Our pick of the top gaming tech announcements at CES 2015
With CES 2015 in full swing, there have been plenty of gaming service and peripheral announcements of note.
The majority of the new gaming tech announced won’t actually go on sale until later this year, but you might want to use the round-up below to start your shopping list.
We’ll be updating this page with any new gaming announcements made at CES 2015, and let us know if you spot any we’ve missed.
MSI at CES 2015
Another batch of new hardware announcements came from MSI at this year’s CES. MSI revealed five new products, including the innovative MSI GS30 Shadow and Gaming Dock.
MSI GT80 Titan SLI – A brand new gaming laptop with an integrated mechanical keyboar featuring Cherry MX Brown switches and a SteelSeries design. It comes packing dual nvidia GTX 980M GPUs in SLI and can supports up to 4x M.2 SATA SSDs in RAID 0 and 32GB of memory. The GT80 Titan will start shipping this month with prices starting at $3,399.99 (£2,550).
MSI GS30 Shadow and Gaming Dock – This innovative combo sees a 13.3-inch gaming laptop, measuring up at 0.77-inches thick and weighing less than 2.65lbs, paired with a Gaming Dock to enhance the power of the laptop when at home. The laptop itself features an Intel 4th Gen Core i7-4870HQ processor, 16GB DDR 1600MHz RAM and Iris Pro graphics.
The Gaming Dock itself allows you to use the processing power of a desktop GPU up to 14.3-inches in length, and add aditioanl storage via a 3.5-inch hard drive slot.
The pair will go on sale later this month with prices starting at $1,700 (£1,200).
MSI GE 62 Apache – Another gaming laptops, but this time a more affordable option. It features a choice of Nvidia GTX 965M and GTX 970M graphics, dual exhaust system, SteelSeries gaming keyboard and actually weighs less than 2.7kg. The revamped design apparently extends battery life by 46 per cent too.
It will go on sale later this month, retailing from $1,399.99 (£950).
MSI AG240 All-In-One 4K Gaming PC – This AIO gaming PC comes with an UHD 4K display, 3x mSATA SSDs at RAID 0, the latest Intel processor, Nvidia GeForce 900M Series GPU, MSI’s Anti-Flicker and Less Blue Light technology.
The AG240 will be available in March for $1,999 (£1322.75).
MSI AP16 All-In-One PC – The Flex is an AIO than enables users to go from traditional desktop to tablet mode thansk to a rotating kickstand that can be flipped back 90-degress for desktop mode or laid flat. It uses the Intel Bay Trail J1900 quad-core processor, LED backlight panel and fanless design.
it will go on sale in January with prices starting at $499 (£330).
Oculus VR at CES 2015
Oculus VR has shown off the new audio improvements within the current Oculus Rift prototype.
The specialised audio technology is similar to a surround sound system that is contained within the headset. So if you’re embroiled in a gun battle in the latest FPS title on Oculus rift, all gunshots will be heard coming from the right direction.
These audio improvements come in the form of the Crescent Bay Oculus Rift headset – a new, lightweight headset that comes with built-in sonics.
There’s still no word on an official release date for the Oculus Rift, despite the promise of a 2015 consumer launch.
Related: Oculus Rift vs Project Morpheus – VR tech compared
Intel at CES 2015
Intel’s 5th Generation chips finally released
It’s been a long time, with numerous delays, but Intel finally released its 5th Generation chips.
Ten new 15W processors, all with Intel HD Graphics and four new 28W processors with Intel Iris Graphics were all announced. Intel also revealed that a variety of manufacturers are set to launch new products kitted out with the new 5th Generation chips.
The new processors use Intel’s 14nm process and claim to deliver up to 24% better graphical performance, 50% faster video conversion and improve battery life by up to an hour and a half.
Related: Intel’s 14nm revolution – Why you should care
Nvidia at CES 2015
Nvidia Tegra X1 unveiled as “mobile super chip”
The huge reveal from Nvidia at CES 2015 was the Nvidia Tegra X1. It follows on from the seriously impressive Nvidia Tegra K1, found in the Nvidia Shield Tablet.
The 64-bit Tegra X1 offers double the performance of its predecessor, though, with 256 processor cores.
That architecture means the X1 can exceed 1 teraflop and can handle 4K video playback at 60Hz.
Nvidia was also quick to highlight that during its Unreal Engine 4 Elemental demo, the Tegra X1 was only using 10W of power. Comparatively, the Xbox One needs 100W to run the same test, highlighting the power efficiency of the Tegra X1.
Tegra X1 behind the new Drive CX automotive focus
That powerful new processor will be the driving force behind Nvidia’s new in-car direction, too. Nvidia Drive CX is the digital cockpit bound for the cars of the near-future.
It runs on the Tegra X1 and is capable of powerful multiple in-car displays up to 16.6 megapixels. Nvidia also foresees the CX powering features like speech and image recognition.
With Drive CX comes the similarly named Drive PX. This features two X1 processors that can process camera inputs from up to 12 cameras positioned around the vehicle.
Drive PX utilises computer-vision technology to recognise objects around the car, including potential hazards such as pedestrians.
Related: Tegra X1 – What you need to know
Razer at CES 2015
Razer takes on the Android TV market with the Razer Forge TV
Razer is stepping out with one of the first Android TV set-top boxes, and the Razer Forge TV is definitely one with a strong gaming focus.
Running on a 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor with 2GB of RAM and an Adreno 420 GPU, the Forge TV also comes with 16GB of internal storage as standard.
It runs Android TV, but it also uses the new Razer Cortex: Stream gaming launcher, which will arrive in beta in the spring.
The Forge TV is a dinky little box, not unlike its rival the Amazon Fire TV. Razer’s box measures up at 105 x 105 x 17mm, while the Amazon Fire TV is 115 x 115 x 17.5mm – neither making much of an impact on your TV setup.
Accessory wise, Razer also introduced the Razer Serval game controller – another Android gamepad with a distinct Xbox 360 design and feel to it. You’ll be able to buy the controller and Forge TV set-top box as a bundle for about £149.99. The box alone will be around the £99 mark.
For those looking for a more PC-like experience, Razer also outed the Razer Turrent keyboard and gaming mouse combo, which you can read more about here.
See also: Best Android games 2014
Razer to launch open-source VR headset in 2015
Razer has revealed its plans to launch its own virtual reality headset and open-source software initiative, called OSVR (Open-Source Virtual Reality).
OSVR is a new group formed to promote interoperability around VR gaming, and Razer is the first to lay its cards out on the OSVR table.
The VR headset developer’s kit is on show and fully functional at CES and features a gyroscope, accelerometer and compass. It also has a surround-sound codec for developers to add 3D audio to their games.
The headset’s internal display runs at 1920 x 1080 Full HD, with the optical elements within fully adjustable.
It also has USB ports for connecting controllers or other peripherals.
Razer has confirmed it will make all the schematics and 3D files available to download, so people can make their own versions or customise the design to their liking.
When Razer’s OSVR Hacker Dev Kit is released in June 2015 it’ll cost $200, but some select devs are being allowed access now.
Any software written for Unity 3D or Unreal 4 Engine will run on the Razer VR headset, too.
Related: Samsung Gear VR preview
PlayStation at CES 2015
PlayStation Vue coming to US this quarter
The cloud TV service, PlayStation Vue, will be launched in the US in full sometime during Q1 2015.
As revealed during the Sony CES 2015 press conference, PlayStation Vue will arrive early this year and be available on a month-by-month subscription service.
Sony hasn’t yet confirmed the pricing for its cloud TV service in the US, but at least we know vaguely when it’ll arrive.
Currently there are 75 channels to PlayStation Vue’s name, including big players such as Discovery, NBC, CBS, Fox and Viacom.
US and Canadian PlayStation Now subscription pricing revealed
PlayStation Now subscription pricing has been officially confirmed for the US.
The subscription options will be available from Tuesday, January 13 in the US and Canada, on the PS4 only to begin with. Other PlayStation Now devices will follow at a later date.
Gamers will have the choice of two different subscription plans. There’s the $19.99 per month option, or you can pay $44.99 for a three-month rolling membership, which gives you a saving of $4.99 a month.
There will be a seven-day free trial to take advantage of, too.
The subscription plan gives you unlimited access to the over 100 PS3 games that are currently available now. You won’t get access to the other PlayStation Now titles at this stage, though.
Global PS4 sales top 18.5 million
PS4 sales around the world have now surpassed 18.5 million units, with over 4.1 million units sold during the Christmas period alone.
As for the UK, the PS4 was the best-selling console in 2014, even during the final week and peak selling season of November and December combined.
Related: Upcoming PS4 games 2015
Turtle Beach in CES 2015
A batch of new Turtle Beach Xbox One headsets
Turtle Beach lifted the lid on a trio of new Xbox One headsets at CES this year.
The main focus is the Turtle Beach Elite 800X, a brand-new wireless gaming headset for the Xbox One. It’s the first for the Xbox One to come with active noise cancellation and an invisible boom-less microphone.
The Elite 800X comes with DTS 7.1-channel surround sound along with customisable presets for defining your audio preferences.
Like the PS4 version, it comes with a magnetic charging stand, too.
The other two headsets for the Xbox One announced at CES 2015 are the XO Seven Pro and the XO Four Stealth.
The XO Seven Pro is officially licensed by Major League Gaming and comes with a new feature called Superhuman Hearing. The audio technology makes things that are usually softer, like an enemy’s footprints, easier to hear.
The XO Four Stealth is the lighter option and is designed to be compatible with mobile devices, too.
It features 50mm neodymium speaker drivers, removable mic and fold-flat ear cups. There’s also a special Ear Force Headset Audio Controller, putting bass boost, master volume, chat volume and mic mute controls at your fingertips.
Pricing and release dates for all apart from the Elite 800X, which will go on sale in June, have yet to be confirmed.
Turtle Beach doesn’t forget about PC either
Previously launched in Germany, the following Turtle Beach PC components will arrive in the UK sometime in the Spring.
Turtle Beach Impact 700 – A metal-reinforced gaming keyboard with laser-engraved, backlit Cherry MX Brown keys, a full-sized chassis, gunmetal keycap plate and full anti-ghosting. It also comes with 3.5mm mic and audio jacks, two USB 2.0 ports with direct audio pass-through for a gaming headset and mouse.
Turtle Beach Impact 500 – A mechanical gaming keyboard for PC and Mac with Cherry Blu MX mechanical switches, a soft-touch, metal-reinforced chassis and a minimalist keycap layout for a smaller footprint.
Turtle Beach Grip 300 – An affordable, optical 5-button scrollwheel gaming mouse with the Avago 3050 optical sensor and Omron switches. It has an illuminated scrollwheel, logo and hardware switches for adjusting DPI from 500 to 1750 and polling rate from 125 to 1000Hz.
See also: Best gaming headsets 2014
Mad Catz at CES 2015
Mad Catz storms CES with an army of peripherals
You can safely say that Mad Catz put in a lot of effort at this year’s CES. The company pulled tonnes of products out of the metaphorical bag, including the following three headsets, the insane L.Y.N.X. 9 gaming controller and a gaming mouse.
Mad Catz F.R.E.Q. 9 – A Bluetooth wireless gaming headset that comes with AM3D Audio technology and an integrated boom-free microphone. You also get a special adapter box with the headset, allowing it to connect to a standard digital optical or analogue source.
It also comes with Active Noise Cancellation technology for background noise reduction and Binaural Monitoring for tracking ambient noise. It will start shipping later this month.
Mad Catz F.R.E.Q. TE – A stereo gaming headset for the PC and Mac part of the Mad Catz Tournament Edition range. It comes with a uni-directional boom mic, 50mm speakers within padded memory foam ear cups and on-ear controls for easy access.
It connects to your PC or Mac’s sound card via 3.5mm headphone jack.
Mad Catz Tritton Swarm – A wireless mobile gaming headset that comes with Bluetooth connectivity and a wired connection option for PC, Mac, gaming consoles and mobile devices. It has aptX technology to combat lip-sync issues found in some Bluetooth headsets, and AM3D Audio for 3D sound.
Mad Catz L.Y.N.X. 9 – A mobile hybrid controller that’s the Swiss Army Knife of mobile game controllers. It can be assembled in different configurations to accommodate a 7-inch tablet, smartphone, mini QWERTY keyboard or just act as a standalone controller. It has an integrated mousepad for navigation and connects to a variety of Android, PC and Smart TV devices via Bluetooth.
It’s available to order now for a whopping $299.99.
Mad Catz R.A.T. PRO X – A gaming mouse built from a magnesium alloy chassis for lightness and strength and featuring a new Scroll Wheel system. Compatible with PC, it incorporates Modular Sensor Units (MSU) so you can swap out the sensor according to play style.
SteelSeries at CES 2015
SteelSeries keeps its eye on game streamers with the Sentry Eye Tracker…
Powered by Tobii technology, the company behind the leading eye trackers, the SteelSeries Sentry Eye Tracker was announced at CES 2015.
It’s capable of tracking eye movement in real time and overlaying that directly onto the screen, so that viewers watching the live stream can see exactly where the players are looking.
SteelSeries are working with eSports professionals to test the software and establish peak performance, which will really benefit average competitive gamers when they come to use it.
It can be bought now for £159.99 from the SteelSeries website.
…while its fingers are busy with the SteelSeries Apex M800 Keyboard
The Apex M800 is a brand-new mechanical gaming keyboard from SteelSeries, which the company is claiming is the fastest and most customisable available worldwide.
It has an LED surface mounted on every key, with colour choices numbering 16.8 million. The mechanical switches within are said to deliver 25% faster actuation than the standard mechanical keyboard, too.
Again, this is available now and retails for £159.99.
Related: Xbox One vs PS4
HP at CES 2015
HP launches gaming-focused 4K, 5K and curved displays
Attempting to take on rivals including Apple and its 5K Retina iMac, HP has revealed several gaming-focused monitors, including a 5K resolution option.
The HP Z27q is a 27-inch monitor with a 5K resolution, working out at a 218ppi image density. It uses a 16:9 aspect ratio, features four USB 3.0 ports. It will cost around the $1299/£850 mark when it goes on sale in March.
Then HP also announced two 4K monitors, the Z24s and Z27s. Both monitors use a 16:9 aspect ratio, but the former is a 23.8-inch display and the latter is the more substantial 27-inch variant.
At that resolution the Z24s has an image density of 185ppi, while the Z27s has a 163ppi image density.
Both monitors come with an array of connectivity options, including Mini DisplayPort, HDMI and four USB 3.0 ports.
The Z27s is going on sale this month for $749/£490, while the Z24s won’t be available until April for $549/£360.
HP unveiled a curved monitor too, with a 34-inch 3440 x 1440p resolution, falling just short of the 4K mark. It has a 12:9 aspect ratio and a price tag of $999/£655 when it goes on sale in April.
See also: Best monitors 2014
Nyko at CES 2015
Upgrade your PS4 HDD with the Data Bank for PS4
Currently the PS4 is only compatible with 2.5-inch SATA HDD, but with the Nyko Data Bank, you can kit out your PS4 with a beefier, larger 3.5-inch HDD. It attaches to the to the top of the console and replaces the 2.5-inch hard drive.
3.5-inch HDD tend to be faster and offer larger storage sizes but for cheaper prices, so this could well be a nifty – albeit pretty ugly – solution to a full PS4 hard drive.
It will be released in the first half of 2015, but there’s no word on pricing as yet.
The Nyko Type Pad allows for quick text input
If you’re irritated by the text input options on the PS4, despite there being quite a few of them, you might be interested in the Nyko Type Pad. it plugs into the headphone jack on the DualShock 4 and enables QWERTY keyboard text input for any Bluetooth keyboard-enabled games and apps.
It will also be available sometime in the first half of 2015, but again no price has been detailed.
See also: Best PS4 games 2014
We’ll keep you posted if and when any more tech gaming announcements arrive from CES. Feel free to give us your thoughts on the latest news in the comments below.