At this point, gaming PC folks have mastered the art of using their hands with a variety of keyboards and mice to choose from, but two of our limbs just sit lifeless. With the introduction of the MSI Liberator, the folks at Micro Star International envision a world where we don’t just waste our legs and use them with a three-button pedal instead.
If the MSI Liberator gives you a little déjà vu, you’re not alone: Corsair released the Elgato Stream Deck Pedal in early 2022, also with three programmable buttons. However, the difference here runs deeper than just throwing in RGB lighting, which you’ll likely never really include in the mix.
While its rival takes a more modest, flatter approach, the Liberator looks more like a drum pedal and wraps your foot to minimize the movement you need to press each key. With that in mind, you can also chain up to four Liberators together for a total of 12 buttons at your toes.
MSI Liberator specifications
Each Liberator has three buttons, including the pedal itself. You can customize the two side buttons with magnetic caps to better suit the shape and size of your feet. It sits at an 8-degree angle, which MSI thinks is ideal for ergonomics, with a profiled foot base to help maintain grip. There’s a 100ms response time and supposedly easy-to-use software. It has a mountain to climb to match the Stream Deck software’s ease of use, mind you.
Much like teaching yourself to play the drums, there’s a learning curve to doubling the number of limbs you use to control a game, but it opens up a world of possibilities. On the one hand, it makes complicated magic spells in MMO games a breeze. On the other hand, it can potentially open previously inaccessible games to people with disabilities and make them playable again. Your mileage may vary, however, and it’s not the cheapest device at $149/£122 (compared to the competitor’s slimmer $89.99/£79.99 price point).
Unlike the Elgato Stream Deck Pedal, the MSI Liberator is not readily available. MSI made the odd decision to crowdfund its pedal to gauge interest in a fringe product that comes with a handful of considerations, but also some reassurances your run-of-the-mill Kickstarter campaign lacks.
First, what you see is not necessarily what you get. MSI tells us that the Taiwanese arm working on the project is “changing a few bits on the design,” which might be superficial, but could also indicate feature-set changes. We know the company is still working on reducing latency and reassuring backers you’ll get 100ms or less. Secondly, this is an official product of a reputable brand that has already achieved its goal 31 times, but you still need to remember that you are choosing an idea and not a product.
If you want something here and now, you need to grab an Elgato Stream Deck pedal. Otherwise, you’ll have to support the project before time runs out and you’ll have to wait until December 2022 for your MSI Liberator – assuming development stays on track and pesky hardware bottlenecks don’t get in the way.