An interview with Tess Reddy
in general | May 22, 2021
I recently had the opportunity to speak to RIG’s Global Marketing Director, Tess Reddy, about the recent launch RIG 500 PRO HX helmet, Nacon Compact Pro Controller, and more. This comes right after receiving a pair of their products to review. Both are both under review by us here at Esports Talk, so take a look to find out what we think of the products. I took some getting used to before posting these questions, so I could learn more about RIG and what they offer players with their products. I really came to appreciate what they released, and we think you will too.
Jason: First of all, thank you for taking the time to tell me about your company and your product. For those new to the Nacon controller and the RIG headset, what do you think is the main selling point of the product?
Tess: It is a pleasure to speak with you. For controllers and headsets, I think our main selling point is that we strive to deliver tangible benefits to players, as opposed to purely design or decoration improvements. We want to offer them a product with features to improve their performance. An example of this is that we make our helmets as light and comfortable as possible, allowing gamers to wear the helmet for longer and not get tired. Less fatigue leads to more focus and, possibly, better gaming. Another example is that we are making the action buttons on our controllers extra-large so that players can activate them more easily and benefit from a faster reaction time. There are a lot of these types of features that we build into our products, and I think that’s what makes RIG and Nacon unique.
For me, it’s all about comfort. I cannot use a headset that will not be comfortable for long periods of time.
Jason: The RIG 500 PRO HX is unlike any helmet I have personally used before. What led to this unique design choice?
Tess: Our team set themselves the challenge of creating a helmet that would be incredibly strong while being extremely comfortable. The answer to that challenge became the one-piece headband with a self-adjusting shoulder strap and our small, medium-large fit adjustments that have been part of the RIG modular system for many years. Fewer parts give our helmets a lightweight advantage, but also make them extremely durable and resistant to breakage. Our design allows you to get the perfect fit every time you put on the helmet with very little complexity or added weight. Basically, unreal comfort.
Jason: On that note, the ability to detach the earbuds and move them up or down is another new choice for me. Was there a reason to go with this instead of other designs?
Tess: Again, this one comes down to comfort and strength. We took inspiration from sports equipment, including automotive and cycling design. Most helmets are made using a slider type headband, which over time can loosen or break. Typically, they have dozens of parts which are all points of potential failure. Our one-piece headband and plug-in headphones eliminate these problems. If you sat down or stepped on a typical headset and broke the earpiece, the game is literally over. RIG’s design team wanted to develop a headset that could stand up to being thrown or carried from place to place and still perform well, which is why the earbuds were designed to detach and re-attach on purpose. . I think this is one of the best features of our helmets!
Jason: When you use both, you get the impression that the design has professional sports and games in mind. Would you say this is true?
Tess: This is partly true. It all boils down to designing equipment that offers players tangible benefits to help them improve their performance. We design products for competitive players. It could very well be a pro player, but they are also aspiring pro players who squeak every day. We like to see it as, we are the brand that supports any competitive player, who wants to play and win. RIG gives them the tools they need to perform at their best.
Jason: On the esports theme, does the RIG have a design philosophy for esports / pro players?
Tess: We are, in fact, one of the few game brands to manufacture specialty products for esports. Our RIG Commander PRO has been used by major events and gaming leagues since 2012. You’ve probably seen it thanks to its unique industrial look. It was originally designed for carrier flight decks and its exceptional sound insulation makes it perfect for professional games. It is also fire resistant. This headset is not what you want to wear for everyday gaming. It really is aimed at and trusted by the pros. This experience, however, is found in every product we make. Our philosophy is focused on delivering the tangible benefits and exceptional reliability that I mentioned earlier.
Jason: While the headset and controller definitely looks like they could be used in times of intense esports, they’re comfortable enough for long-term casual gaming. Was it difficult to design a product for such a wide range of players?
Tess: It comes down to our brand’s mission to develop next-generation gear for esports players, competitive players and live broadcasters. Having such a clear mission makes product design easier.
Jason: Another cool facet of the design comes with the controller. The ability to map buttons, set the sensitivity of the analog stick, and trigger dead zones is really fascinating. Incredibly useful for a professional gamer, would you say these have apps for a casual gamer as well?
Tess: It’s a perfect controller for a casual gamer but especially for someone who is a bit more competitive by nature. Our Pro Compact app really helps a player decide what settings are best for them. For example, you have a choice of four profiles depending on the type of game you are playing. Racing, first person shooter, advanced first person shooter and stealth games. What’s even better is that the app goes into great detail as to why this mode is the best option for the game you’re playing.
Jason: What future for RIG and Nacon? Have there been any discussions to see which Nacon and RIG products to use at upcoming esports events?
Tess: We have a lot of exciting things planned! With RIG and Nacon being so prolific in esports, the sky is truly the limit.