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Creative and Fatal1ty:
Today we had a private meeting with Creative, including an interview with Jonathan “FATAL1TY” Wendel. We started with Creative’s newly announced Sound Blaster for iTunes. Don’t let the name fool you, however; this is not merely a device for iTunes alone. Not only does this USB device contain 24-bit crystallizer technology to enhance the sound quality of your older MP3s, but it also allows you to wirelessly stream your music up to 100 feet to a potentially unlimited of devices. These devices could include Creative’s new wireless speakers, or Creative’s new Wireless Receiver. Currently the device only streams two channels, though a five-channel version is also being planned. It will, however, work with a 5.1 sound system, though the rear channels will merely be replicating the two channels. The Wireless Receiver has two RCA outputs (left and right) and one 3.5mm output, and comes with a remote control that provides basic audio controls. Most importantly to Mac users, this is the first Creative device with full Mac support (hence the iTunes reference). The Sound Blaster for iTunes is expected to hit the shelves Summer 2009 and is expected to retail for $100, while the receiver should go for $70. Or you can get them both bundled for $150. Lastly, also on display were the X-Fi Titanium products, however because they’ve been on the market for awhile, the Sound Blaster for iTunes was our main focus.
After discussing Sound Blaster for iTunes, we conducted our interview with Jonathan “FATAL1TY” Wendel. We asked him several questions about his career and how he has reached the point where he is today. The first question we asked FATAL1TY was how it feels to have his name all over products and publications. He responded that he was very excited to see his name receiving as much coverage as it has been. He said that when he was younger he always wondered why products never had a name associated with them, and that he thought products would have more of an identity if there was a name people recognized tied to them. Obviously his assumption was correct, as the Fatal1ty series of gaming devices have sold wonderfully. We then asked him how he originally got started putting his name on things. He said that he got started by selling mouse pads out of his house. He made around $50,000 in the first six months of doing this. After that, we asked how he became involved with Creative. He said that originally Creative offered him a sponsorship but that after having experience with many sponsorship contracts he wanted to be more closely involved with a company. He explained this to Creative and they agreed to bring him onboard. As everyone now knows, this turned out to be a great deal for both Creative and Jonathan. One of the major questions we asked Jonathan was if he had any involvement with the development of future products. He said that he does indeed give input on products. In fact, one tangible example he shared with us is the removable microphone on his headphones. He also mentioned that he has acted as a liaison between the gamers he has met and Creative; that way ideas from people like you and me can reach ears that have the ability to make changes. Finally, we asked what other games he likes to play when he’s not competing or training. One of his favorite games to play is Mario Kart for the Wii, and he mentioned that he uses the Nunchuck because he finds it more responsive. He concluded the review by asking if any of us would like to play him during a session in front of an audience in a quick game of Quake 4. Among other challengers, Kevin (propane) and Andrew (ClayMeow) teamed up against Fatal1ty, and needless to say, were thoroughly owned. If you want to see the carnage, you can see a video recording on down below.