Eye-tracking specialists Tobii and video game accessory makers SteelSeries have announced a new partnership to make gaming peripherals that will track players' eye movements.

The companies believe that eye-tracking has the potential to enrich games and "create true immersion," and together they'll release what they say is the world's first mass market eye-tracking peripheral for gamers.

They provide examples like characters in games reacting to your gaze, or being able to move a mini map around without having to take your mouse cursor off the battlefield.

E3 2014 update

The product received an official name earlier this week, and has entered into a testing phase before production. A non-usable version of the SteelSeries Sentry Eye Tracker was on the show floor of E3, proving that this is far more than a concept.

The Sentry has the shape and size of a Wii U motion bar and sits underneath the monitor. Sporting four infrared sensors and one camera, the Sentry is able to precisely track eye movements on the screen.

At the event we saw a pre-recorded demo of a League of Legends player using the Sentry to track Fixations per Minute. A graphical overlay measured where the player spent most of their time looking during the match and compared it to data taken from professional gamers.

SteelSeries Sentry in League of Legends
A heatmap showing where a player's eyes looked the most during a match.

The idea is that the best players in the world have very few fixations; their eyes are always moving. The data loaded into the comparison overlay could be from team members, friends, or anyone else that's using a Sentry.

SteelSeries also talked about the ability to control on-screen actions by looking at specific trigger spots. No proof of concept could be shown at this time, though the team is excited about the possibilities, citing titles like World of Warcraft and StarCraft as prime targets for the technology.

SteelSeries Sentry Fixations per Minute
SteelSeries Sentry's GUI that shows fixations per minute.

A focused gaze

Tobii has been hacking away at eye-tracking for a long time.

In 2011 Tobii and Lenovo created a prototype laptop with eye-tracking built in; the same year they revealed the first eye-tracking game, EyeAsteroids.

More recently, it released the first eye-controlled tablet, the Tobii EyeMobile, in 2013.

And at CES last year Tobii unveiled Rex, an eye-tracking add-on for Windows 8.

We'll definitely be keeping an eye on this one. Ha.