While CES isn't typically a show for big gaming reveals, this year's conference saw some tantalizing teases as well as awards going to companies developing tech for gamers.
Here's some of the technologies on display at this year's CES that we think will have a big impact on the video game industry and would have felt perfectly at home in a conference dedicated solely to gaming.
1. Ready Player One in real life
Sony's upcoming PS5 will come with an incredibly tactile haptic controller that the Playstation CEO says will help to deepen immersion for gamers.
Other companies are taking this to the next level. Take Cybershoes, for example. The company developed a pair of virtual reality (VR) gaming shoes that allow users to move within a virtual space by physically mimicking a walking or running motion, while sitting, in real life.
The shoes use accurate directional tracking to allow players to feel like they are really moving within the gaming world — it had to be tested on Skyrim.
#CES2020 Showcasing Audio to haptic feature for 7.1 Channel Sound. Now you can detect risks most quickly than ever before. Directional audio-to-haptic allows you to feel the direction of the gunshots,bombs&footsteps! https://t.co/TNEQDkF1JBpic.twitter.com/4haOxvtMy9— bHaptics.Inc (@bHaptics_Inc) December 12, 2019
bHaptics, meanwhile, created a VR suit that allows you to "feel" actions that are happening in the game world — including gunshots.
Anyone who's seen Steven Spielberg's Ready Player One, based on the novel by Ernest Cline, should be able to vividly imagine what these developments might eventually lead to — a world where people spend more time in the virtual than the physical world.
2. Accurate motion tracking for gaming
Motion tracking has long been a part of gaming history. Most notably, Nintendo based a whole console generation, the Nintendo Wii, around the concept of motion tracking. The problem, for many, was that the technology wasn't very accurate.
Featuring at CES: Capture quick and subtle hand movements with unsurpassed accuracy! Download our complete CES brochure for more on body, hand and head tracking systems. https://t.co/8eeP0ueYbl#CES2020#NDIpic.twitter.com/DJf8CCmsDy— NDI (@ndimeasurement) January 10, 2020
NDI's Atraxa system picks up subtle hand and body movements. The company says that its solution gets rid of the "traditional barriers" to gaming with motion tracking.
Atraxa is an electromagnetic sensor-fusion tracking platform. It is compatible with OEM extended-reality headsets and peripherals, meaning it provides wireless 6DOF (six degrees of freedom) motion tracking. No need to worry about tethers, external cameras, spatial desync — all issues that are prevalent in motion tracking and are responsible for the perception that it's not much fun.
If NDI truly delivers on their promise, maybe Nintendo and the other big video game companies will start to take motion tracking seriously again.
3. Surprisingly competent Nintendo Switch clones
Speaking of Nintendo, several companies have taken inspiration from its hybrid console, the Nintendo Switch, and showed them off to great fanfare at CES.
The Razer Kishi gamepad plugs into your phone in order to provide an experience with minimal latency. Much like the Nintendo Switch, the controllers can wrap around your smartphone, or it can be turned into a single controller while you keep your phone on a stand.
Unlike the Nintendo Switch, it has been developed with cloud gaming in mind.
Skrr Skrr!— ROG Global (@ASUS_ROG) November 17, 2019
The ROG Kunai Gamepad brings an upgraded gaming experience to Asphalt 9: Legends Start your engines and see for yourself! pic.twitter.com/lu74775g3Y
Another similar concept, the ROG Kunai Gamepad, won a CES innovation award for mobile devices and accessories.
The Alienware UFO concept is so similar to the Nintendo Switch that some commenters are plainly calling it "Alienware's Nintendo Switch." While little is known about its specs, the tablet is a Windows 10 PC that, in theory, should be able to run any game on Steam in handheld. Whether those games run well is another question — we'll have to wait and see.
4. The "big" PS5 reveal
This was one of the more eyebrow-raising reveals at CES this year. Sony hyped up a big PS5 announcement before revealing the logo for the PS5 — which looks almost exactly like the PS4 logo but with a 5 instead of a 4.
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At least the internet had fun with it.
Maybe Sony took a page out of Tesla's Cybertruck marketing campaign and decided that bizarre is better.
5. Samsung Odyssey gaming monitors
Samsung revealed its new gaming monitor lineup at CES, made up of the G9 model, with a 49” display, and the G7, which is available in both 32” and 27”.
They are the first-ever monitors to have a 1000R curvature QLED picture quality. The screens also boast a 1ms response time and 240hz RapidCurve.
The G9 is the world’s first Dual Quad High-Definition monitor with a resolution of 5120×1440. It has an impressive 32:9 aspect ratio gaming monitor and its deep 1000R curve and 1000 cd/m2 peak brightness promises to make PC gamers feel incredibly immersed in their surroundings.
The G7, meanwhile, is a slightly smaller and less powerful version of the G9.
As gaming goes more mainstream every year, so do developments in consumer electronics become more inextricably linked to gaming. We're sure next year's show will boast even more impressive gaming tech on display.
Were you following events from the show? What were the gaming technologies that most excited you? Be sure to let us know your thoughts.