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The best gaming of CES 2013

CES has never been much of a video game show — you'll want to go to the Electronic Entertainment Expo for that — but that didn't stop Nvidia, Valve, and Razer from stealing the show with exciting, controversial new game systems. Find all the best gaming announcements from CES 2013 in this StoryStream.

  • Aaron Souppouris

    Jan 9, 2013

    Aaron Souppouris

    Snakebyte says its Unu Android console is more appealing than Nvidia's 'niche' Project Shield

    Peripheral manufacturer Snakebyte is showing off its take on an Android-powered portable console, the Unu. Unlike Nvidia's Project Shield and Archos' GamePad, the Unu doesn't have physical controls mounted onto the device, instead it's going to be a four-piece solution that Snakebyte says will replace your tablet, portable console, and media streamer. For "around $199-$249," you'll get an Android tablet, a Bluetooth gamepad, a TV dock, and a gesture remote.

    Unfortunately, we'll have to take Unu's word for that: the company isn't ready to show off any final hardware, and has non-functioning prototypes on display as well as a nondescript Android tablet that it's using to show off its software layer. The Android customization is a pretty light skin that's designed to make Unu play nice with the bundled gesture remote and gamepad, offering a carousel arrangement for app management. Games will come from the Google Play store, but Snakebyte will offer its own curated store as well. For games designed for touchscreens, you'll be able to map touchscreen points to buttons on the included gamepad via an app.

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  • Jeff Blagdon

    Jan 9, 2013

    Jeff Blagdon

    The Caliber Advantage is the first real iPhone gaming controller

    Gallery Photo:
    Gallery Photo:

    No matter how many million first person shooters developers crank out for iOS, the platform’s touch-based controls mean the games will never control as well as their console counterparts. Here at CES, mobile accessory maker Zagg is unveiling the best-looking solution to the problem we’ve seen so far — the Caliber Advantage. Its dual analog sticks give gamers the same kind of precision as something like the PlayStation Vita or 3DS. And to get around the lack of content — iOS games don’t natively support anything other than touch input — Zagg is working together with Epic Games to add support for the controller in Unreal Engine 3-based iOS games. In the first half of this year, for $69.99, iOS gamers will get the closest yet to a console experience on their phones.

    When not in use, the Caliber Advantage’s controls retract into what looks like an expandable battery case. When they’re extended, users get two analog thumbsticks, a D-pad, four face buttons, and two shoulder buttons. It connects to the iPhone with low-power Bluetooth 4.0, which Zagg says not only helps with latency, but lets the company get by with a slender 150 mAh battery lithium ion battery and still get 150 hours of gameplay.

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  • T.C. Sottek

    Jan 8, 2013

    T.C. Sottek

    Valve confirms it's building a Linux-based Steam Box that will act as a local gaming server for all your screens

    valve steam box prototype CES 2013
    valve steam box prototype CES 2013

    In an exclusive interview with The Verge, Valve CEO Gabe Newell shed light on the company's hardware plans, confirming that its own "Steam Box" will be based on Linux OS. The Steam Box has mostly been sheathed in rumor over the past year, but we've learned a number of interesting details about the planned device -- perhaps most importantly, the Steam Box won't just be a locked-down PC console designed to be used solely in the living room. "The Steam Box will also be a server," Newell says, "so you could have one PC and eight televisions and eight controllers."

    Newell also confirmed some of the company's plans for innovative controller inputs; something Valve has already said it's working on. Newell says he's most excited about biometric technologies that could affect gameplay on a level below the player's conscious thoughts; "I think you'll see controllers coming from us that use a lot of biometric data," Newell says. "Biometrics is essentially adding more communication bandwidth between the game and the person playing it, especially in ways that the player isn't necessarily conscious of."

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  • Jan 8, 2013

    T.C. Sottek and Tom Warren

    Exclusive interview: Valve's Gabe Newell on Steam Box, biometrics, and the future of gaming

    By T.C. Sottek and Tom Warren

    We just sat down for a rare and wide-ranging interview with Valve CEO Gabe Newell, who opened up to The Verge with details about the company's upcoming "Steam Box" gaming hardware, the future of the Steam digital distribution platform, and even gaming itself. For starters, Valve isn't just attacking the living room; the Steam Box will be designed to work across multiple screens in the home using networking standards like Miracast, ideally allowing users to effortlessly transition between rooms and monitors to enjoy gaming and other content. But Valve's goal isn't just to put a box into everyone's living room, it's to help build an ecosystem of content developers — including the gamers themselves.

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  • Ben Kersey

    Jan 8, 2013

    Ben Kersey

    The Archos GamePad: watch out, Project Shield

    Gallery Photo: Archos GamePad hands-on photos
    Gallery Photo: Archos GamePad hands-on photos

    Nvidia surprised everyone with the ambitious Project Shield, but Archos already has its own riff off the idea on the market. It’s part tablet and part controller that runs mostly stock Android 4.1 on a 7-inch 1024 x 600 screen. The twist is that GamePad has built in a controller emulator that allows onscreen buttons to the physical controls. We’d like to say it works without any issues, but the various demo units that we tried all seemed to have their own individual problems. Buttons failed to map correctly in certain games, and we had several crashes with Dead Trigger when trying to navigate around the terrain.

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  • T.C. Sottek

    Jan 8, 2013

    T.C. Sottek

    Valve's Steam Box gets big push at CES as Gabe Newell meets with major hardware partners

    Gallery Photo: Valve Steam Box prototypes
    Gallery Photo: Valve Steam Box prototypes

    We just stopped by Valve's small booth at CES, and the company has confirmed to The Verge that it is meeting with a number of hardware and software partners to push forward with its plans to release its own console-like PC for the living room. The company isn't showing off much to the press this year, but we managed to take a look at some prototype hardware Valve has sitting out, and it's not all too surprising; right now the Steam Box looks like a small-chassis PC. Valve representative Tom Giardino says that the company came to CES to meet specifically with hardware partners, and it has roughly 15 to 20 lined up — while he couldn't name specifics, he says we "wouldn't be surprised" with anybody on the list.

    Valve confirmed plans to create its own console-like PC for the living room last month, but the company also wants to get other manufacturers on board to make their own hardware capable of running Steam. It's rumored that Valve will tap Linux for its own version of the Steam Box. The company says that any of its partners are welcome to introduce their own hardware and call it whatever they like — including the term "Steam Box" — but it's meeting with select partners to optimize the hardware.

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  • Sean Hollister

    Jan 8, 2013

    Sean Hollister

    We try Intel's Perceptual Computing, play 'Portal 2' with a wave of the hand and reach into a computer screen

    Intel Portal 2 motion control
    Intel Portal 2 motion control

    Intel's "perceptual computing" initiative might still be a loose collection of motion control and voice recognition technologies right now, but that doesn't mean they aren't impressive feats: We just tried a few computers equipped with a Kinect-like 3D camera that let us play video games merely by waving a hand, and let us digitally reach right into the screen. It's pretty simple, really: Intel's tracking the motion of your fingers with an accuracy now that can scan each and every joint, then recreate that motion in real time.

    In Portal 2, that means that you can just reach out and grab a cube, and rotate it in 3D space just by rotating your hand the slightest amount. When you push your hand towards the screen, the cube moves deeper into the scene as well. That makes for some delightfully interactive puzzles, but also some destructive fun, as certain segments offer you pinpoint control over a deadly laser beam to destroy those pesky turrets. The only letdown is that "grabbing" is a particular motion where you make a fist, the game doesn't actually recognize when your fingers are wrapping around a virtual object. Just think: only two years ago, these exact same demos required a physical game controller and an electromagnetic orb.

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  • Jan 8, 2013

    Vlad Savov

    Razer Edge: hands-on with Windows 8's most dockable tablet

    razer edge
    razer edge

    Nvidia's not the only company bringing unconventional gaming hardware to CES this year — PC peripheral maker Razer is out in force with its new Windows 8 tablet, dubbed the Razer Edge. Besides running a proper x86 Intel Ivy Bridge processor and the full, non-RT Windows 8 experience, this tablet differs from the legion of other Winslates thanks to Razer's trifecta of accompanying hardware docks. One is a pretty standard docking station, another is a thick and chunky detachable keyboard with integrated battery, and the third, most striking one, is a two-handed gamepad controller that wraps around the Edge. It too has an added battery cell to extend the device's endurance, and it too is thick and weighty.

    In fact, the entire Edge seems to have been named in an act of self-parody. There's nothing particularly edgy about this meaty, hefty tablet. It comes with two big vents at the top, which heat up quite appropriately once you fire up a demanding 3D game like Dishonored. Still, other than the generous proportions and weight, there are few complaints to levy at the Edge's physical construction: as I say, those vents do their job very efficiently, everything feels solidly put together, and the gamepad itself exhibits great ergonomics. Moreover, performance when playing Dishonored or Civilization V was extremely fluid and responsive. Though I didn't get to play them myself, Dirt and Rift were also being shown off and their frame rates were similarly silky.

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  • Adi Robertson

    Jan 8, 2013

    Adi Robertson

    Razer's powerful, convertible Edge tablet is all things to all gamers — for a price

    Gallery Photo: Razer Edge convertible gaming tablet photos
    Gallery Photo: Razer Edge convertible gaming tablet photos

    Almost exactly a year after we first saw Razer's high-end gaming tablet Project Fiona, its final iteration has come back with a price, release date, and several new form factors. Now called the Razer Edge, it's evolved from a tablet with non-removable side controllers to a standalone 10.1-inch Windows 8 tablet with three separate peripherals: a keyboard, a stand, and a case with complementary game controllers. Razer calls it "the most powerful tablet in the world," and it's almost certainly right.

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  • Sean Hollister

    Jan 8, 2013

    Sean Hollister

    AMD Temash hands-on: basic Windows gaming on a 1080p tablet

    Gallery Photo: AMD Temash reference tablet hands-on pictures
    Gallery Photo: AMD Temash reference tablet hands-on pictures

    AMD has a lot of confusing codenames in the stable, but here's one you might actually want to know: Temash is AMD's next tablet processor, and it looks like it could make for a solid Windows 8 experience even with PC games as part of the bargain. Near the tail-end of AMD's not-so-action-packed press conference, the company revealed that the tiny chip will have double the graphics performance of the current Hondo APU we saw in Vizio's new tablet earlier today, and proved it to us too, letting us try a Wistron-built reference tablet running DiRT Showdown at full 1080p resolution on the quad-core Temash APU. Admittedly that's far from the most demanding game out there, and it wasn't running at a particularly high framerate either, but it seems like AMD's low-power silicon has made a sizable jump in performance.

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  • Jan 7, 2013

    Vlad Savov

    Nvidia Project Shield hands-on video preview

    Nvidia Shield stock
    Nvidia Shield stock

    It didn't take long for the first bombastic announcement of CES 2013, with Nvidia's clamshell Project Shield handheld console stealing the Sunday limelight. This morning I got to grips with this wild new Android portable, gleaning an early idea of the green team's future as a consumer hardware vendor, plus a better idea of the performance of the all-new Tegra 4 system-on-chip. Our first hands-on video, photos and impressions can be found below.

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  • Dan Seifert

    Jan 7, 2013

    Dan Seifert

    Nvidia announces Project Shield handheld gaming system with 5-inch multitouch display, available in Q2 of this year

    Nvidia has just unveiled a new handheld gaming system called Project Shield. Project Shield is powered by the Tegra 4 processor and can play console-quality games while still providing a mobile experience. The processor is capable of pushing 4K resolution video over HDMI to external displays. It includes advanced sound processing that Nvidia says rivals Beats Audio-equipped laptops, and a 33Wh battery that provides five to ten hours of play time or 24 hours of HD video playback. It features a 5-inch, 720p Retinal multitouch display with 294ppi pixel density, and has a slot for micro-SD card expansion. The Shield runs Android — pure Android without a skin, as Nvidia insists — and includes Google's apps for Gmail and the Play Store.

    In addition to supporting all of the games available to Android devices and the games in the Tegra Zone, the Shield also has the ability to stream games from a home Windows PC equipped with a GeForce GTX 650 (or higher) graphics card to the handheld device over Wi-Fi, letting users access their library of PC games, including games in the Steam library, anywhere in their home. It access the games on the home PC and run them virtually on the Shield. In the future, Nvidia says that it will add support to stream content from the Shield to a television wirelessly, so you can watch video and play games on your TV display without being tethered by wires. Of course, with support for the standard Android platform, the Shield also has access to the hundreds of thousands of apps that are available in the Google Play Store.

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  • Aaron Souppouris

    Jan 7, 2013

    Aaron Souppouris

    Lenovo's Erazer X700 gaming PC has a big red 'overclock' button

    Gallery Photo: Lenovo Erazer X700 gaming PC hands-on
    Gallery Photo: Lenovo Erazer X700 gaming PC hands-on

    Lenovo is demoing a brand new gaming tower PC here at CES, the Erazer X700. It's aggressively styled to the point where it almost looks like a parody of other companies' towers, with harsh angles and more blue lights than we cared to count. It features what Lenovo is calling "OneKey Overclocking," which automatically overclocks the CPU and GPU for when you need some extra power. It's configurable with a choice of Core i7 Extreme processors, either dual GeForce GTX660 or AMD Radeon HD 8950 graphics cards, and up to 16GB of DDR3 RAM. You'll also be able to choose from a wide range of storage options and optical drives. The Erazer X700 will be available in June starting from $1,499.

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  • T.C. Sottek

    Jan 7, 2013

    T.C. Sottek

    Mad Catz wants to make its funky gaming style mainstream with new R.A.T.M and M.O.U.S.9 mice (hands-on)

    Gallery Photo: MadCatz M.O.U.S.9 and R.A.T.M hands-on
    Gallery Photo: MadCatz M.O.U.S.9 and R.A.T.M hands-on

    We just got a chance to check out Mad Catz's new mice in its GameSmart line — new Bluetooth 4.0 products that are certified to work with a range of mobile devices, computers, and consoles. The new mice share both the same wacky nomenclature and design as its earlier gaming mice, the R.A.T 7 and R.A.T. 9 — though the company says the newer devices are aimed at mainstream users. Mad Catz has opted to keep the same metal chassis which made the original R.A.T. devices stand-out, but the build quality isn't quite as impressive; while the mice feel similar in the hand to earlier models, both the R.A.T.M and M.O.U.S.9 are primarily covered in a glossy plastic that feels much cheaper compared to their predecessors. Both of the mice include plenty of programmable buttons and toggles, and the company says customizing them will be easier than ever with a new "drag-and-drop" method (though we weren't able to see this demonstrated).

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  • David Pierce

    Jan 6, 2013

    David Pierce

    Lenovo IdeaCentre Horizon brings touchscreen gaming to a massive 27-inch surface (video hands-on)

    Apparently Lenovo liked what it saw from Sony's Tap 20, because here at CES the company is introducing its own "portable" desktop PC. The IdeaCentre Horizon is primarily a Windows 8-enabled all-in-one — Lenovo calls it a "table PC" — with a 27-inch, 1080p 10-finger touchscreen, Intel's Core i7 processors and discrete graphics. But it's also portable, at least in theory, thanks to an internal battery that Lenovo says will power the gigantic device for two hours at a time. The gigantic slate is only 1.06 inches thick, but it weighs 17 pounds, so its actual viability as a tablet will vary with your upper-body strength. In a more practical nod to the Horizon's touch-friendliness, Its hinge lets it either sit up at a normal angle for a PC, or lay flat on a table.

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