Examining the Peregrine: Do we need another Power Glove?

You've probably seen the ads for this new glove, because they're everywhere. The Peregrine gaming glove is billed as a "Wearable Gaming Interface" and seems to be everywhere we look. It's fitted with dozens of touchpads that can be assigned to perform movement, special skills or anything else in your favorite MMO that can be assigned to a keystroke. So we thought we'd see what all the fuss is about and grab one for ourselves to do a little First Impressions of our own, hardware style.

At first glance, this glove looks like something you'd wear to batting practice or to tee off on the 9th hole, but it really is a fascinating piece of comfortable electronics. However, is it something that we, as MMO gamers, would need or even want? Keep reading after the cut to find out what we think.
Ease of Use

The Peregrine is connected via USB, so it's very easy to use and set up. After installing the provided interface software and running through some quick calibration exercises, I was ready to go.

The calibration can be quick or more detailed, depending on how much you want to use the glove. The first time through, I quickly set up the finger tips only, which worked great for a simple WASD set-up. I assigned the middle finger tip to W, mid finger to S, index finger tip to A and my ring finger tip to D. I fired up an MMO (LotRO, if you must know) and began running around on my horse, completely controlled by touching my fingers to my thumb.

I went back and re-calibrated to include the rest of the 30+ touchpoints that the glove boasts, for even more control. This is where things get a bit complicated. While it's fairly relaxing to have your hand comfortably resting on the arm of your computer chair while touching the tips of your fingers to your thumbs, touching your thumb to the middle and lower parts of each finger is an exercise in precision. Go ahead, try it for a few minutes. Granted, the touch points are fairly sensitive and they work when you touch them to the correct pad, it's just a bit of an awkward way to move your fingers for a few hours. Being WASD gamers, we're used to touching the tips of our fingers on keys, not doing sign language for skill combos. Although... it's a pretty cool concept.

Functionality


While the initial allure of the product's new-and-shininess is quite fun, you can't help but imagine what this glove could be useful for in the long run. Navigating in your favorite MMO? Sure, but you can't combine touchpoints for strafing and more fluid turning, like on the keyboard. Firing off your combo of skills and spells? This is a much more reasonable use of the Peregrine as it allows you to quickly tap away (with responsiveness just as quick as with a keyboard) at the appropriate spots on your hand to work your magic... literally.

At this point you might be trying to imagine how you can control a mouse with one hand, the Peregrine on another and still use movement keys. Fortunately, the glove only operates when the touchpads are in contact with the activation pads (on the thumb and palm of the hand), so you can effectively still use WASD to move, then touch your fingers together for the spell combos.

They did cover a lot of bases with this glove, though. Let's say you're flipping your fingers around, casting spells and healing your party in between grabbing some grub, and you accidentally dip your gloved hand into a bowl of organic humus (hey, I'm trying to break down some generalizations here, folks). Luckily, the glove is fully washable and the brain "pod" that connects the whole thing pulls off easily from the back, thanks to a magnetic connection. This can also be helpful when you walk away from your computer, forgetting you're still connected via USB wire. Oops.

"Touching your thumb to the middle and lower parts of each finger is an exercise in precision. Go ahead, try it for a few minutes."

Expandability

Aside from the fact that you can assign any keystroke to any of the 30+ touchpads, there are templates already on the registered members section of the site -- some made specifically for MMO gaming. In addition, the electronic pod on the back of the glove has a variety of LED light patterns to choose from and faceplates to interchange. There's even talk of a wider variety of customization in the future, from different colored gloves to ones made for specific games.

Summary

While Massively isn't here to tell you what you should or shouldn't buy (especially with hardware), we can tell you that we had fun with the Peregrine and can see its potential uses. Will it replace the keyboard and mouse? Not by a long shot, but it can be used as a supplemental tool to enhance immersion and speed. That is, after it's been calibrated and practiced with that particular game.

If you're a casual gamer, this glove isn't for you. If you're a hardcore raider and combo-junkie, this glove might just add an added element to your game -- especially if you find yourself frustrated by the old keyboard and mouse.

If you'd like to learn more about the Peregrine and what it can do, check out the video section of their website for some impressively-thorough tutorials. And if you're looking for the best movie clip to ever involve a wearable gaming interface, we have that, too. You're welcome.
This article was originally published on Massively.