably had zero input from the talented people who crafted the peripheral itself.
Not everyone does this, and I know it’s a challenge to describe the sound of something with words, but I still think gaming peripheral companies have, can, and should strive to do better.