The Consumer Electronics Show kicked off earlier today in Las Vegas, and reports on the next generation of gadgets and technologies are already flowing in. In the realm of gaming, several new players from related areas in game development entered the gaming console arena. Valve, makers of Source Filmmaker, unveiled their as yet mysterious Piston console, Razer came through with a Windows 8 gaming tablet called Edge, Nvidia presented its new portable Project Shield, and the Unu emerged as a threat to other early Android-based gaming formats like Ouya.
Razer’s Edge portable
Something to note about all these new products is that major home gaming products continue to revolve around a screen-based interface. The technology continues to improve, with higher processing speeds making way for better looking, more complex games, but the visual interface doesn’t travel to any realm beyond that of the two dimensional, square screen.
Years ago, when the seventh generation of consoles emerged, we saw great leaps in the depth of interaction with controllers like the Wiimote and PlayStation’s Move, not to mention the advent of the Kinect, which was not only groundbreaking for gamers, but for interactive designers as well. As the eighth generation rolls on, we see a focus on portable devices and integration with other home media devices, as well as a foray into the concept of open-source gaming consoles, but innovation on the actual experience remains somewhat stale.
As casual gamers, by now we were hoping to see more immersive gaming experiences that break away from the TV and take on a more artistic gaming character. Projection-mapping technology can visually transform any surface and motion sensing technology can turn your body into a controller, so why aren’t we seeing more attempts from major companies at turning the console format on its head? All the major players (Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, etc.) followed suit when Nintendo’s Wiimote flipped the controller paradigm, so all it should take is one domino, one big dog to begin developing an immersive gaming experience, and the others are sure to step up their game to compete. It might not be long before we each have something like OctoCloud in our homes.
There are still a couple of days of CES left, so we could potentially see some of these innovations this year, but really, who knows how long we’ll have to wait?
What types of innovation in gaming would you like to see at CES? Let us know in the comments below.