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January 5, 2018updated 08 Jan 2018 9:08am

Gaming at CES Las Vegas 2018: what to expect from the video game world

By Luke Christou

The Consumer Electronics Show will play host to 4,000 exhibiting companies, 1,200 industry speakers and more than 180,000 tech fanatics eager to get their hands on the latest wares next week.

CES Las Vegas 2018 will showcase everything and anything tech. Self-driving cars, smart gadgets and televisions are expected to take centre stage in Nevada, but there is plenty for gamers to get excited about too.

Here are just a few things for video game fans to watch out for at CES Las Vegas 2018:

Major gaming companies

Don’t expect too much from the three major video game companies this year. Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo tend to save their big video game announcements for trade events such as E3 and Gamescom.

Nintendo rarely shows up to CES and won’t be around this year. Likewise, Microsoft will be around, but we don’t expect them to make any major Xbox related announcements.

Sony is the best bet if you’re hoping for a more video game focused offering, as they continue to push the PlayStation VR as the go to gadget for those interested in affordable virtual reality gaming.

The Japanese tech giants will be hosting a CES 2018 press conference on Tuesday, 8 January at 1am London time. But again, don’t expect anything major.

Augmented reality vs virtual reality

Virtual reality has taken an early lead as it battles augmented reality to become the future of gaming. VR dominated at CES last year. Companies like Intel and Samsung used the upcoming tech to show off their new products and experiences.

However, tech experts seem to believe that AR will have its day at this year’s event. With Microsoft continuing to push its mixed reality technology, tech fans will be hopeful of seeing what else the company is working on in that department.

Likewise, those interested in VR will be hoping that Lenovo finally unveils its own Google DayDream headset.

There will also be plenty of smaller companies on hand to demo the latest VR and AR technology. For a sneak peek at upcoming AR tech, head to the Augmented Reality Marketplace in South Hall 1 and 2. Don’rt miss the Virtual Reality Marketplace, which will be setting up shop nearby.

Industry leaders will be showcasing the latest in immersive technology, head-mounted displays, motion tracking and 360 degree video.

VR/AR talks

When you’re not busy tracking down your foes in augmented reality or slashing through them in virtual reality, there will be plenty of talks on the present and future of these new gaming technologies.

VR-AR: Top Technology and Entertainment Companies invites the likes of Aaron Luber, Head of AR/VR Content at Google and Tim Dillon, Head of VR & Immersive Content at visual effects specialists MPC Advertising, to discuss how these technologies are changing the world.

VR/AR: Hospitality, Arcades and Theme Parks will explore how these technologies are being used outside of the home to produce new commercial successes, from VR arcades to rollercoaster rides. Panelists will include Mariana Danilovic, CEO of digital accelerator Hollywood Portfolio, and Jennifer Chavarria, Head of Studio at VR studio Kite & Lightning.

The Augmented Reality Experience will see the likes of Mark Kapczynski, CEO of Kontrol Media, Patrick Aluise, Head of Digital Content at Moviebill, and Neil Parris of Google’s AR/VR department discuss the future of mobile tech, following Apple and Google’s AR development tool releases.

Gaming: The Killer AR/VR App sounds like the best of the bunch. As AR and VR continues to embed itself in the video game scene, legendary game designer Don Daglow will lead a panel featuring the likes of HitPoint game studio President Ariella Lehrer and Johnny Monsarrat, CEO of Monsarrat game studio.

Esports continues to grow

2017 was an explosive year for esports. The professional gaming industry is continuing to grow at a far faster rate than previously anticipated. The tech community has taken note and esports will, deservedly, feature heavily at CES Las Vegas 2018.

Esports fans will be desperate to catch the Street Fighter V Celebrity Showdown Live, ran by professional esports brand ELEAGUE. Given esport’s rising popularity, this is bound to be one of the most popular parts of the expo.

The event will offer two and a half hours of celebrity-on-celebrity fighting. A match between basketball star Shaquille O’Neal and actress Eva Marie is on the cards.

For something a little more serious, the Between Sports and Esports talk will see the likes of Minnesota Twins star Trevor May and NBC Sports’ Vice President, Rob Simmelkjaer, discuss the blurring lines between traditional sports and sports gaming.

Anything else?

The Gaming: 3 Rising Trends talk sounds like a must-see for video game fans. A host of industry experts from companies such as Dell, Twitch, Blizzard and Electronic Arts will discuss how tech has impacted gaming and how it will continue to do so in the future.

While not necessarily about gaming, there will also be plenty of other talks on tech trends and upcoming technologies that will likely touch on the subject. You can find a full list of scheduled talks on the CES website.

CES is one of the biggest tech shows in the world. It’s impossible to predict just what the tech giants might unveil during the four day event. Each year throws up its fair share of surprises and 2018 will be no different, so be sure to keep an eye out once the Las Vegas Convention Center opens its doors on Monday.

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