For most people, the first few weeks of January are a slow time where everyone’s easing back into their lives after long holiday breaks. That’s far from the case for the tech industry. CES kicks off next week, bringing an exciting few days filled with innovative new tech products. Historically, that’s brought us everything from flashy monitors to smart mattress toppers (yes, that was a very real product at last year’s show).
For video game enthusiasts, CES can either be a huge deal or so insignificant that one may not even know it’s happening. It’s an important showcase for PC gamers specifically, as it’s filled with advanced computing tech that often comes with major gaming benefits. For those who stick to consoles, though, it’s a bit less exciting these days. The show’s shrinking scope over the past few years has seen a smaller focus on gaming, with only a handful of console accessories slipping into the Las Vegas exhibition. Still, every year brings at least one major announcement that’s sure to make headlines.
So, should you be paying attention to CES this year if you’re eager for gaming news? If last year’s show is anything to judge by, the answer is yes — but come in with some very low expectations.
When I put together a CES preview like this, I’d usually spend most of the time walking through some teases and rumors. This year, I don’t have much to go on. We’ve yet to hear much from major video game brands like PlayStation and Xbox about what may be coming at the show. The information we do have in advance is sparse. We know that Mad Catz will bring its latest third-party video game accessories, alongside a demo for the upcoming Yatagarasu Enter the Eastward.
Other than that, CES will bring the usual suspects when it comes to gaming-adjacent tech. LG is expected to show off its 4K OLED UltraGear monitor this year and AMD has some new graphics cards in the works. You can expect a lot of computing news along those lines, with devices like gaming laptops being a central part of the multiday event.
That’s not to say that there won’t be anything juicier at the show for gaming fans; it’s just that CES has become far less predictable for that industry in recent years. Previous events would bring out tons of third-party controllers, arcade cabinets, and conceptual devices like Alienware’s home server, Nyx. We can expect that Razer will come with some sort of left-field idea of its own, just as it did with last year with Project Carol.
If any major gaming news is going to come from the show, it’ll be via Sony. The hardware giant has fully embraced CES as a space to reveal PlayStation products over the last few years, making its press conference a must-watch. Previously, we’ve seen both the PlayStation VR2 and PlayStation Access Controller at the show. We’ve even gotten video game sizzle reels that have confirmed release date delays. There’s a good chance Sony will continue that trend this year, as it’s confirmed to be hosting a show.
The long-shot hope would be that Sony will use the stage to show off an upgraded PlayStation 5 Pro model this year. While not impossible, it would be an uncharacteristically big reveal for Sony. That’s not to mention that the company just launched its new, slimmer PS5 models, so it might be a bit early to show off another hardware upgrade. The more realistic guess is that it could reveal some new headphones or devices compatible with its new PlayStation Link technology.
There is one exciting X-factor this year — and, fittingly, it’s Xbox. Generally, Microsoft doesn’t use the show to talk about its new gaming hardware, despite the fact that it revealed the original Xbox there at CES 2001 (with the help of The Rock). Instead, it tends to tout the work of its “partners” via Windows-enabled devices. However, we do know that there’s a lot of new Xbox hardware brewing thanks to documents leaked during Microsoft’s battle with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over its Activision Blizzard acquisition. A new Xbox controller with improved haptics and a refreshed Xbox Series X model are both in the cards for the brand. While unlikely, it’s not impossible that Microsoft could time an announcement for one of those products during the show.
The only other gaming news you’ll want to keep your eye on pertains to the portable PC market. Last year was a major year for Steam Deck-style devices thanks to the Asus ROG Ally and Lenovo’s Legion Go. That seemed to tease the beginning of a hot new trend that other hardware manufacturers are likely to follow. We know that Alienware previously had a concept for a device like that kicking around, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see a company like Acer taking its own stab at the market. Nothing’s confirmed at the moment, but considering that last year’s show gave us the Razer Edge, it’s not entirely out of the question.
No matter what happens, gaming’s presence will be an important component of CES 2024. If we get a few headline-making reveals, it’ll establish the tech expo as one of the key spots for hardware reveals. If not much comes of it at all, it’ll be a sign that gaming companies might be ready to move on from CES in the same way the industry abandoned E3. Considering that the latter is now retired due to a lack of interest from the big players, that’s one power vacuum CES won’t want to leave unfilled.
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