From bees to bullets, the CES Tech Show makes gamers feel

LAS VEGAS, Jan. 10 – Getting shot, standing in a downpour, surrounded by bees: none of this is ideal, but for gamers, the goal is to feel each individual’s sensations.

At the technology fair CES, the video game industry shows how lifelike gaming is possible with new vests, head pads and other simulation products.

“A lot of consumers are making games and looking for gaming hardware,” bHaptics Inc.’s Kiuk Gwak told AFP as he demonstrated his company’s vest and gloves at the Las Vegas convention, which ends Sunday.

The haptic vest reproduces the feel of action unfolding in virtual worlds, while matching haptic gloves add a sense of touch.

“People don’t just use our vest to get shot, they can feel the wind or rain or even bees in virtual reality,” Gwak said.

Gaming hardware company Razer showcased the world’s first surround-sound audio and haptic headpad called Project Carol, which “allows gamers to feel everything behind them and put them in the middle of the action.”

Razer also said it will release an “Edge” handheld gaming device in the United States on January 26, priced at $400.

Gamers in the back seat?

Razer is one of several companies, including Dell and Acer, that showed off laptops with rich screens and powerful computing chips to tempt gamers craving speed and immersion.

Gaming computers with the latest chips from competitors AMD and Nvidia were also on display.

“Modern games, with increasingly lifelike graphics, require new levels of graphics performance,” said Scott Herkelman, senior vice president, AMD Graphics Unit.

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Nvidia also announced that its GeForce Now cloud video game service will be in vehicles for the first time thanks to an alliance with Hyundai Motor Group, BYD and Polestar.

“Thanks to cloud technology and mobile internet, vehicle occupants can keep boredom at bay by enjoying music, movies and now video games in the car,” Nvidia said in a press release, noting that only the one sitting on the Driver’s seat can play when parked.

“The ability to stream games into cars is a key component of the future of the in-vehicle experience.”

Meanwhile, CES shows from tech titans like South Korean rivals LG and Samsung have included screens tailored for gamers, with features like sweeping curves to add to the sense of immersion.

Evolving playing field

Clover Gaming from the Dominican Republic showcased a virtual casino offering slots, roulette, horse racing and other Vegas-style gambling in the Metaverse.

The CloverLand casino platform plans to use blockchain and cryptocurrency, chief development officer Eilla Lefebvre told AFP.

“We’re using new technologies, which is one of the reasons we came to CES,” said Lefebvre.

“And we want to find out what people like and don’t like to make sure we’re going in the right direction.”

As gadgets become more interoperable and innovations like the Metaverse promise to transform the way people live, CES is crucial for companies to see how they can better connect with gamers.

“You’re talking about Web3 and you’re talking about the metaverse, a lot of that is going to start with gaming,” said Jeff Netzer of Las Vegas-based PlayStudios, which specializes in mobile games whose winners are rewarded with restaurant meals, hotel stays and helicopter rides.

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“People are looking at what hardware is needed,” he said. “I think a lot of companies are particularly interested in CES to understand where this particular part of the industry is going.” ― ETX-Studio