Ones to Watch:
Sony's PlayStation Vita hopes to succeed in North America where the PlayStation Portable failed. It's a slick-looking little device with a 5" OLED screen, front touchscreen and rear touch pad, motion sensing, support for cross-platform play with the PlayStation 3, and plenty of other little bells and whistles. It's got a solid launch-window lineup as well, from a new Uncharted game to the neat-looking Gravity Rush. Getting the full Vita experience will cost more than the unit's $250 base price (a separate and rather overpriced memory card is required for many games, for example), but it's certainly a better deal than the poor, mishandled Go. Will the Vita finally sell hardcore Western gamers and game developers on portable gaming? We'll see over the next few years.
The Kinect for Xbox 360 has been a huge hit for Microsoft, and the company couldn't help but notice the many experimental uses that people were putting the device to. Never one to pass up an opportunity, Microsoft is now officially launching a version of Kinect for Windows. It's aimed at allowing businesses and schools to use motion-sensing technology in creative ways, but it's sure to be used for gaming as well. Kinect for Windows is launching in February for a premium price ($250) and without a strong gaming infrastructure to back it up, so people who are primarily interested in using it to play games may want to wait a bit and see what pops up for it.
So far, Nintendo has had a monopoly on glasses-free 3D in the consumer market, but that's going to change with WikiPad's upcoming 3D tablet. Geared toward gamers, the WikiPad 3D tablet features a glasses-free 3D display, full HD capabilities, and an attachable controller. It will run Android 4.0 and have all the abilities of a standard tablet as well. The WikiPad received positive impressions at CES 2012, though reviewers noted that due to ghosting only one person can enjoy the 3D effect at a time. The WikiPad is scheduled to release this spring.
Razer is going in a different direction with its prototype gaming tablet, currently known only as Project Fiona. The tablet will run in a PC environment (the version at CES had Windows 7 and ran games using both Steam and OnLive), allowing gamers to play full-fledged PC games on the go. The tablet has controllers attached to each side, allowing for dual-analog, console-style control. The controllers also feature force-feedback capability. Project Fiona has a 1280x800 HD display and has THX-certified surround sound. Although the "winged" controller setup seems a bit awkward, it's nice to see a tablet looking to fully embrace hardcore gaming. This device is probably the furthest-off of everything previewed in this article, so it may change quite a bit before it's actually released.
New tablets are all well and good, but SteelSeries has a treat for gamers who are happy with their existing tablets. The SteelSeries ION is a Bluetooth controller for iOS, Android, and Windows operating systems. It features a classy black and white design and the usual dual-analog and d-pad controller setup. It's smaller than the usual controller, though, about the size of a standard deck of cards, according to the SteelSeries website. It's fully remappable and lasts for about twenty hours on one charge, so it looks to be a good choice for gaming on the go.
Date: January 17, 2012
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*