In our previous blog post Every millisecond matters, we highlighted some of the major benefits of UWB-based wireless gaming peripherals – mice, headsets, keyboards – and why these benefits are generating so much excitement among gamers eager to get their hands on the first generation of UWB gaming devices. With 60X lower latency and 40X better energy efficiency than legacy Bluetooth-based gaming peripherals, these devices will equip gamers to play faster and fiercer than ever before with peripherals that stay charged and ready for action for far longer than they do today.
It’s worth pausing on those 60X/40X performance metrics for a moment – this is seriously impressive. Within the wireless semiconductor community, UWB’s performance advantages have been well understood for years and we’ve perhaps become desensitized to their real-world implications as we readied for UWB’s commercial roll-out.
The gaming community, on the other hand, is only just beginning to hear about UWB’s major benefits for ultra-low latency and ultra-slow battery drain. For gamers, performance improvements up to 60X are mind blowing. They’re literally game changing.
But what’s often overlooked among these benefits is an additional perk that gamers will be talking about a lot more in the months ahead as they begin to experience UWB wireless headsets firsthand: Compared to Bluetooth, the UWB audio experience is much, much better.
SOUND HAS SUFFERED
Bluetooth has serviced the gaming market capably through the years as the de facto enabling technology for wire-free gaming – despite its well-known limitations in audio quality. Since Bluetooth is limited to a very narrow bandwidth, audio data compression must be applied in order to squeeze an otherwise bulky audio signal through a narrow pipe, and this degrades the signal. Bluetooth codecs are inherently lossy in that a lot of source audio data is stripped away – whereas CD-quality audio is achieved with a 1,411 kbps (kilobits-per-second) data rate, a Bluetooth codec renders that down to about 300 kbps.
For many gamers, lower-quality audio was a sacrifice they were willing to make if it meant ditching their tangled mess of wire-connected controllers and headsets in favor of unencumbered wireless gameplay. But with the imminent market arrival of UWB gaming headsets, gamers no longer have to make this sacrifice.
WIRELESS MOBILITY AND GREAT SOUND
UWB enables 10X more data throughput than BLE, and as a result, there’s no need to compress the audio signal for wireless delivery to your UWB headset. This ensures that the gaming sound stage you’re hearing with UWB headsets is considerably more detailed that what’s possible with Bluetooth today.
And this sound clarity is really important to gamers! For starters, it enables a more immersive and entertaining gaming experience in general. More importantly, better sound can improve your actual gameplay performance – it ensures that crucial, positional audio cues aren’t obscured from your perception due to data compression.
Enhanced directional audio allows you to pinpoint enemies and react to them faster. Your situational awareness depends in large part on your ability to assess every available audio cue, and if you can’t hear the footsteps of the player approaching behind you, it’s probably already too late.
UWB’s ability to handle uncompressed audio extends to the headset microphone as well. This enhances overall voice quality and detail for improved communication with teammates – or competitors, if trash talking is your thing.
SPARK-enabled UWB wireless gaming headsets allow gamers to finally ditch the wires while making zero compromises in audio quality. And when you factor in the latency and battery life benefits, it’s easy to understand why gamers are so excited.