Betting that gaming brands will rise in 2013

January 10, 2013

The current market is saturated with portable systems, home consoles, PC game aggregators, phone and tablet games and various combinations thereof. How do companies find a way to enter such a diverse and competitive market? With the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) running this week, I’m betting this will be the time to find out.

Steam’s aptly named “Steam Box” is coming along nicely. Their focus looks to be taking the best bits of what works in gaming, and trying to sneak in new bits of what gamers really want. Or at least that’s the hope of what the final product will be. A cube that can play PC games on your TV, act as a server to make multiplayer gaming easier, and sync between the console and PC so you can pick up and play without having to lose gameplay progress. I’m betting this will be a slow burn, requiring some time for gamers to best utilize the hardware and more time for Steam to get the software adaptable enough for gamers.

NVidia is also entering the fray, but they’re aiming for the portable gaming niche. A combination controller and touch screen style system. It looks like the baby of an Xbox controller and a DS screen, which looks rather nice. It could be as underwhelming as the PS Vita, or become as common as the iPad. I’m betting it’ll become dependent on what sort of third party support they get and what the price points of games for it will be.

Nintendo has already shown their hand for this year with the Wii U’s gamepad controller. Being able to play console games on a controller is definitely interesting and has a lot of potential if they can convince gamers that playing a $60 game on a controller is worth the investment. My bet for Nintendo is they’ll eventually, not this year, upgrade the controller’s touchscreen to a 3DS-like stereoscopic screen.

An over-arching theme looks to be greater adaptability to gamer’s preferences. Want to play on a TV? Great! Want to toss it onto a more portable screen? That works too. Want it to sync with your PC? We can do that. I’m still waiting to see just what the XBox 720 and PS4 come out with. Will they follow the trends, or try to shake things up? What do you think? Which brands will you bet on?

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