Turtle Beach's new Elite Pro Tournament Gaming could be viewed as aspirational, to say the least.
The Elite Pro Headset and its Elite Pro Tactical Audio Commander — TAC, for short, a USB breakout box — is aimed at professionals, and the gamers who want to play like professionals. And to go all-in, you'll be spending at least $400.
Gamers have specific needs and wants for their headphones. Often, it's about heavy bass, or a comfortable mic position — maybe what platforms it supports. Accessory maker Turtle Beach has built a profitable business on catering to as many tiers of gamer as possible at a positively absurd amount of price points. If you play for fun, regardless of your budget, Turtle Beach has something it wants to sell you.
For paid esports competitors, there's a different set of concerns as well. Some of these are similar matters of convenience. But other factors could feel like the difference between winning and losing in situations worth thousands — or even hundreds of thousands — of dollars in prize money. For an esports player, comfort isn't convenience, for example, and a headset with special gel earcups that allow them to sit comfortably over glasses without additional strain or pressure is a more pressing ask.
Esports players also have different needs, and Turtle Beach is more than happy to provide for them, with a host of optional accessories including additional noise isolation for the headset's earphones, a noise-canceling mic, and platform specific bits for consoles.
And Turtle Beach is convinced pros, and, well, possibly you, are willing to pay for it. The Elite Pro headset alone will retail for $199.99, as will the TAC. The noise canceling tournament mic, which features two microphones to filter out external noise and emphasize the speaker, is also set to be sold separately at $39.99. The Tactical Audio Adapter for Xbox One will retail for $59.99, and the AMP for PlayStation 4 will sell separately for $39.99.
That's a lot of money any way you shake it, and Turtle Beach clearly can't sell exclusively to esports competitors. Ordinarily this might be cause for skepticism. Turtle Beach isn't known as a leader in build or sound quality in the very competitive headset market, and its also rarely competed at the pricing tier the Elite Pro is aiming at. But the headset features new 50mm drivers in its earphones, which promises improved sound quality, at least. It also features DTS Headphone X 7.1 audio support over USB, and the TAC supports mic monitoring and levels and daisy chained headsets, an important feature for LAN competitions. Otherwise, the TAC is the same kind of external amplifier offered by many Turtle Beach headsets, providing audio level tweaks for mic and chat volume and additional, optional audio processing.
Turtle Beach will need all these features and more to make a dent in the existing market, despite a high profile partnership with prominent esports organization Optic Gaming in launching the Elite Pro. While Optic teams will begin using the Elite Pro gear for their Call of Duty, Halo and Counter-Strike competitions, esports has high profile players like Kingston and Astro already carving out prominent niches within different games and leagues. Until now, Turtle Beach hasn't been as active in the space, or as obvious. But the company saw an opportunity to do better than the competition and has been working for approximately three years on the Elite Pro to do just that.
The Elite Pro Headset is scheduled to arrive in stores June 12.