Are you going to be at CES 2010? We are! Brian Leahy and I are headed to Las Vegas later this week to cover the first major event of 2010, the Consumer Electronics Show. Though the show isn't nearly as gaming-focused as it has been in the past (at one point, it actually used to be the E3 of gaming, well before E3 existed), it remains a prominent nexus for technological wizardry, showcasing innovations that are sure to influence our favorite medium in the years to come.
Before CES 2010 kicks off -- our coverage starts tomorrow -- we're making predictions on the biggest gaming trends coming out of the show that will impact the way you play (and perceive) games in 2010 and beyond. You guys no doubt have some theories of your own, so feel free to chime in.
Here's what we expect to see.
1. In A Post-Avatar World, 3D Is The Next Big Thing*
* That's what the tech industry will be preaching, anyway.
3D is a niche market in video games right now. Capcom has been a strong supporter of NVIDIA's 3D Vision technology on the PC, but in order to experience the new kind of 3D everyone is raving about in Avatar and other recent 3D films, consumers need new monitors and televisions. Such 3D hookups are present in current high-end HDTVS, but it will be some time before they're in the weekly deals at Wal-Mart. At CES 2010, it will be shocking to find a device that isn't incorporating 3D technology somehow, whether it's in your television, computer monitor or the phone that's resting in your pocket. It's the new tech buzz, the new HD. Even if it's not priced consumer-friendly, if you're not thinking 3D, you're crazy.
2. The Way You Interact With Games Is Changing
Games have the unique opportunity to approach 3D from multiple angles -- Wii proved that. 3D visuals aren't the only way to increase the dimensions of entertainment. How you interact with a product is changing. The controller isn't on its way out, but its purpose (and how much sits in your hand) is evolving. Expect a number of tech companies, emboldened by Microsoft and Sony's approaches to motion expected to arrive in 2010, to push interactivity in new directions. Tablets are making a big emergence in the coming year, following consumer's embrace of touch with devices like the iPhone. Whether it's through a camera watching body movements, sensors hooked into arms (Wii Vitality Sensor?), moving fingers across a screen or something else entirely, the controller is changing.
3. Mobile Advancement Begins Eyeing DS, PSP
Nintendo and Sony are sure to remain kings of the gaming handheld scene for some time, but advancements in mobile technology, an increased desire for a device that does everything and the ability to make purchases on the fly rather than through a brick and mortar store, threaten the market those companies have long watched over. At CES 2010, mobile hardware will continue to move forward at a faster clip than DS and PSP, as consumers are more accustomed to replacing their phones every few years than their handheld gaming platform. More developers will show an understanding of what makes games work on a cell phone, increasingly removing the need for many users to have a gaming-specific device. The endgame is a ways off, but it's close enough for Nintendo and Sony to start paying attention.
So, what are your predictions for CES 2010?
Check back tomorrow evening for the start of our complete coverage of CES 2010!
[image credit: flickr / sugarmonster]