Mad Catz Back From the Dead With New Gaming Peripherals
LAS VEGAS—A little under a year ago, Mad Catz died. The gaming accessory company filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy and stopped all operations in March 2017, and since then it’s appeared to the world as a dead brand.
That changed in the lead-up to CES 2018, when a PR company started teasing the return of a big name in gaming. Most of the internet quickly deduced that it was Mad Catz, and now we can witness the power of a fully armed and operational peripheral company.
I met with Mad Catz here and got a look at its new line of gaming peripherals, including new R.A.T. mice, S.T.R.I.K.E., keyboards, and F.R.E.Q. headsets. They’re familiar names and familiar designs to anyone who’s used Mad Catz products in the past, but with some notable improvements. These aren’t simply rebadged pre-bankruptcy Mad Catz peripherals, but completely refreshed product lines.
For mice, Mad Catz showed off a line of eight different models, starting with the flagship R.A.T. Air. It’s the only wireless gaming mouse in the lineup, but it doesn’t use a battery. Instead, the mouse receives power from the included mouse pad, which drives the mouse through induction. It’s similar to Razer’s recently announced Mamba + Firefly mouse and pad combination, which also uses induction power to keep the mouse going without wires or a battery. The R.A.T. Air also features RGB lighting on the mouse pad, and a detachable cable for using the mouse without the pad in a wired configuration.
The R.A.T. Pro S3 and R.A.T. Pro X3 take the role of high-end wired gaming mice from Mad Catz, with customization options similar to the older R.A.T. 7 mouse. The S3 features an adjustable palm rest, while the X3 lets you switch out and adjust the placement of several different ergonomic components like the thumb rest and palm rest. The X3 also features a removable sensor module, which can be replaced or upgraded in the future. Both mice feature customizable RGB lighting.
The other R.A.T. mouse models are the 1+, 2+, 4+, 6+, and 8+, which represent various tiers of price and features.
For gaming audio, Mad Catz unveiled a very interesting take on the gaming headset. The E.S. Pro+ is a set of in-canal wired earphones with a unique feature: a removable boom microphone. Instead of relying on a pinhole microphone in an inline remote or mounted on the earphone casing, the E.S. Pro+ has its own boom that works just like the boom mics on on-ear and over-ear gaming headsets.
Mad Catz showed off two more conventional over-ear gaming headsets, the F.R.E.Q. 2 and F.R.E.Q. 4. They’re respectively wired and wireless headsets designed for use with a PC and feature customizable RGB lighting.
The company also showed off two new keyboards. While they both have pronounced, full-size keycaps and RGB lighting, the S.T.R.I.K.E. 2 uses membrane switches while the S.T.R.I.K.E. 4 uses Cherry MX Brown mechanical keyswitches. Both are wired.
Finally, Mad Catz has a line of mouse pads (or, if you prefer, gaming surfaces). The G.L.I.D.E. line consists mostly of fabric-and-foam mouse pads that measure 16, 19, 21, or 38 inches across, and are fairly nondescript. However, the G.L.I.D.E. Chameleon adds some flair with a base that incorporates, once again, customizable RGB lighting.
Mad Catz has not announced pricing or availability for its new products yet, but it plans to see them hit stores this summer.