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Games Make Comeback at CES

13 Jan, 2005 By: John Gaudiosi

It's been 11 years since video games left the showrooms of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) for front-and-center billing at E3. But over the past two years, video games are making a comeback at CES.

This month's show had a large gaming turnout beyond the lavish Sony Computer Entertainment America press conference and party for PSP at the Hard Rock Casino.

Microsoft's Bill Gates included the Windows Media Center Extender Kit for Xbox in his press conference. The device, which is now on store shelves, lets gamers plug the gaming box into the networked home. Gates said in interviews at the show that with the next Xbox — Xenon — Microsoft will still focus on great video gaming, but video gaming for a broader set of people. He also said the console will have more communications, more media, more connectivity and high-definition graphics and wireless capabilities. Microsoft had a number of upcoming Xbox games on the show floor.

Nintendo was also on-hand at CES, showing its latest lineup of Nintendo DS and GameCube titles at the Showstoppers evening event, which means all three console makers used the CES venue to tap into the converging technologies and the press, analysts and retailers involved with them.

Electronic Arts had six PSP launch titles on display at the Venetian Hotel, marking the first time the software giant had used the show. The six games — NFL Street 2 Unleashed, Need for Speed: Underground Rivals, MVP Baseball, FIFA Soccer, Tiger Woods PGA Tour and NBA Street Showdown — are the most that EA has ever had for a hardware launch (it had four titles for PS2's launch).

Sony Online Entertainment had its new Untold Legends: Brotherhood of the Blade PSP game at several different events and booths, as well as Champions: Return to Arms for PS2.

Two new game consoles were on display, although both had been shown at E3 last year: Infinium Labs' Phantom Game Service, a broadband subscription game console for the living room, and Tiger Telemetics' Gizmondo handheld gaming system, which includes video and music playback, GPS and wireless e-mail access. Gizmondo ships in April for $399. Phantom has no release date and has already been delayed once from a fall 2004 launch.

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