XPG Vault - Your Game Library in the Palm of your Hand!
For XPG, CES 2022 is all about bringing new ideas to life. It’s a chance for us to show you some of the new projects we’re working on and get some feedback about the direction we’re taking. One of the projects we’re most excited about this year is XPG VAULT. Read on to learn more about this fabulous new project and take an active role in shaping its future as a member of the XPG GRIT community.
Last week, we announced a number of new products to be shown during CES 2022. Among these was a new concept product called XPG VAULT. It consists of a general-purpose gaming mouse with built-in hi-speed storage capabilities similar to an external SSD. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The real benefit of the product is that the storage solution would be paired with a game launcher tied to the XPG Prime software ecosystem. The value proposition for this product is that you can carry “Your Game Library in the Palm of Your Hand”.
Our mission as a company is to provide solutions that promote a better digital lifestyle. When looking at the needs of gamers, computer enthusiasts, content creators, and Esports athletes, we are constantly analyzing their key pain-points in hopes of improving the overall gaming experience. In the case of XPG VAULT,our goal is to make game libraries and creative software suites more portable, both physically and digitally, as well as more user friendly.
There are numerous benefits to having an SSD directly embedded in your mouse. From reducing the number of ports needed when travelling to giving you less things to remember to bring when you leave home, there are countless ways that XPG VAULT can improve the gamer on the go’s user experience. And it’s not just for laptop users either.
Imagine going to play video games at a friend’s house, internet café, or LAN Party. Instead of having to carry your whole system or various accessories, dongles, and external storage devices, all you would need is your personal gaming mouse. You plug it in via a single USB port and instantly have access to all your favorite games. No additional installation times, patches, or software downloads. XPG VAULT wants to drastically reduce setup times. No more downloading every time you use a new system. No more having to transfer and delete everything after you’ve finished using that new system. No more having to adjust mouse settings to your preferences every time you use a different computer. With the included software, XPG PRIME will automatically do that for you. That’s why the pre-loaded software is such an integral part of the story. XPG VAULT is about more than just additional storage space. It’s about improving your life as a gamer on the go.
Content creators will also enjoy a number of benefits when using this product. For starters, it’s a great mouse with a comfortable design. But that’s nothing new in the peripherals market. Imagine you’re traveling for work and have to use a system provided by the company you’re currently doing a job for at an event or specialized venue. Their system has a clunky old hard drive with a dated read/write speed. With XPG VAULT, you’re not working off that hard drive. All your software, sound & video files, and other tools & assets are running through your mouse’s lightning fast SSD. The convenience of plug and play access to your software and assets coupled with consistently faster production times translates to noticeable benefits and increased efficiency and faster output.
On the storage side, we are currently considering 512GB and 1TB versions as an ideal balance between features, capacity, and cost. Given the constant increase in the size of gaming libraries as well as the increase in data intensive formats like 8K video, storage capacity is difficult to manage while also keeping the costs to the end user realistic but unobtrusive.
XPG VAULT utilizes an NVMe interface over USB 3.2 Gen 2 on a Type-C connector, relying on two channels of super-speed connections for data transfer, while the independent USB 2.0 channels built into the connector are used for mouse polling data. Building the product with two separate channels is necessary to provide the best and fastest user experience. When hooked to a computer, the operating system will recognize XPG VAULT as two independent devices, both managed independently via XPG Prime software:
- Device 1: External Storage Device
- Device 2: Standard HID Input Device (Mouse)
For us, it’s imperative that this device’s storage capabilities perform better than standard external SATA SSDs, which are becoming less ideal in gaming. We want to deliver a product that will deliver increased convenience without forcing users to sacrifice gaming performance. All the recent improvements to gaming on PC with tools like Unreal 5 and solutions like GPUDirect® Storage from companies like Nvidia will not be on the chopping block with XPG VAULT. Our goal is create a product that will let you have your cake and eat it too.
The 985 Mb/s data transfer speed is based on 2 channels of USB 3.2 Gen 2 Super-Speed connectivity. While using 4 channels could double the data rate, we believe the increased costs to both price and thermal dissipation outweigh the benefits. But we want to hear more from the community about what they want before making a final decision.
Based on these projected limitations, we decided to give up, at least for now, on using the standard M.2 connector format (22xx). We have also been considering using our 512 SD-Card Express solution to make the data easier to retrieve for backup purposes in case you need to separate the data storage from your mouse for any reason. However, such a move would come at the cost of a 20% decrease in speed performance. Again, all of these decisions will ultimately be made based feedback from you, the end users. Our requirement for this product is to meet, or at least come as close as possible to meeting, your requirements. That’s the entire purpose of this blog post. You can leave your feedback and product requirements right here in the comments section of this page!
Current prototypes use a board-on-board design, meaning you could still take out the storage board and use it independently, for more tech-savvy users, but this is not yet confirmed to be the final design.
As for the mouse specs, we have been leveraging the XPG ALPHA gaming mouse, which is set to release in early 2022, for the base design. This was mainly for convenience and efficiency of development, but we are happy to change the final design based on end user feedback. For instance, we’ve already been considering the possibility of a sensor upgrade for XPG VAULT’s final specs.
From a design perspective, XPG ALPHA has a stronger focus on ergonomics for right-hand users. But we’re thinking of doing something more symmetrical for XPG VAULT. At least for the first models anyway. Most importantly, XPG VAULT will leverage XPG’s :Ǝxoskeleton design language, focusing on combining form with function. It also takes into account 2 years of ergonomic studies in mouse development thanks to our previous multiple design-award winning concept mouse, XPG HEADSHOT.
Like many similar products available on the market today, we want to simplify and improve the user experience by helping you manage your games libraries conveniently all in one place, making it “portable”, i.e. reduce setup time when transferring to use other systems (a friend’s house, a LAN party, an internet café, etc..). Just like a limited number of other popular launchers in the market, we are targeting to cover compatibility with all the major library services where possible (e.g., Steam, Epic Games Launcher, GOG, Ubisoft Connect, Xbox for PC, and Origin among others). The difference is that we believe we can do it better.
The XPG game launcher will be made available as a service free of charge, similar to what we do with our XPG GRIT Esports Training software and XPG PRIME Ecosystem Management software already. XPG users registered to our XPG PRIME ecosystem will be able to make the most out of the game launcher software as there will be direct interaction between our growing list of services and software solutions. For example, if you own an XPG input device that is XPG PRIME compatible, you can automatically or manually modify settings in user scenarios like the following:
- Automatically change device settings for your favorite games only when you launch them.
- Automatically enable/disable custom macros when you launch a specific application.
- Enable/Implement specific RGB lighting effects that respond to in-game situations for additional immersion (for example: flash red when HP is low).
- Remap on the fly specific buttons and settings like DPI for each game or genre, and revert back to normal settings when exiting the game.
- Suggest proper training scenario settings like rotation speed, distance, and weapon types within XPG GRIT Esports Training Software.
We are hoping to start offering a portion of those services towards the end of the year or early 2023, so stay tuned on our community pages for more updates.
At this stage of development, we want to be completely transparent about cost. The number of models and the standard MSRP for each of them is not yet finalized. What we can say is that our ultimate goal is to provide a product that will be cheaper than buying a gaming mouse and an equitable external storage device separately. We do not see this as a gimmick to charge a premium for. It’s meant to be a solution that solves multiple problems in the most cost effective way possible.
And in case you were wondering, yes this entire product was inspired by that copy/paste meme!
So now we want to hear from you. Would you be interested in owning this product? How would you want this product to look and operate? Is the capability to remove the storage device from the mouse necessary? Would you prioritize cost over performance or would you pay more for faster read/write speeds? Is sacrificing 20% in performance speed too much of an sacrifice in order to get removable storage? Is the latest and greatest mouse sensor a priority or would you settle for a decent mid-tier sensor to lower the overall cost? What other features do you want to see in the software? These are just some of the questions we have, but we’re sure there are issues you care about that we aren’t even thinking of.
We sincerely hope that you will take an active role in the development of XPG VAULT. This is a team effort and we can only provide the best possible product with the participation of end users like you. We don’t just see this as a one off investment. We hope to see this project become the first in a category of products that other brands plug into as well. Moreover, we are open to work with any brand that wants to join us in making this vision a reality.