Well the year has already seen it first trade show, namely the International Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas. While most of this show is about what is coming up in the terms of televisions and laptops, there is always plenty of interesting bits of gaming news that comes out too.
This year was no exception, and top of the crop this year in my opinion was Razer. They displayed two bits of tech for this year that really caught my eye.
The Razer Hydra
It seems that motion gaming is well and truly here to stay. What started with the Wii has now been copied by both the PS3 & 360, in the form of the Move & Kinect. I’ll admit that I have not bought either of those just yet, as to this point neither company has shown me anything that makes them stand that much above the Wii.
It was only a matter of time before the PC got in on the act directly, without the need for hacked versions of the Wii & Kinect controllers. The answer was first displayed at last years CES in the form of the Sixense technology, but this year saw Razer come packing its latest version of the tech, The Razer Hydra.
This was shown off to great effect with come custom-made Portal 2 levels, specifically designed with the Hydra technology in mind. As the video below shows these specially added levels with see you using the motion & positional sensing of the kit to twist, scale and move blocks and portals in three dimensional space.
My favourite example about a is when the sneak up behind a turret at about 1:30, picks it up and then using the control to push it further away from them into a laser beam. This is followed by them showing off the ability to twist a mirror block to redirect the same beam in a way that would simple not be possible normally.
The Hydra is set to be released in April in a special bundle with Portal 2. The version of the game included in the bundle will support the controller natively obviously, but will also include a bunch of specially created maps & puzzles designed with the controller in mind.
With a rumoured sub-$100 pricetag on the bundle – I think I will have to grab one come April.
The Razer Switchblade
This was their big new prototype, and is meant to be the gaming equivalent of a net-book. The prototype Intel ATOM based mini laptop comes with a 7 inch touchscreen and a small yet comfortable looking keyboard. What is good about the keyboard buttons are customisable and will change based on the game you are playing.
This is done with the use of a second LCD screen underneath the keyboard, that projects up to the buttons surface in a similar way to those expensive MINI-LCD keyboards you can buy. However if you really wanted to use standard keyboards & mice the device will include Bluetooth & USB support for just that reason.
For a prototype and Concept device, this thing has certainly got a lot of people’s attention, myself included. The best part of the me is the on the fly configuration of the LCD keyboard. I will be keeping a watch on development of this to see if they can get it beyond the concept stage and into something they can actually bring to market.
Video below is IGN’s talking about the device after getting a press hands-on.
Could be an expensive year for Gaming Tech.