Hands on with Hue-enhanced PC gaming

A new Hue Entertainment integration with Razer helps you to connect your color-changing lighting fixtures with famous PC games for real-time lighting results as you play. We tested it out at the CNET Smart Apartment.
Hue Entertainment is Philips’ present day try and sync color-converting light with the belongings you watch. The attempt dates back extra than a decade, again to the age of Ambilight TV sets, in addition to recent lights integrations with “Sharknado” and with the “12 Monkeys” TV collection. None of those efforts ever took off in a substantial manner, but Philips hasn’t given up on the concept.

Now, after launching at CES 2018, Hue Entertainment’s first integration is stay and geared up a good way to try out. The partner is Razer, maker of PC gaming add-ons like keyboards and mice, consisting of ones with integrated color-changing lighting. Razer lets customers sync the lights in those shade-converting Chroma devices with like-minded games — now, they are able to upload Philips Hue’s clever lights into the mixture, too.

Color your global
The first-rate aspect approximately the Razer integration is that you don’t really need any Razer gadgets to take gain of it. All you want is a well-matched recreation, Razer’s free Synapse 3 software program and some color-changing Hue lighting (the white mild bulbs might not paintings). Luminaires that solid light in opposition to a wall, like the Philips Hue Lightstrips, the Philips Hue Bloom, and the Philips Hue Go all look like particularly desirable fits.
To get started out, you’ll need to open the Hue app and create an “Entertainment Area” — basically just the institution of lights you need to use, alongside in which they may be located in terms of your TV or display. The app makes this smooth, letting you drag little icons representing whatever bulbs, furniture or mild strips you need to apply into the function.

From there, you’ll open Razer’s Synapse 3 software program for your Windows PC and comply with the instructions to pair the program together with your Hue Bridge. He will import your Entertainment Area into Razer’s software program, and you may be prepared. Just launch a well-matched game with the Synapse 3 application strolling into the background and your Hue lighting fixtures will routinely begin to respond.

Effects vary from game to sport. Some, like the puzzler “I, Zombie,” hold matters simple, with atmospheric lighting throughout gameplay and flashing lighting fixtures when you die or beat a degree. Others, like Overwatch, go lots deeper, imparting lighting fixtures results unique to the character you are playing with or the weapon you are firing.

That’s the technique that intrigues me as a gamer. If achieved efficiently, contextual lights cues ought to add a lot to the revel in, and even affect the manner you play. For instance, consider a primary-character shooter in which your man or woman has the capacity to experience threats outside of their instantaneous area of imaginative and prescient. A crimson light fading directly to the proper of your display ought to suggest an approaching enemy and serve as a cue to show and shoot.

Is this a recreation changer?
Not but, but the enchantment is there. As I examined the integration out at the CNET Smart Apartment, I never felt as though the lighting results had been improving the gaming experience all that a great deal. The lighting fixtures flashed pink when my health ran low inside the top-down shooter Ruiner, including a laugh, greater layer of urgency to the state of affairs, however, they failed to make me any greater inclined to play the sport than I already changed into. Take the lighting away, and I don’t assume I’d omit them very lots.
In equity, it is early, and a variety of these integrations are simply extensions of results to start with programming for Chroma-enabled keyboards and mice. I’ll be curious to see how things look as soon as builders have had some time to test with effects which can be greater unique to a bulb-centric lights setup. The ability is there, but it is up to them to run with it.

It’s also worth pointing out that there are already quite a few Chroma-supported video games with the intention to paintings with Hue, and I’ve only performed a handful of them to date. The stealth and suspense-precise lighting consequences for the horror survival sport Outlast 2 sound quite fascinating to me — that might be one of the subsequent video games I attempt out (the horror genre as a whole seems like specifically fertile ground for those styles of lighting outcomes).

Overall, I turned into impressed by using how snappy the entirety become. In Overwatch, you trigger sure lighting fixtures adjustments by using converting your weapon or activating a unique assault. I become concerned that laggy lighting would sluggish the instant-to-second gaming revel in, or worse, function a distraction. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case — the lighting fixtures usually modified right on cue, and in some instances, surely helped me preserve the music of what I was doing or which weapon I was toting. They failed to make a dramatic impact in my revel in, however, they sincerely failed to hurt.

That snappiness bodes properly for Hue Entertainment’s destiny. The crew at Philips is staying fairly tight-lipped about its plans (they might not say if they’re operating on an app for PlayStation, XBox and Nintendo consoles, for example), but more integrations with greater styles of media are at the manner — movies, tune, you name it.

The other aspect to look at for is an upcoming PC platform referred to as “Hue Sync” so that it will permit your lights to mimic the positional hues of whatever’s in your display, video games or otherwise. I’ll be curious to see if that software program ever makes the jump to things like cable containers and streaming gadgets, or if a cloud-based totally model is ever able to sync up with services like Netflix.

The final question: will any of this connect to users in a manner that Philips’ beyond efforts to colorize enjoyment have not? That remains to be visible, however, one thing that may go in Philips’ choose this time around is the focus on gaming proper out of the gate. Plenty of hardcore PC gamers have already included colorful lighting into their setups, and they’re demonstrably inclined to save as much as a splurge on upgrades, too. And, as popular as stay sports streams have become via apps like Twitch, it is not tough to imagine the integration catching on with gamers eager to reveal off their rigs.

If not anything else, Hue Entertainment provides a few more attraction to the expense of shade-converting mild and offers humans any other reason to don’t forget shopping for in. The integration with Razer looks as if an amazing begin, but I’ll be ready to peer more. Stay tuned.