The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is an annual electronics industry trade show held in Las Vegas. Thousands converge to test and report on the latest gadgetry. A bellwether for the pace of technological innovation, CES attendees are hungry to see what’s hot and new.
A busy CES show floor.
The future of gaming is on our face and bringing us closer to the action: virtual reality devices stormed CES 2015. Every major visualization hardware producer seems to be jumping into the personal virtual reality headset market–thanks to the door that Oculus Rift has been opening.
Samsung, better known for their TVs and mobile phones, has created a viable and affordable virtual reality contender in its Gear VR. Those who have demoed it are impressed with its responsiveness.
Samsung Galaxy VR, in partnership with Oculus Rift.
Yup, you’re gonna need a phone for that.
Razer OSVR Headset
Biometrics for Self-Improvement
Biometrics–your personal health data–has been being tracked by wearable technology since the early twentieth century. What makes it different going forward is how accurately we’re tracking the data and how its applied to improving health.
FitBit, Nike FuelBand, JawBone, and other technologies are no strangers to the consumer electronics market. But they have been criticized for not accurately tracking data accurately, being too complicated, or breaking too easily.
The Mio Alpha2 Optical Heart Rate Watch had biometrics fans buzzing at CES 2015. Historically, optical heart rate technology has been reserved for healthcare settings, a testament to its accuracy. The Mio Alpha2 is a dedicated workout watch–for now. Capabilities include workout storage mode, timers, workout metrics tracking, and more.
Image via dcrainmaker.com
Consider the rise in casual gaming and those focused on mental health, developed using brain research. Games that can be played in minutes a day and improve focus, mental dexterity, memory, and how we move are often reaching the top of the App Store rankings.
Muse Brain Sensing Headband
Smartphones are getting smarter. TVs are getting smarter. All of our gaming devices are getting smarter. So isn’t it finally time they’re all talking to each other?
The Forge TV will contain more internal storage and pack a stronger punch than the Nexus Player. Gamers will even be able to play monster-big games like Titanfall with ease. If Forge TV is paired with the Razer Cortex: Stream, gamers will be able to stream directly from their PC to the TV for a more enjoyable experience.
Razer Forge TV is one little sleek gaming setup.
No more huddled over your laptop or sitting at a table. Grab the comfortable corner of the couch and enjoy the big screen.
Why stop at measuring your body’s internal data? Thanks to GPS technology, keeping track of our physical location has become a critical component of our everyday life. Over half of smartphone users access directions through their GPS.
Mobile GPS-based games have been growing in popularity for over a decade. Geocaching was among the earliest, using dedicated geolocation devices to share landmarks and plant clues that lead to a stashed surprise. Google’s Ingress even built an alternate-reality game around geographical exploration: join a force and use your phone to capture “energy” at key landmarks. It’s like a tech-driven game of Capture the Flag.
A creative visualization of Google Ingress.
But why is Razer, a game hardware company, competing in the wearables market? They’re hoping to tap into another dimension of social gaming. To start, they’re offering the ability to be paired with other nearby Nabu wearers who may have similar interests such as a compatible library of Valve Steam games. Gamers will be able to exchange their gaming stats. But Razer is banking on the hope that third-party developers will create multiplayer games that will take the device to another dimension of usability.
Razer Nabu X has a simple interface with three lights for different notifications.
The lack of a screen could be a plus for location-based gaming. As an Ingress player, I find the screen to be distracting from the in-world experience. If physical location and our surroundings are a critical part of a GPS-based game, I do not want to be lost in my mobile device. The vibrational notifications could alert players to key locations. Variables such as time and distance might come into play when visual indicators are limited.
It’s clear that gaming hardware and software companies are taking notice of the ubiquity of GPS and finding creative ways to create new alternate-reality gaming experiences, even if hardware companies are slow on the uptake.
These are just a few of the major gaming themes to emerge from CES 2015. Dozens of other gaming hardware gems made their debut, from collapsable pocket controllers to interactive SIMON-style kids’ shoes. PC Magazine has a nice roundup of their favorite gaming gear from the show (and some of it is far from the expected).
Which gaming trends are you excited for?