It’s a little-known fact that after big tradeshows, we write trailing content for weeks afterward, catching some of the stories that otherwise flew under the radar, or lacked details that we had to run down, or required some reflection and thoughtfulness.
And so it has been in the weeks post-CES 2017. CES is one of the largest tradeshows, and it seems to grow more bloated larger every year. Also, it’s in the middle of Las Vegas, a city that is designed specifically to disorient and confuse you. Also, most people come home with what folks in the biz not-so-affectionately call “CES flu.”
Even so, our intrepid crew pounding the pavement in Vegas and our crack team manning the shop back home produced many dozens of articles from the show, all of which you can find here.
One of more notable gaming stories this week was (sort of) Microsoft’s upcoming Game Mode. On its face, it sounds fantastic--it’s supposed to help games run better and more consistently on your PC. Hurray! Except that UWP apps will run better than Win32 apps. And although we were initially told that it was coming in a new Insider Preview build on January 26, that was delayed by a day. And now there are bugs that will crash or throw up black screens when you use Game Mode. And...gee whiz Microsoft, way to be a buzzkill. Sure, it’s an Insider Build, but still. Sigh. Wake us in a few months when you have the kinks worked out.
Oh and by the way, Nintendo casually outed the long-awaited specs for its shiny new Switch console. They just sort of popped on Nintendo’s UK site--and that’s where we spotted them, because they weren’t on the U.S. site for some reason. We had some info from a prior announcement, but now we have all the details on the console itself, the dock, the Joy-Con controllers (so what’s the deal with that name?) and accessories.
And hey, a new Mass Effect trailer!
The PSVR is a great HMD, but it does that pesky problem of being unable to play any VR titles that run on the PC. That sounds like both an obvious and ludicrously difficult problem to work around, but--well, never underestimate tinkering nerds, because the odd sheep over at Odd Sheep Games made something called Trinus PSVR that lets you do just that. Kevin Carbotte penned a very long and helpful primer outlining what it is, how it works, and how toget it to work.
Trinus PSVR is limited to seated-only titles, but Oculus, by contrast, wants you to stand up and fight (or cast spells, or whatever) by offering more details and setup tips for room scale VR.
Of the trends that solidified itself (at least in our minds) at CES is the quiet trend of new mechanical keyboard switches cropping up in new places. For quite a while now, mechanical keyboard switches have had quite a bit in common with one another, but this new lot are designed for laptops and super-thin keyboards. They have low-profile caps, shallow travel, and an overall much thinner profile than most desktop keyboards.
Speaking of new switches, Razer finally debuted its own linear switch (Yellow), which made their debut on the new Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2. The announcement stole a bit of thunder from Corsair and its K95 Platinum RGB keyboard announcement, which came barely 24 hours prior. Two of the titans of the keyboard industry refreshing their flagships within a day of one another? You can practically hear the swords clashing.
Big News In...Chromebooks?
Yeah, Chromebooks. Kind of a big week there, actually. First, Google’s Chromebooks continue their successful trolling of Windows devices in the education market. Microsoft outed its “Intune for Education” program that includes easier management tools and even less expensive Windows laptops for kids’ sticky fingers to type on.
Just hours before Microsoft’s announcement broke, though, Google slipped in front and announced a couple of new Chromebooks that each come with a handy stylus and an Adobe suite of Android apps optimized for Chromebooks (including some of those in the Creative Cloud suite).
But both announcements were upstaged by this doozy: All new Chromebooks will support Android apps. That’s not so hot for those who have a Chromebook collecting dust, but it’s a huge deal for the platform going forward. Now, instead of being lightweight browsery almost-laptops, Chromebooks put an accessible laptop form factor face on Android apps.
Microsoft may want to up its game.
A few other notable news items from the week that you may want to check out include: