Posted by Rampant Coyote on January 8, 2013
Wow. Winter CES is happening now, and more gaming devices are being unveiled. Gamers, we live in interesting times. I haven’t seen this level of competition since the days of Atari 2600s / 5200s / Colecovisions / Intellivisions / Odyssey 2 / Vectrex / Astrocade and a swarm of “home computers.” And I was too young back to really get a good grasp of what was going on. And Sony and Microsoft haven’t weighed in… YET.
So in addition to the new low-end game consoles running off of Android, and the Wii U, we’ve got a couple more very interesting developments:
#1 – The NVidia Shield.
This one is… weird. Running on a new Tegra 4 processor, it is a handheld / TV / PC hybrid that allows you to play games streaming from your PC on a WIFI network. Yeah, I’m kinda thinking, “WTF” as I type that, but that’s how it is. There’ll be a little bit of latency, but it’s … well, that’s what it is. So basically you can play PC games from the comfort of your living room on a little 5″ display, or plug it into your TV. And it only works if your PC has a GeForce GTX 650 or better. So in that mode, it’s really just a gaming peripheral to allow PC games to become semi-portable… within the bounds of your WIFI or something.
However, it will also play Android games on its own – and again, can plug into the TV. So in that respect, it’s right there in the same territory as the Ouya, Green Throttle, and Game Stick. The streaming games off your PC thing can be considered a bonus. I imagine that with a 5″ HD screen and a high-end processor included, it’s not going to be in the same price category as these other systems.
#2 – Xi3′s “Piston” – The Steam Box????
And coming out yesterday – the “Piston” – perhaps the “Steam Box” that Valve has wanted to take us into the “Post-PC Era?” Basically it’s a PC optimized for running Steam in “Big Picture Mode” on a high-definition TV. As rumors abound that the “Steam Box” was supposed to be Linux-based, will it run Linux? How much will it cost? Guesstimates are in the $1000 range, which is pricey for a console – or a computer dedicated to console gaming. You can read more about it here, but details are still sketchy at this time.
#3 – The Unu
Then we have another point of congvergance – the UNU, which is attempting to do it all: Be a tablet, a TV game console AND video player. Details are even sketchier on this one, but you can read a little about it here.
#4 – The Ouya – Again
In order to get some solid Ouya support so that it might emerge at the top of the growing and cluttered heap, Ouya is sponsoring a game jam specific for its console: The “Create” game jam starts January 14th and is going on for ten days to create a playable prototype. The winners will get $45,000 (total). And the Ouya gets a lot of press, pulling judges from the likes of Phil “Fez” Fish, Ed Fries, and Felicia Day.
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