Perhaps the most demanding booth in the Gaming Showcase was the Lego Universe display. Several laptops hooked up to a larger screen for on-lookers littered the area around one of the largest columns I've ever seen, with art of that game pasted all around. With a chance to demo the game, signed up for beta testing, and an area to actually build an physical Lego mini-fig, this place was always busy.
Lego Universe is an upcoming MMORPG for, obviously, Lego, that plays much like past titles from the company. It has many RPG elements, including equipment, quests, inventory, and a customizable space ship. As you go through out the game, you learn of the conflict between good and corrupt imagination, imagination being the 'mana' of Lego Universe. You can attack free-roaming enemies, interact with NPC's, and join together with other players as well.
You'll collect many things during gameplay, including bricks that can be used for customization. There are also many hidden objects, such as flags, that go towards different achievements. Achievements have replaced any sort of level hieracrchy; instead of leveling from one to insert cap here, you'll complete quests and earn badges for a profile that can be viewed and compared by other players. You'll also find certain objects that will extend your stats, such as health or imagination, so there is a way to develop your character.
Having the pleasure of working with Icy Dock many times in the past, one word comes to mind at the mention of the name: innovation. Little things that make life easier and simpler that you just can't believe hasn't been thought of before. There were several products at their booth this year at CES that held true, and provided great functionality as well.
The first was a 2.5" to 3.5" hard drive converter, which Icy Dock is well known for, that also supports SSD.
The popular MB668 external enclosure line saw and addition as well, providing a new family for USB 3.0 transfer interface, and of course screw-less design and one-tocuh back-up that made the MB668 so popular.
The USB 4-dock rack saw a new fan attachment as well, a product that works great for those needing an expansion on their media machine. A quad bay 2.5" to 5.25" SATA and SAS RAId module was also introduced.
Also showcased was the 2.5" to 3.5" converter rack that is absolutely tooless, even when installing it into a case that isn't otherwise tooless; just squeesze the brackets in the back to secure.
In-Win has gone with a more military theme at CES, previously hinted upon with products such as the Ammo 2.5" external. Several exciting custom paint jobs we're shown on exisiting cases, such as the Maelstrom, including a sharp desert camo Cobra theme. They also had a line of home theater PCs featuring mini-ITX motherboards and a gem finish. such as the Diva. They also showcased a rear monitor mount for the media PC's, completely hiding them from view.
The O-Ring was one of the more intriguing products, which is exactly as it sounds: a silicon ring. However, this purpose goes beyond sealant; the ring will form to your 2.5" external drive to help protect the drive and keep from contact scratches. The O-Ring also has a built-in USB transfer, so if you accidently leave it behind, you're still covered.
In-Win also had a few micro-ATX gaming chassis to show off, as well as some tower cases including the Griffin, the Ironclad, and the Fanqua.
Another very cool addition was the Metal Soul, a 2.5" enclosure similar to the Ammo (RFID key required for access), but with a slick metal skull theme.
You Rock Guitar is a company that has made an electronic giuitar that is fully functional both as an actual guitar instrument, and can be used with the music genre video games. This is acheived by switching between modes via a control panel; when in actual guitar mode, you play the instrument just as you would, and in game mode, you'll press the corresponding colored buttons to play the notes on the screen, and pluck and string to strum.
The guitar runs wireless of batteries, though he wasn't certain on a definite life. The neck will detach, and the head will further detach from that, to help transfer the instrument to and fro.
YouTube Demonstration video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-s217m6wLXU
SteelSeries is all about gaming, and doing it like a pro. That's why their products are always trailored to meed the demands of the professional gamers, whether it be design, specifications, or perhaps price point. At CES, they had several products they we're very proud of and anxious to show us. The first was NP+, an XXL mouse pad made of ultra compressed fiber material that makes it water resistant. That means that no heat or chemical methods we're used.
The second was the new Siberia v2, which feature an integrated microphone and an enhanced noise isolation material on the ear cuffs.
The Xai is by far the most exciting new product, an advanced gaming mouse literally built from what the professional gamers want. Several months of research went into to getting this mouse exactly right. It supports virtually any gaming grip style, a perfect center of gravity, and a dead center sensor, as well as ambidextrous.
The Kinzu is the little 'sister' of the the Xai, designed to fit the smaller hand style of female gamer's, and therefore doesn't feature any of the side buttons that the Xai has.
Updated Fatal1ty and PC Power and Cooling PSU’s
USB 3.0 and an SSD should make this one a quick one, as you can see with the testing
OCZ is ready for the upcoming year with a collection of SSD’s in all price ranges including a drive aimed to come out under 100 bucks!
The official first day of CES was today and getting back to the hotel now at midnight I finally have a chance to sum up a few of the things I saw today. My Day started and ended with our good friends at Cooler Master. In between I found the time to visit the OCZ suit; Crucial’s meeting space, MSI components, and Antec. In between a dropped by a few booths in my free time. Before I pass out Here is a quick summery
Cooler Master shows off a few custom rigs using their cases
The upcoming V6 heatsink, coming in just under the v8 and v10, should be a low prices high performance
Notepal Ergo Stand, 5 angle adjustment and the ability to hold anything from a 9 inch netbook to a 17 inch laptop
1.2.3 Swapper, a 2.5 inch hard drive enclosure
Cardpal, under 10 bucks for an sd card reader
Cruiser, A mouse and mousepad combo available in many colors. The mouse expands to give it more height
G cool, a multiple function cooling pad
Cooler Master models anyone?
USP 100, low priced along with an included PSU, a wide body design gives an amazing amount of cabling room
The 690 II was released a few days ago with two models the Basic and advanced versions, this has to be the most exciting product at their booth for me this year
Storm SF19, not available yet but is cooler designed for large notebooks including the hard to fit 18.4 notebooks. Lots of cooling and special lighting effects will set this one apart
Adam, Wes, and (pimp) Joe of Cooler Master at the Cooler Master party in Aria Hotel.
Robert Krakoff, on the new Sixense Control Interface:
"It’s very conceptional at this point because we don’t know exactly what we’re going to build. There’s an opportunity to do something at two feet and there’s an opportunity to do something at ten feet. And they both change the grounds of what you can build. My thought process is that whatever it is, it needs to be something familiar to the end user. There again you don’t have to put a cap on somebody with a bunch of sensors to enjoy it. Yet I don’t think it can be something as simple as a wand. So somewhere where people can get the most out of play and then I think our task is to do a couple things: is to prove that with our technologies that our skills our ability are out of the area of developing firmware and writing code, for us to be able to move in and help a little in the area of latency and then smoothing out movements because right now they’re at one degree and one millimeter of accuracy is, depending on the DPI, can be as much as 200 pixels. That isn’t bad when you’re shooting really slow zombies, but when you’re shooting something intelligent that’s going to be moving a lot faster I don’t think it’s going to work. So we need to fix that. But I think that what you’re looking at is, and maybe more over than one iteration of products. What you’re looking at is a glimpse into what the future is going to be for the PC. Are we close to tournament level? No. Will the first product be? I doubt it. But I’ve always been proven wrong before by our brilliant engineers and our uniquely brilliant firmware people.
So I think that what the little glimpse of the future could be sooner than what I think it is, but at this point we have no idea what the end product is going to be. So we have to decide, there’s a bunch of issues on how we reconfigure the elements woven into the controller in going into the base station. There’s a large coil in there, and it’s fairly big, can we miniaturize it, how small can it be and still be effective, battery life, all those elements have to be decided upon. We’d love to have a product out this year but we don’t know. We’re a little obsessive-compulsive about finishing off a product, making sure that everything works and everything that goes in the box is a promise, so that’s why our products are usually a little late. We won’t release something until we really have it done. Hopefully, what we do will be rewarded.
I don’t want anyone to believe that we’re walking away from the hardcore market at all. We have a load of new Razer products coming this year, but we’re pretty tight lipped because were watched very carefully by our competitors. We are, in the industry, kind of the standard for engineering we develop and that’s because we do it all internally, and our competitors’ do it all externally. They use OEM technology, we create our own technology. So it’s very different. This is the only time we’ve actually gone outside for this technology. We’ve been approached many times by other companies wanting to sell us 3-D software and we’re supposed to make product for them. But we’ve never been impressed by that. That’s a toy. This one’s got real legs to it. And the thing I like about it is that it supports any game ever made with the mouse and keyboard. So I can go back and play Descent and games I should’ve enjoyed more but I never found the right controller for. I can go back and play Duke Nukem 3D if I want. I can go back and play Half-Life 2 which would be really cool on this. So it will be like rediscovering some of your old games and replaying them. I like that. And if also you do the level editor, this is an incredible tool for level editor. Cut like 80% of, just whack it right off with the way this thing works. So there’s more to it than just this wand-type technology. It’s a very, very cool interface.
I think a lot of the guys who are bad mouthing it now just need to wait and see how good it’s going to be because it could wind up being very, very good. Personally, I think anything that has Valve and Razer can’t be too bad. We like working with them, we’re big fans. And these guys are pretty good, too. These guys from Sixense. They’re really focused on one technology and really focused on gaming, which is what we like. All of their employees are gamers, and almost all of ours are, except maybe a few accountants. We set up extra gaming facilities in every office, and we actually more-or-less require everybody to game for one to two hours a day. We don’t just make it available to them, even if they’re just playing Mahjong or something like that, it’s okay. Just gaming, get the feel of our products."
I was up bright and early on the 3rd day of CES to visit phillips & Lite-On digital Solutions or PLDS. We have worked with them in the past with reviews of Plextor branded products. They also work with Lite-On and HP products.
12X Blu-Ray Disc Writer
PX-B310U External BluRay disc drive
Lite-On's big push is their new 8x External has replacable lids. Portable enough that this may be a perfect accessory for netbook owners looking for a drive
Saving the best for last.. Plextor has decided to jump into the SSD market this coming Febuary. Look forward to a review as soon as we can get a sample1
Razer was definitely one of the booths we we're excited for, hearing rumors of the first gaming console hardware from the company being displayed at CES. To our surprise, they not only had this but so much more, including a new type of interface none of us expected. The Onza, named after a predetory cat, is the a Razer controller for the Xbox 360. This controller comes equipped with adjustable tension on each of the joy sticks, allowing you to increase/decrease the resistance when moving the stick. Think of it like adjusting the DPI on you 360, how easy or hard it is to tranverse the pixels on your screen. Razer has also added an additional trigger button on both sides, which are programmable to any of the other button functions. For instance, if you find it difficult to run by pressing the analog stick down for long period of times, the third trigger button can be assigned this operation. This is acheived by using a switch on the back of the controller. The directional pad also saw upgrades, acting as four discreet buttons as opposed the Microsoft version, allowing more precision. This controller is marked for a third quarter release of 2010, with an MSRP of $49.99, and Razer has hopes to have this in physical retail shelves as well as online order.
The new Chimaera headset compliments the Onza, replacing the Microsoft version on the Xbox 360. These headphones feature 5.1 surround sound with semi-conductor and a 5.6 ghz signal broadcasting. The stand that it comes with not only gives the Chimaera a slick resting spot when not in use, but also recharge the headset via metal prongs the connect to transfer charge. This set is compatible with any controller and slated for a quarter three release, due at the same time as the Onza, with an MSRP of $129.99.
The most exciting concept, of course, was the new Sixense controller, which was only in development kit mode at the time of the demo. The Sixense is a dual wireless wand control system, using a receiving magnetic pillar and magnetic signals to produce motion control in the game. Yes, this sounds very familiar. However, rest assured that Razer has no intention of walking away from the core gamer market. That being said, this interface is extremely cool. The demo on hand was a modified version of Left 4 Dead 2, meaning first and foremost that Razer and Valve have partnered together. The third company to complete the triforce is Sixense, a company concentrated on gaming and more recently, of course, motion control. The Sixense system works very simply: a magnetic coil in the stand receives the magnetic signal from the wands, and mimics it in game. This system has 1mm of position and 1 degree of orientation accuracy. All the animations in L4D2 we're completely based on the user. As the demonstrater played through a small area withthe katana melee weapon, his exact movements we're copied in game. There are certain functions, such as jabbing to shove, tilting softly to the right to reload, and pulling up to jump. The charcater's movement is controlled from two analog sticks on either wand, and there are buttons used to do things such as 'use' and fire. At the time of demonstration, there was a lag of 40ms in the response time, but this is only a concept currently, and the response time is something Razer is working on.
Additional information on Sixense can be found at www.sixense.com.
Turtle Beach is a company that got their start by manufacturing sound cards, and now a days are one of the leading makers of audio head sets. They had several new models to show at CES this year, ranging from console to PC. Staying true to their roots, however, Turtle Beach was showcasing the Riviera, a PCI expansion sound card with surround sound 5.1 and Windows 7 driver compatible.
On the PS3 side, the EarForce P21 provides stereo sound for use during online play, voice chat, or PSN. With the P21, game and sound are independent from one another, meaing that when you're under fire, you'll still be able to hear your allies trying to save your ass.
The Xbox 360 saw several products, starting with the XLC. This headset is a smaller type, but keep securely to your ears, with 40mm speakers and stereo in both ears. With an MSRP of $29.99, its one of the more affordable options.
The X31 features an RF wireless receiver, with a reception area of approximately 25 feet. This also features the stereo system and 40mm speakers, an MSRP's for $99.99.
The new X41 is the Mercedes of the 360 headsets, with Dolby 7.1 surround sound and 50mm speakers. This model also features voice playback, so you'll be able to actually hear your own voice so you know if you're yelling to loud. Chat boost is also featured in the X41, so voice won't be lost in the mayhem of combat. This headset also has a receiving stand that holds the hardware for the surround sound, and Turtle Beach has included an extra audio jack so when a friend comes over, an ordinary headset can be plugged in to experience the Dolby 7.1 experience.
The final product showcased was a very useful USB deviced, the Micro and Amigo II, that will allow Plug & Play audio without any drivers required from the system or the device itself. What this mean is that any computer, even one that may lack those annoying audio drivers of its own, can have this plugged in and instantly you will have a functioning audio jack. Finally!
iBuyPower is a company specializing in custom gaming computers for both PC and laptop users. Their popular mobile gaming line, the Battalion series, saw an intriguing addition at CES 2010: touch screen.
The Battlation Touch line is the first multi-touch mobile gaming series, demonstrating both a graphically advanced game similar to Pong and World of Warcraft. To give you a bit of an idea of how this works, it's much like turning your screen into a large mouse; touching once will left click the desired item (such as selecting a spell) and continuing to hold your finger is like holding the left button down (like controlling the padel). Holding one finger on the screen and using another will right click, and a zoom function was also demonstrated in a rotating Earth model application by using both fingers at once.
Some exciting builds were also showcased in the suite, including the new Big Bang MSI board, using the Lucid Hydro chipset. Also displayed was the new PC360, which is as exactly as it sounds: the meeting of the PC and the Xbox 360. With some slight modifications to the NZXT Panzer box, a gutted 360 board is locatd at the top of the case with the rest of the PC components underneath. At the time of showing, the Xbox 360 still needed separate power and output from the PC (meaning a nice extra bulky power brick), but keep in mind this is still a concept. The Chimera 2 is brother to iBP's previous Chimera model, featuring a new paint job.
More down our alley, iBP was also revealing a first look at the Lan Warrior 2, a fully functional gaming computer designed for easy transport. No photos were allowed, but to give you an idea this case is a simple, slick black facade, large enough on the inside only what was necessary to fit one of the largest cards on the market and the HDD bay. With a nice, solid carrying handle on top as part of the frame, this is a product we're definitely looking forward to. And yes, liquid cooling will be an option. Estimated arrival time was Q1, around March.
Also showcased was the iBP exclusive Level 10 build, and this thing is heavy. While it demands respect and screams power, it is very heavy and will cost quite a bit to ship alone, not to mention the cost of the chassis and parts.
Yet another photoless display was the extremely classified Project Daytona build. I can't say much about this, other than atesting to it with excitement. What I can say, however, is this a top of the line gaming PC, designed specifically to be cooled with water cooling only.
On the more smaller side, iBuyPower was showing off some of there external internal USB extensions. No, that's not a typo. These little pieces of hardware will extend the number of USB ports your mother board supports, and even includes up to two USB ports on the board itself. This is extremely useful if you traveling to LAN party and want to make sure your flash drive is secure, or have am ore permanent USB device, such as BlueTooth or a wireless receiver.
Larry Flint and Gold Wheelchair
...the only other worksafe photo at the moment!
Stay tuned for more!
Continuing with their ongoing battle to enlighten gamers on the true causes of latency issues, Bigfoot Networks, developers of the widely popular Killer Technology network cards, had a few exciting announcements to share with us. The first was the unveiling of a free benchmark tool used and developed by BFN. The application runs in the background while you're in game, and record statistics such a latency and framerate, as well as a time stamp. This is useful when you notice a major flop during gameplay, you can exaime exactly what is was that caused it. This is the tool that technicians at BFN actually use, and the hope of making it public is to show people that it's often times a local problem with one's own equipment as opposed to common scapecoats such as ISPs.
This app is also compatible with alternate display screens, such as the LCD screens on the Logitech G13 and G19, so details and information can be displayed while in game!
The other exciting announcement was yet another successful side-by-side demonstration of a live game, featuring two computers running the exact same specifications, game, and server; the only difference was the presence of the Killer Xeno network card. You may remember the popular Team Fortress 2 demonstration not too long ago, this time BFN has partnered with Sony Online Entertainment and EverQuest.
For those who may not be familiar with Killer tehnology from Bigfoot Networks, your operating system is constantly under load during any process, and gaming only compounds it. Especially true during online gaming, the game is constantly being updated with information sent and received, and when left alone to the OS things can get jumbled and bogged down in a que line. The Killer technology helps to take the load of the OS, prioritizing packets of information specific to gaming and deals with them specifically, eliminating wait and increasing latency on the user end.
BFN Dashboard App
Wand +: Nyko's poular alternative to the Nintendo version of the Wii remote one-up's the competition by featuring an installed Wii Motion Plus device, without extending the overall length of the product. Finalist in the Best of CES Awards.
Charge Base/Quatro: A suspended charging system using magnetic pull to keep the remote securely in place during charge. Available in black and white, two port or four.
Perfect Shot: The popular handgun converter for the Nintendo Wii remote makes a comeback, this time equipped with rumble feature!
Keyboard Attachment: A great alternative to the wireless, full size, and often akward keyboard available for the Wii, this allows a QWERTY keyboard to be easily accesible during play, splitting the board in half with the remote set in-between.
USB HUB/Remote: For the fans, nyko has turned the minimized two USB ports back into two, and included an RF sensor and remote.
USB Controller: Another answer to the gamer's call, using the classic L2/R2 trigger buttons as opposed to the declined Sony version. No SIXAXIS, but rumble feature.
Ear Buds: A flexible alternative to other head sets for the Xbox 360 on the market, these ear buds can snap together with magents around the neck when not in use. Features an included microphone and full mute and volume options.
12:30 PM - CES day three and the rat race is on again. Samsung has some interesting technology coming out for power saving, thinner single panel plasmas, 3D across the board, Samsung Apps for the television and mobile, broadcast DTV on mobile phones, and new eBook designs.
6:00 PM - Wrapping up today, we took a look at Lego Universe, an upcoming MMO from Lego. It will allow players to immerse them sevles in a MMO setting unlike any before. From character design, to questing, and loot everything has creativity and imagination written all over it. The beta will be coming as soon as March and they're hoping for a second quarter release in 2010.
8:00 PM - Last on the chopping block for the evening was Steel Series. Across the board Steel Series is featuring some incredible stuff for 2010. The Siberia v2 expands upon what the first version did best and adds some excellent features. With the addition of a unidirectional microphone, extra pading, memory foam, and larger 50mm drivers the Siberia v2 has promise to dominate the gaming headset market in 2010. Also up SteelSeries' sleeve for the new year is the Kinzu and Xai mice. The Xai packs more features, customization, and power than I can describe into a sleek, clean, and extremely comfortable design. Regardless of what style you use to hold your mouse the Xai will provide you with hours of comfortable, precision gaming performance.
Continuing in our on-going struggle to provide reviews and insight into all of the entertainment industry, LanOC Reviews is covering the Adult Entertainment Expo 2010! In combination with our CES 2010 coverage, LanOC is providing the most complete entertainment package possible. Stay tuned for in-depth coverage coming very soon!
9:00 AM - Day 2 of CES has oficially started. Up on the chopping block this morning is Tritton and Coolit. I hope to also finish up with exploring all of the north hall today. And I will arrive right at 1130 for lunch, no banana and cookies for me today.
12:00 PM - I'm happy to say I'm writing this while eating lunch today, I am on time today. Tritton has some excellent technology coming out in the usb to video category this year as well as an excellent line up of headsets. Coolit has shown me some really creative cooling technology, more on that later.
10:00 PM - Back at the hotel after a very full day. Alex and I made a stop today over at AEN, took some pictures, and got a few autographs. After that, I was off to Maingear to check out the Shift first hand. Its sleek design is sharp, and clean in addition to the extreme performance that it offers. The verticle layout offers dis...tinct advantages in cooling management and ease of access to the I/O panel on the motherboard.
Hercules and Thrustmaster are two separate product lines owned by Guillemot, the former concentrating on sound and other computer hardware and the latter console gaming hardware. Thrustmaster had this misfortune of catching release dates just on the other end of the line where not too many new products were available for showcase. However, there were several updates to exisiting products that were featured.
The first is the MFD Cougar, an accessory that compliments the popular flight sticks from Thrustmaster. The Cougars come in packs of two, with up to eight supportable at a time, and feature customizable buttons to operate certain features of the flight sim. The peripherals not only make it much easier than trying to remember key bindings on the keyboard, but also helps to create the feeling of an actual cockpit.
The FGT race wheel, which was previously PC exclusive, is now being adapter for PS3 use as well, with a demonstration set up of Dirt 2. The Freestyle snow board attachment that clamps over the Wii Balance Board to give players an enhanced feeling of authenticity and control was also demo'd.
Several Wii Remote chargers we're displayed, including the contactless charge T-Charge stand, and the Quatro-4 standing charge base supporting up to four remotes.
On the Hercules side, their line of netbooks were on display, the eCafe family. Not only are these netbooks stylish and compact, customized for more of the personal use, but each also comes with the very useful eCafe suite. This application features a web camera, date and calender, and an e-mail utility that allows users to track and read e-mails from up to four separate accounts.
More on the sound aspect, Hercules was showcasing entry-level and beginner friendly DJ tables that connect to the PC and though there is a display on the PC, everything can be navigated through the mixer.
The Kodak booth at CES 2010 was located in the corner of was very impressive, complete with stage an announcer welcoming visitors to CES. Kodak was excited to reveal four new devices, each featuring a very useful new tool, allowing users to select via camera where they would like photos to go, such as a local disk, Facebook, Flickr, or even an e-mail address, and upon connecting the device to a computer the pictures will automatically upload to the selected source
The first camera was the new Slice, featuring a touch screen that allows users to flip through stored images, or 'slice', to show-off photos easily. The camera also allows users to search through pictures by using certain filters, such as date, time, and face detection - that's right, this camera can sense a person's face a call up images which they are in. This model is scheduled for realse in quarter one of 2010, with an MSRP of $349.99.
The second line of cameras introduced a new color scheme, targeted towards on of the more popular demographics of Kodak camera users: middle-aged females. The EasyShare M family features a remote control, creating easy access to pictures and slideshows when the camera is connected to a TV. This camera does, of course, feature the same sharing abilities as the Slice.
The PlaySport pocket video camera is a very miniature model, designed to fit easily and comfortable for travel. More of the rugged target, the Playsport can be submersed in 10ft of water, and features a 2 hour battery life, and up to 10 hour of recording time with external card memory. With the included software, still images can be taken from video files.
The final device revealed was a new type of digital picture frame, the Pulse, whose value is truly behind the scenes. Similar to the previous camera's automatic sharing capabilities, the Pulse can be set to automatically receive and display images received from a multitude of places, including an e-mail address. This is an extremely useful feature for anyone, but even more so for those with family who aren't so tech savvy. Simply set the frame up and pictures can be constantly updates without messing with the storage device. Of course, e-mails must be verified not just any person can send the frame photos to display.