The video game industry is huge, and as Millennials slowly become a larger percentage of the custom installation customer market, it's wise to stay up on trends like gaming and offer gaming rooms and gaming accessories as a part of larger integration services.
The main hurdle a lot of integrators will have to get over is the massive amount of gamer-focused products available that miss the mark completely when it comes to what gamers want.
Manufacturers focus way too hard on making products look cool with RGB lighting and focusing on sleek designs, adding macro buttons hardly anyone uses, and upselling gamers on “proprietary” parts and accessories that often aren’t the greatest quality.
In my over 20 years as a gamer, I’ve gone through a whole lot of gaming headsets. What started out with a basic, no-frills one ear headset meant for simple voice applications on Windows 95 soon became $200 5.1 digital surround sound behemoths with more customization settings than I could count on my fingers and toes.
But in between those two extremes is a spectrum of mid-cost headsets that vary in quality so widely that, in my opinion, they’re not worth stocking or even considering when building clients a game room.
While there’s no cut-and-dry solution to the problem, I’ve encountered a few solid gaming headsets through my testing that I can recommend to integrators looking to get their feet wet in the gaming market. A few are even available from companies you know and work with regularly.
3 Gaming Headsets to Consider Stocking
Astro A40 TR
My current headset is the Astro A40 TR, primarily because I wanted to experience what high-end, gamer-focused headsets could do. The set is extremely comfortable, making them ideal for long gaming sessions or even for listening to music.
They also come with a physical mixamp meant to serve as a more tactile way of controlling the volume, mic vs game audio level, and a few customizable EQ presets.
The headset being tethered to the mixamp isn’t a big deal, but for larger rooms it could pose an issue. The A40s cost around $200-250, which means they fall out of the reach of most casual gamers, but well within the budget of clients looking for a gaming room.
I’d recommend these to customers who play both PC games and console games, as they work nearly seamlessly for either device while many other gaming branded headsets only work with one device (or one console).
Astro also has the best brand recognition among “hardcore” gamers, with Turtle Beach a close second, so to those in-the-know these might be an easy sell.
Another option is the Beyerdynamic MMX-300 gaming headphones, which run about $350 and are perfect for discerning gamers who want a high-end audio experience while playing the latest titles.
This set also features one of the best microphones I've encountered, as all too often gaming headsets lack significantly in this area. Even through Xbox Live party chat, which is infamous for its varying (and often pretty terrible) audio quality, the mic sounds crystal clear and serves up an accurate representation of the wearer's voice.
If you are already stocking Beyerdynamic products, these are the perfect solution for game-loving customers.
Sennheiser GSP 550
Dolby 7.1 has slowly made its way into the gaming headset market, and nobody does it better than Sennheiser. The company is known for its quality headphones, and it managed to adapt what it's learned over the years to make a very solid gaming headset.
While I didn't find the mic quality to be at the same level as the Beyerdynamic headset, it's a slight improvement over the mass-market mics found in a lot of lower-quality headsets available at retail stores or online.
The GSP 550s are also the cheapest high-end headset with excellent quality audio. Much like the Beyerdynamic set, if you're already selling Sennheiser products, definitely consider stocking these.
Headsets Are Super Simple to Set Up and Sell
The main advantage of selling gaming headsets is their ease of use, both for customers and installers. Most are designed to be plug-and-play, so integration company owners won't have to spend very long instructing their installers on how to handle the products.
Likewise, many gamers want to do the set up themselves, meaning you can sell the headset, make a profit, and put in very little work.
They are also the perfect accessory item to toss into a gaming room proposal, as they are not astronomically expensive compared to the other products integrators are likely to install such as 4K low input lag monitors, gaming chairs, and Dolby Atmos systems.