Editor's take: It wouldn't be CES week without a wild concept from Razer. The company has once again delivered with Project Carol, but this year's outside-the-box offering is far tamer than what we've seen in years past. Perhaps that means it'll actually become a real product?
Project Carol is a gaming chair accessory – a head cushion, to be exact – featuring near-field surround sound speakers and high-fidelity haptics. Combined, Razer says it can help gamers experience new levels of immersion.
Razer said Project Carol works perfectly with any PC capable of 7.1 surround sound output and is compatible with all gaming chairs thanks to its adjustable straps. It connects wirelessly via 2.4GHz and can last up to eight hours on a single charge.
Razer argues that traditional surround sound speaker cabling can be messy, and installation requires additional space that some gamers might not have. What's more, audio receivers or control boxes are often required to decode rear-channel signals, the company added.
Does Project Carol stand a chance at becoming a real product? It's hard to say. The concept isn't as "out there" as others we have seen in previous years. Remember Project Sophia, the all-in-one modular gaming desk, or Project Linda, which aimed to close the gap between laptops and smartphones?
Project Carol does have some obvious hurdles. Gaming headsets are quite popular and would not play well with a surround sound-enabled cushion. What's more, the thought of having my head vibrate via haptics seems as if it would be a bit disorienting. Surely Razer would allow this feature to be disabled at will, but I can't imagine a scenario where I'd actually want it on.
I suspect Razer will gauge feedback before deciding whether or not to move forward with production. Pricing could be key as I doubt few would want to pay more for a cushion than a traditional headset or even a chair.
What do you think? Any interest in something like Project Carol or are you content with your current gaming audio solution?