We’ve seen some quirky gaming accessories in our time but the Panasonic SC-GN01 Wearable Immersive Gaming Speaker System, to give it its full title (or 'WIGSS' for short) – revealed at Gamescom 2021 – may take the biscuit.
Created in collaboration with Square Enix and Final Fantasy XIV Online, the GN01 sports an ergonomic, U-shaped design that sits on your shoulders, wrapping around the back of the neck.
It produces surround sound thanks to four full-range speakers which use "True MAGESS technology" (that's "Majestic Augmented Gaming Environment Sound System" – Panasonic really likes its acronyms, if you hadn't noticed) and is an alternative to headphones for those after an immersive experience without having to wear anything on their head.
The SC-GN01 comes with three gaming sound modes: role-playing game mode, first-person shooter mode and voice mode. The first is best for open-world titles or RPGs, whilst the second helps with gameplay by enhancing subtle audio cues – such as footsteps – which can be helpful during play. The final mode is best suited for cutscenes or games that are dialogue-heavy (here's looking at you Kojima).
There are also music and cinema modes, should you want to use the speaker outside of gaming. For fans of multiplayer titles out there, you should still be able to chat with friends easily enough, thanks to the inclusion of high-performance noise and echo-cancelling dual MEMS-based microphones.
The speakers also have a high-performance signal processor that up/down mixes input to four-channel sound, creating more realistic and immersive audio and sound effects.
This wearable speaker is compatible with PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X and the Nintendo Switch (via audio jack or USB, depending on the platform). It will cost £159.99 in the UK and will be exclusively available from Amazon when it goes on sale in late September 2021.