SteelSeries to demo eye-tracking tech at Gamescom and GDC Europe

SteelSeries Sentry

Remember that time we told you about the partnership between Tobii and SteelSeries?

Well, it looks like the technology is finally ready to see the light of day - and Game Developers Conference Europe and Gamescom attendees will be among the first to catch a demo of the "SteelSeries Sentry experience" at next week's events. (Editor's note: After some clarification from a SteelSeries representative, there won't necessarily be a "working Sentry prototype" up on stage. Instead the overlays - mentioned below - will be run using Tobii EyeX eye trackers, which is hardware similar to that in the purposed Sentry prototype.)

But why is SteelSeries ready to demo the technology now? Presumably, they were waiting for game-overlay developer Overwolf to put the final touches on the 600 graphical overlays for the world's most popular games.

While we didn't get a chance to demo the hardware for ourselves at E3 this year, we did get a closed-door briefing on the potential uses of the upcoming software.

The idea here is that the Sentry will sit underneath your monitor and track how long your eyes linger in a certain spot. Ultimately, this will create a sort-of heat map of where you spend the most (and least) amount of time staring at the screen.

Had SteelSeries wanted to do this all by itself, it would've been quite a hassle mapping out a game's UI and coming up with pertinent feedback for the player. Imagine SteelSeries had to do this not for just one game, but for 600 of the world's most popular games like World of Warcraft, StarCraft II and League of Legends - it seems impossible, right?

It would've been without Overwolf.

SteelSeries Sentry

The overlays are all built by the Overwolf team.

Overwolf simply is the glue that holds everything together.

By going into each game individually and mapping the interface - looking at the right-bottom corner may mean a player's looking at a mini-map for example - Overwolf could offer tips like "you're spending too much time looking at your mini-map" or "professional players spend exactly four seconds looking at their inventory every minute."

It's in these snack-sized tips that the Sentry provides real value to the player.

Demos: where and when?

At GDC Europe, which takes place August 11 to August 13, Tobii will be in booth number 146. Want to get into eye-tracking technology? You're in luck. During the show, Tobii will be offering the Tobii EyeX dev kit at a discounted price of €70 (about $94, £56, AU$100).

At Gamescom, Tobii will be joining SteelSeries, Overwolf and TeamSpeak at booth number B-022 in hall 10.1. If you're one of the lucky few attending the event, you can catch demos on August 13 at 3.00 p.m. CEST, August 15 at 6.30 p.m. CEST and August 16 at 6:30 p.m. CEST.

Nick Pino

Nick Pino is Managing Editor, TV and AV for TechRadar's sister site, Tom's Guide. Previously, he was the Senior Editor of Home Entertainment at TechRadar, covering TVs, headphones, speakers, video games, VR and streaming devices. He's also written for GamesRadar+, Official Xbox Magazine, PC Gamer and other outlets over the last decade, and he has a degree in computer science he's not using if anyone wants it.