Thursday, January 10, 2013

CES 2013 for the gamer

Midagedgamer Report for 1-11-2013

This Week: NVIDIA's cloudy future, PC Gaming on a tablet, SSD prices coming down? and more!

This week found all the gaming tech pundits scurrying around the periphery of CES in search of something other than smartphone cases and 4K TV's.   So Nvidia demoed their new Shield technology in the guise of a game controller with a 5 inch screen built into its flip top lid.  The device contains a Tegra 4 chip and includes the Android Jellybean operating system and 2GB of RAM.  The best way to describe the device is to think of it as an oversized Xbox controller with a Phone stuck to the top of it.  It's an interesting concept in that it can be paired with your gaming PC and use its resources instead of the onboard Tegra 4 hardware  When paired with a PC, display output can also be seen on the PC's monitor but there is about 100ms of lag roughly equivalent to the best OnLive session.  While interesting this seems like more of a design exercise to show off Tegra 4 than a real product.  See the link below for more information and a video of the PCPer guys checking it out.

In other Nvidia news they're showing off their Grid cloud gaming server with the capability to support 24 HD quality games per unit.  It's meant to support gaming on the cloud and while impressive the problem of cloud latency remains. Apparently 6 cloud gaming companies including Agawi, G-Cluster and Playcast are interested in it.   Most reviews lauded the product but none of them were trying to play Black Ops 2 from their living rooms 800 miles away either.  The problem with cloud based gaming services isn't the hardware on the head end, it's the latency of Internet connections.  The PCPer guys weren't all that impressed with it for that reason and neither am I.  The issue with gaming in the cloud remains to be the "cloud" part.

Thermaltake showed off a new gaming mouse called the Volos that includes the normal high resolution laser pickup and ergonomic styling you'd expect in a gaming mouse but with a twist.  It has 4 colored buttons on the left side just below the left click that resemble gamepad buttons.  In case you haven't guessed, that's exactly why they're there.  Thermaltake wants to combine your mouse with a gamepad.  I didn't see any joysticks protruding though.  I have enough trouble just getting to the right key on my keyboard in BF3 let alone worrying about pressing a gamepad button on a mouse with my fat fingers.  Then again, I'm old.

GameShark Store Logo 120x60I'd love to have an SSD but if you're anything like me you have too much crap to fit within 128GB.  See, that's the only size SSD that most normal people on a budget can afford.  Usually you get a smaller drive to boot off of and then move the rest of your crap to an old fashioned hard disk.  That doesn't work out to well for me especially with Steam and Origin still wanting to put most of their files on the "C:" drive.  Micron may be leading the charge to change that, however.  At CES along with new low profile DDR4 DIMM's they showed off the new M500 family of SSD's which feature MLC chips and a lower cost.  They claim pricing should work out $600 US for a 1Terabyte SSD.  .60 a Gig is definitely going in the right direction.

361259_Up to 75% off Video Game Accessories - Shop GameShark Store NowIntel, AMD and Nvidia were all bragging about their System on a Chip and low power designs that will mostly find their way into tablets.  As such, I don't really care unless you can deliver Crysis at 90FPS with ultra settings outputting photo realistic holograms with a gesture interface.  Tablets aren't going to do that for awhile so, meh. Come to think of it, I want that in a gaming PC period...

A little less "meh" was the Razer Edge tablet that incorporates a Core I5 or I7 CPU with an Nvidia GTX640M into a tablet form factor running Windows 8.  It's basically a "gaming" ultrabook stuffed into a tablet.  I like the hardware but it's still a "mobile" GPU and I've never considered anyone's ultrabook a gaming system.  Oh yeah, and the base model is a grand and only gets you an hour of battery life. See the last paragraph for what would really impress me.

Borderlands 2 has a patch out that fixes some bugs in Steam's Big Picture mode a few game bugs including shotgun damage and gunzerking issues.

United States Vice President Joe Biden is meeting with game industry executives to talk about gun violence today.  I hope they manage to convince him that regularly playing Call of Duty or Battlefield 3 doesn't turn us all into homocidal maniacs.  I mean, cmon without FPS games how could we train for the coming zombie apocalypse!

Speaking of zombies, the new Black Ops 2 DLC called "revolution" has a new game mode called "turned" that lets you play as a zombie and stagger around after your friends.

That's it for this week.
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