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Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Gaming in transition [CES 2006]

Gaming in transition

"The video game landscape has gone through some interesting changes in 2005. The year started with Sony's PSP making a strong debut against portable king Nintendo, and it ended with the Xbox 360 hitting stores--and immediately selling out. Meanwhile, the 360's main competitors--the Nintendo Revolution and the Sony PlayStation 3--won't be available until sometime in 2006. That leaves CES 2006 squarely in the middle--which means few, if any, big gaming announcements.

Console gaming in transition

Details about the new consoles from Sony and Nintendo are sketchy at best. In fact, neither company has confirmed a firm release date for its respective console beyond a vague 2006 time frame. Nintendo won't even be showing up at CES, and Sony will likely focus on its consumer electronics products instead. Expect to see the PS3 and its Blu-ray compatibility widely touted, but don't look for playable game demos on the show floor. We're expecting nothing more than a product mockup under glass and maybe a looping video trailer for Metal Gear Solid: Guns of the Patriots. In all likelihood, any substantive information on either system won't be forthcoming until the E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) show in May.

Of course, the Xbox 360 is the only next-gen gaming console that you can buy right now, supply shortages notwithstanding. Look for Microsoft to use CES to crow about the system's early lead, remind everyone about its impressive media capabilities, and tout it as the keystone of the 21st-century digital home. There will also be a bevy of accessories (controllers, cables, headsets, and the like) shown from third-party vendors, but once again, you'll have to wait for E3 for juicy tidbits on actual games." [more]

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