The International CES doesn't tend to be a spot the video game companies visit, but this year was a bit different. Generally reserved for hardware, CES 2005 saw the likes of Nintendo, Microsoft, Sony, and Konami on the show floor. This certainly isn't E3, as each company was showing only a handful of titles.
Probably the most surprising part of CES 2005 was that there were no new console announcements. In fact, Sony did not even announce the price of the upcoming PlayStation Portable at their press conference. Microsoft didn't announce anything on their Xbox Next and Nintendo had nothing to say about their upcoming Revolution. Konami, despite being on the show floor, was only showing their console Dance Dance Revolution games, which have already been released.
At Nintendo's van, outside of the Innovations Plus tent, we had a chance to try out both of the new games in their Wario Ware series: Wario Ware Twisted! and Wario Ware Touched!. Both games are fairly straightforward, Twisted!, for the Game Boy Advance is much like the first game, but some microgames require you to make use of the tilt sensor on the game cartridge. Touched!, for the DS, uses the stylus and the microphone for its microgames, similar to the Sega release Feel the Magic: XY XX, but with quicker games. Unfortunately missing from Nintendo's van were both Pokemon Emerald and The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap.
Microsoft's booth saw three games, the already released Halo 2, Forza Motorsport, and Star Wars: Republic Commando. Halo 2 is nothing new: if you wanted to play this game, you scooped it up on November 9th and have played it halfway to death. Forza Motorsport, however, is much anticipated by many gamers. Forza was playable in two ways: The standard way, with a controller and a single TV or one of the featured ways: with three linked Xboxes and three TVs in unison with a wheel. While the experience was exhilarating, it's this editor's humble opinion that it will get kicked to the road by Gran Turismo 4. Republic Commando played exactly as I thought it would: a fun FPS, but nothing to write home about. Still, I'd wish that I could go play the Battle of Hoth just one more time..
On the PC side of things at Microsoft's booth, two games caught my eye. The new Dungeon Siege, aptly titled Dungeon Siege II and Battlefield 2. I didn't have a chance to play either of these games, but they do, in fact, exist. So there.
Sony Computer Entertainment didn't have a booth on the floor, unfortunately, but they did announce SOE's Untold Legends at their press conference along with the PSP.
One of the more interesting booths was Fatal1ty's. Fatal1ty is known as one of the world's most successful gamers, with total winnings of over $500,000 USD. Fatal1ty was accepting challenges at a deathmatch in Painkiller. Unfortunately, the level was a bit stacked in his favor with size and spawn points, and the only person able to score a single kill the entire show was not this editor, but Sinbad. Yes, Sinbad. The comedian. I'm lucky I write for an RPG site, otherwise I'd be in shame. Fatal1ty was also announcing his line of Motherboards with Abit. All in all it was an interesting experience, and I walked off with a nice set of Creative ProGamer Headphones for participating.
Last, but not least, was nVidia's booth. nVidia's booth had quite possibly the greatest thing at the show: Infinium Labs' Phantom! Regardless of what anyone thinks of this piece of hardware, the Keyboard/Mouse setup is one of the best I have ever used for gaming and I'm convinced it should be marketed seperately. Unfortunately, I didn't get to play on it to crash it, like I did at E3 2004. nVidia's booth had the biggest surprise all show: a pretty woman who showed me Splinter Cell 3: Chaos Theory. Although we didn't have a chance to see the multiplayer, many people's favorite part of the series, the new graphics engine is simply gorgeous. The PC version's graphics card requirement hasn't been announced, but it has been said that the Xbox version is at least 'comparable'. Also at the booth were World of Warcraft and Everquest II.
Overall, it wasn't the most spectacular show for games, but it's more than last year, where two Xboxes were tucked back in the back of Microsoft's booth playing the already-released NFL Street and the pre-release version of Ninja Gaiden. CES isn't a major stop for any of these players, but it's becoming a bigger piece of the gaming pie.