CES 2019: Razer HyperSense first look

Shacknews walked the CES 2019 floor and got a first look at Razer HyperSense, getting a good sense of how this could change the face of PC gaming as everyone knows it.

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Haptic feedback is not a new phenomenon in gaming. For console gamers, it's been a part of the ecosystem for decades. Rumble features in controllers have offered a sense of immersion by vibrating during key action-packed moments. Think about whenever a gun is fired, buildings crumble, punches land, or vehicles crash into structures. All of that would cause a controller to vibrate. Now picture that, except the haptic feedback is felt all over.

That's the idea behind Razer HyperSense, revealed earlier in the week at this year's Consumer Electronics Show. The idea will be to include vibrational feedback that activates during various moments in any given game, much in the way that a console controller does. To get an idea of what this entails, Shacknews hit the CES show floor and paid Razer a visit.

Razer HyperSense - CES 2019

Our HyperSense demo began with a look at the Razer Nari Ultimate wireless headset. At the moment, this is the only product currently on the market that's utilizing the Hypersense technology. However, it wouldn't be the only one that would be on display during this demo. The headset, along with the Razer mouse, the wrist rests on the Razer keyboard, and the chair placed in front of the gaming rig, would all utilize Razer HyperSense. With that, the demo kicked off with Overwatch.

Set in the game's training mode, I took Pharah out for a spin. Firing each of Pharah's rockets would offer minor vibrational feedback across all of the supported peripherals. The rumbling would intensify slightly when using Pharah's rocket thrusters to float across the map, jolting slightly more whenever she would take a hit. The most intense vibrations were felt when Pharah used her Ultimate, firing off a barrage of rockets at a target training dummy. With the impact of each rocket, the headset, mouse, keyboard rest, and chair all rumbled. It offered up a general idea of how this system would work for a shooter like Overwatch. But what happens when things get even crazier?

That question led to the next part of the demo, which was Shacknews' 2016 Game of the Year, Doom. Surrounded by demons all ready to rush forward, this offered the most visceral demonstration of Hypersense's capabilities. With every shotgun blast, every demon attack, and every dismemberment, the surrounding peripherals vibrated more and more. On top of that, the vibrations would work in tune with various musical cues. When things were about to pick up and the music escalated, so too did the peripheral vibrations. This had me imagining the possibilities of how far Razer could take this idea, with full haptic immersion during a final boss battle or during an eventful cutscene.

What proved particularly impressive was how each of the peripherals vibrated slightly differently. The degress of vibration for each device varied depending on positional audio. This is to offer a fuller, 360 degree sense of what's happening, offering a deeper sense of immersion than what a controller does for a console game.

The HyperSense demo was one of the most impressive things Shacknews has experienced during our time at CES. The possibilities of what Razer can do with this are endless and it has the potential to change PC gaming as everyone knows it. But change doesn't come overnight. As noted, only the Nari Ultimate headset utilizes Hypersense for now. The chair, mouse, and keyboard are in the early prototype stages and Hypersense integration into these products won't come anytime soon. HyperSense compatibility will also vary depending on the game, but Razer is already in talks with game developers for integrating this technology into future releases.

Razer will look to have more to say about Razer HyperSense later in 2019. For now, the Razer Nari Ultimate wireless headset is available now across all major retailers.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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