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Monday
Jan162012

Video Games at CES 2012: The Giant Underwhelm

CES 2012 - the Consumer Electronics Showcase - has come and gone. And while the show is now (for the most part) not about new product announcements or big news anymore, I was still very interested to see what video game related stuff there might be. I wasn't expecting Microsoft to announce the next generation gaming console or for Sony to announce some major innovation with the PS3, but I was hoping for something more than what was being shown. Anything related to console gaming seemed like an afterthought, and the only cool thing I saw gaming-wise had to do with Apple's iOS (iPhones, iPod Touch and iPads). Which isn't really surprising I suppose.

On the Microsoft show floor there was an XBOX section (pictured above) with a couple of product marketers and ten games being shown off. There was also a few Kinect booths showing off some Kinect stuff, but it really wasn't anything that you couldn't experience by going to your local Best Buy and trying out Kinect or a first person shooter there. Many of the games (if not all of them) have been out for a while now, and while I suppose Gears of War 3 or Batman Arkham City does show off the best of what the 360 can do, it would have been (and was) much more impressive in 2009.

At Sony it was much of the same (shown below), with only five games on display for the PS3 and not much else. It definitely feels like the current generation of consoles are at the end of their product cycle, and while Sony's public statements contradict that (at least for the PS3) it's hard to get excited about the future of the current generation of consoles.

The one cool gaming related thing I saw this year at CES (cool enough at least to stop and talk to the exhibitor about) was the iCade Mobile from Ion Audio. It's a simple game controller for an iPhone or iPod Touch that works with up to 100 games currently (though more will be added). It kind of turns your iPod Touch into the form factor of PSP, and for kids who play a lot of games on their (or their parents) iOS device I can see how it might be fun to have. Check out my post about it at Modern Day Dad.

If CES 2012 is any indication, it looks like video gamers are going to have to be content with their current consoles and devices for the time being. Then again, Microsoft is kind of being cagey about their future announcements and could (in theory) make a big splash at E3 in June, which would turn a bleak future in to something pretty exciting. Here's hoping that happens.

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