The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is currently underway in Las Vegas; it’s must be one of the the biggest electronics trades shows of the year and while the public aren’t invited to the show, the products that the companies show off at the show will be the ones that get a big push this year.
For the most part it’s pretty boring (seriously, check out anything tagged on wired with CES) but there were a few announcements this year that while we already knew they would most defiantly happen are still really exciting! I was originally going to list three exciting announcements, but perhaps we should wait until ces is finished to give the hardware bods an actual chance to talk about their Steam Machines..
Sony make it clear what their 8th generation plans are
The winner of this console generation will be the company who successfully managed to find a new business model. There are a few big names or groups of people making a play for the console space: Valve have steam machines, Nvedia have the Sheild, AMD will be gearing up to push Mantle, Android is appearing on boxes such as the Ouya and Indie Devs are breaking down the traditional business models. The traditional model of creating a consoles, selling it at cost and then making a fortune from licensing fees is coming to an end. Microsoft made it quite clear that they would fight this by turning the Xbox One in to a media center, complete with useless motion sensing and sound input devices. Sony on the other hand have always claimed it’s all about the games, but still needed an exit strategy.
Over the last few years Sony have positioned themselves ready to switch to a ‘gaming as a service model’. This included some failed tests in episodic content, a very successful attempt to launch an online rental/gaming service and purchasing online steaming service Gaikai. While it was pretty obvious where this is going, it was still exciting yesterday Sony for Sony to announce Playstation Now which will stream playstation games, including new ones to Sony devices such as TV’s, potentially doing away with the hardware and paving the way for a cable TV style subscription based service in the future.
The Oculus Rift goes from pretty good to mindblowing
One of the problems of VR, documented and spoken about often by Valve blogger Michael Abrash is that images are fixed in space. While VR headsets track you looking around they don’t provide accurate feedback of head movements from side to side. This has been fixed by creating a camera-and-LED system to track the location of the rift. It was a pretty obvious thing to do next but really will change the experience. There were some of fixes such as improvements to the screen. The one surprise is that Valve (as of yet) haven’t released their own unit, they are definitely pursuing VR agenda so perhaps they have decided that the rift is good enough.