CES 2017 starts the year off with a bang for gamers
Held in Las Vegas, a city that loves the pursuit of all things over the top (why else would they have built a hotel containing gondolas and a full-size rollercoaster?!), the Consumer Technology Association’s CES event has become a mecca for gaming and technology fans from across the globe. This year’s renewal, CES 2017, was especially exciting for gaming fans, with the tech developments on show proving that the future is bright for mobile gaming, whilst also showing that there is still plenty of life left in the world of PC gaming.
Let’s take a look at some of the highlights from a packed CES 2017, a show that previously brought us breaking news regarding, amongst other things, wearable tech (back in 2014).
Time to Tango?
Mobile games are, of course, already hugely popular, with improvements in smartphone graphics across operating systems helping to facilitate the sector’s growth, and a more widespread infiltration of augmented reality technology should see the sector grow even more significantly as we progress through 2017.
The use of AR in mobile was brought firmly into focus by the announcement of the Asus ZenFone AR, the world’s first 5.7″ smartphone with Tango and Daydream by Google. Tango uses computer vision to allow mobile devices to see virtual objects appear in the surrounding environment, without using GPS technology or any other signals. This has huge implications for AR on mobile, with the chance for ever more interactive and engaging pick-up-and-play apps and games. The enormous success of Pokémon Go, which used a more primitive form of AR, is a good example of this sort of development that is likely to become increasingly sophisticated throughout 2017.
— ASUS (@ASUS) January 6, 2017
The ZenFone shows that previous efforts by Lenovo to make smartphones more compatible with AR are becoming business priorities for multiple mobile companies, and it does seem increasingly likely that we will find AR technology at the heart of future mobile gaming. Alongside this focus on AR is a focus on VR compatibility. The dual inclusion of both Tango and Daydream (Google’s take on VR technology) shows that the gaming market is keeping its options open in terms of whether VR or AR will prove a more popular technology innovation in the end.
This flexible stance can only be a positive for gamers, as pick-up-and-play mobile games find themselves continually enhanced by the technology pushed forward by both AR and VR developments. Just imagine, if you will, some of the online games on the market today being brought to life even further by the proliferation of AR-focused hardware. In this world, it wouldn’t seem out of place, for example, for the new slot game from UK-based iGaming site Sun Bingo, Batman & Catwoman Cash, to be overlaid by additional dimensions of graphics that bring the characters we’re familiar with from the films into our everyday environments. The very prospect of this is scintillating for gamers to consider, that is if you can cope with the thought of the caped crusader joining you on your morning train ride to work!
Razer Steal the Headlines but Do Acer Hold the Aces?
Mobile gaming may well be growing, but that’s not to say that PC games have bitten the dust just yet. In fact, new laptops from Acer and Razer have upped the ante when it comes to manufacturing laptops for gamers.
The three-screen approach from the Razer triple-display laptop is likely to win fans thanks to its excellent graphics and the chance to span visually across a wider area, but it is perhaps the Acer Predator 21 X giant gaming laptop that might represent the biggest leap forward, despite the model not earning quite as many headlines as its more immediately visually impressive counterpart.
— RΛZΞR (@Razer) January 5, 2017
Instead of focusing on better graphics or more screens, the Acer Predator 21 X giant gaming laptop has focused on incorporating eye-tracking technology, which will allow gamers to be able to take cover in games like Call of Duty simply by staring at the screen. This should bring an end to the anguished cries of “I saw him but the computer didn’t respond to my commands!” that you so often hear from a beaten gamer!
Samsung Enter the World of Gaming Notebooks
If ever there were a sign that the PC gaming world is still on the up, it perhaps came in Samsung’s unveiling of their first ever gaming notebook. Samsung are now looking to release their first 15″ and 17″ Odyssey gaming notebooks, although by putting them on sale at a starting price of $1,199, they do run the risk of pricing themselves out of the market, especially in light of the fact they aren’t offering the best graphics on the market.
The company does, however, have both the resources and the time to get this balance right, and if they can use 2017 to start establishing themselves alongside the likes of Acer, Razer, and HP, they may well be able to start producing gaming notebooks in the future that not only hit the correct price point but also demonstrate the qualities that have made other Samsung technology products, such as TVs and smartphones, such market leaders.
CES 2018: Mobile, Mobile, Mobile?
It’s hard to predict what might happen in next year’s renewal of the event, but with smartphone technology clearly improving all the time (and don’t forget that Apple will continue to use their own events to launch new mobile products and innovations), it could well turn out to be a year of mobile dominance at CES 2018, especially if, as expected, AR and VR continue to be big news for gaming operators during the rest of 2017.
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