It’s been a couple of weeks since the mind-blowing CES and we’re only just starting to digest all that was showcased at the electronics show. We caught up with tech blogger ‘Girl Meets Geek’ who announced the NAVGTR awards at this year’s CES (nominees can be seen here http://navgtr.org/nominees/), to discuss the future of gaming and everything else in between.
Tell us about your overall experience at this year’s CES.
I believe this year’s CES is proving to be a turning point for the industry. The niches of the show (health, aging, kids, sustainable,) is rising to equal importance with the everyday CES focus: Panasonic, Sony, Canon, Epson, Samsung, etc. I’m hoping this means that consumers can expect products suited to their everyday lifestyle, instead of a press coverage war over 4G or 3D televisions.
From a journalist’s perspective CES’s biggest difference this year came in the form of heightened awareness that people walk the floors at CES to copy each other’s designs and ideas. Many of the press meetings and announcements were done more personally and in hotel suites, instead of on the main floor. With the patent war alive and booming, it’s no surprise to me that companies and individuals are being more guarded about their designs and proprietary information. I think it’s needed in a world that pushes every individual and product to, ‘get there first’, instead of, ‘get there best.’
Overall, CES continues to be the highlight of my year not only for the people I meet and network with, but because I believe technology has the responsibility to make lives better both inside and outside the home. I did leave the show feeling a bit of, ‘…and now what?’ over most of the products, with a select few as the exception.
What do you think of Sony’s Playstation Now? Do you think that cloud gaming is the future?
Sony’s keynote opened with Gary Shapiro, (President of the CEA) stating that historically, disruptions in the industry are what have driven technology the farthest. When Kazuo Hirai took the stage, I remembered why I liked him, he has a kind face! Most of CES is a magic show with flashes of light and short bursts of brilliance. I tend to dig deeper when I view company leaders as authentic.
So, it brings us to Playstation 4 and the BIG announcement. We’ve seen success in the gaming industry with Steam and Valve, just like the movie and television industry had Netflix, Sony introduced Playstation Now. Which, of course they had to, with Microsoft offering cloud gaming with Xbox One. Where I used to think Nintendo led the pack, now it seems to be Microsoft and Sony, which is disappointing on so many levels. This is where my earlier comment of, ‘…and now what?’ comes into play. If everyone is offering the same service, no one is different.
No one will admit it, but 3 years ago when DISH introduced their capability for any devices and streaming multiple shows at a time, I knew it was going to be a huge game-changer, not just for television, but for every device. My thought is, first Sony will get players hooked on streaming games and downloading and hosting their content in the cloud, because it’s significantly less expensive than continuing to manufacture and launch games. I mentioned at CES in 2009, we were slowly going to see the collateral of movies and games, disappear in some markets.
It’s interesting to see the evolution of the early 2000’s and most, ‘geeks’ having servers to host games, television shows and movies. We’re adapting, but in the opposite way. There’s a few issues when it comes to hosted media and streaming services. In the U.S, we’re currently in a fight over net neutrality that could literally, destroy Netflix and other streaming companies. Hosting media in the cloud always comes with privacy or user right’s concerns. Sadly, we haven’t yet started asking the right questions about ownership, privacy and security. I have no doubt we’ll get there, but as Gary Shapiro so intelligently spoke, we need a disruption and someone to say, ‘let’s be different.’
What are some of the best video games you’ve seen this year and why?
My picks might surprise you! (Keep in mind I’m still partial to computer gaming, WOW, 7th Guest and Myst/Riven.) I’m old school and since I’m a busy professional and parent, when I game, I do so with zest and in over-night increments, every few months when I can fit it in.
The Last of Us: After being hailed as the best-selling game for Playstation, I tried it out. The story is much deeper than other games. It focuses on moral truths and the sometimes disappearing line between black and white. One thing that caught me from early on, was Ellie’s ability to handle stress and have courage in difficult situations. Female gamers and those that are new to the industry don’t want to play as men, and if we are men, we want great female characters to interact with.
The Room: This is an old one I never had a chance to play until a flight to San Diego and some down time last winter. I’ve played it through three times, trying to beat my previous score and still gasping and groaning when I missed something I should have remembered! The Room is CRACK for gamers. Their newest expansion was decent, but they need to get updates and expansions out timelier to keep capturing numbers as they are.
Going Home: I was surprised as how interactive the game was. This is a PC-based game where you click around and find clues as to why someone is missing, (I don’t want to give the GREAT away.) The end isn’t a shocker, but it ties things up nicely and left me with a genuine smile. Without jumpscares, the game focuses on suggestive ideas, (devil worship, abandonment, family and LGBT-friendly issues.) I loved the game for the sounds, (the rain is soothing, rather than scary) and the user experience while playing. (This game reminded me a lot of the mid-nineties hit, “7th Guest” which I was absolutely addicted to.)
I’ve played a few games and I’m having a hard time getting through, one being Lara Croft’s reboot. Lara Croft was decent, but I couldn’t get into the story. I was ‘scared; but wasn’t told the ‘why’ to get me emotionally-hooked. They tried to showcase Lara’s vulnerability and human weakness, but I just ended up screaming with my controller, ‘get up!’
So how about that? We think ‘Girl Meets Geek’ summed up the gaming world at CES pretty well! Do you agree with Kate-Madonna’s thoughts on this year’s CES? Are you a gamer whose future lies in the cloud? Keep up to date with all of Kate’s coverage of the digital world on her blog here http://www.girlmeetsgeek.com/ and join us on ours for more news from the world of the cloud.