CES 2019: The tech changing the way we play video games

VR, AR, gigantic keyboards that make zero sense whatsoever -- video games are changing, and these gadgets prove it.

Mark Serrels
Mark Serrels is an award-winning Senior Editorial Director focused on all things culture. He covers TV, movies, anime, video games and whatever weird things are happening on the internet. He especially likes to write about the hardships of being a parent in the age of memes, Minecraft and Fortnite. Definitely don't follow him on Twitter.
Mark Serrels
1 of 15 Mark Serrels/CNET

The way we play video games is changing...

... and at CES 2019 we saw plenty of new gadgets that attempt to facilitate that. Some were super cool and super viable; others made no sense whatsoever and I have no idea why they left the whiteboard. 

Let's take a look at a few that stood out.

2 of 15 CNET

Switch controllers that charge through the air

I love these things. 

They're called Wireless Charging Grips and they're used to recharge Joy-Cons whilst still allowing them to be used. Believe it or not, that's actually an issue with the Nintendo Switch. Without peripherals you can't actually charge the controllers unless they're connected to the Switch itself, which is far from useful. This tech used RF radio waves to charge over the air, and it actually works!

3 of 15 Sarah Tew/CNET

Predator Thronos gaming chair

There was a surprising number of spherical gaming monstrosities at CES 2019, but the Predator Thronos might've been the best of the bunch -- mainly because everything your body touches vibrates like you're inside a gigantic N64 rumble pak. 

4 of 15 HTC

HTC Vive Pro Eye

Though VR seems to be languishing, or at least growing a little more slowly than some may have anticipated, the HTC Vive Pro Eye is a step for the medium. It literally uses eye tracking to navigate menus and also to improve the quality of interactive experiences. Pretty insane. 

5 of 15 ASUS

Gaming laptops are changing

Look, there were a ton of gaming laptops announced at CES 2019, as you might expect, but the Asus ROG Mothership is probably the most interesting, particularly if we're talking about changing the way we play.

We all know the Nintendo Switch has been a game changer in terms of being modular and letting users decide how best to play. The ROG Mothership is like that in laptop form.

Incredibly, this thing doesn't sacrifice power. And you know what that means: It'll probably be extremely expensive!

6 of 15 Mark Serrels/CNET

A console for board games

This thing is called the SquareOne, and it's essentially a console or a tablet that lets you play board games. It's a cool concept, easy to use and is an attempt, I'd wager, to take advantage of the current board game renaissance. We're also at the tail end of the whole toys/video games crossover ala Skylanders and Disney Infinity.

It's interesting. The tablet comes with a set of board game staples (cards, figurines) and the games all work in tandem with them. I'm a fan.

Audi and Disney's Holoride demonstration
7 of 15 Audi

A convenient VR headset for car passengers

This is the Holoride and it's flat-out bizarre, one of those tech innovations that solves a problem that doesn't really exist. Literally it's VR for car passengers, designed because apparently it's extremely boring and "wasted time" to sit in a car and do nothing.

I mean, chat with the driver, look out the window, fiddle with the air conditioning. Jesus. This isn't difficult. In partnership with Audi and Disney, Holoride has a Guardians of the Galaxy VR experience that tries to match what's happening in the car. That is pretty cool.

8 of 15 Mark Serrels/CNET

Roller skates for VR

Dear lord these are wild. They're called Cyber Shoes and they're sort of like those roller skate shoes that children use to terrify old people in shopping malls. But it's for VR, to make you feel like you're running in real life.

Except you have to sit down while you use them and sort of make this weird running motion whilst sitting on a chair. 


9 of 15 Mark Serrels/CNET

A mouse and keyboard for your Nintendo Switch

Whilst platform holders like Microsoft and Sony have been slowly making it easier for people to use a mouse and keyboard with a console, I'm not sure I've seen anything like this GameSir combo on a Nintendo. 

With Fortnite being on the Switch and the Switch being portable, this could be a great way to play an online shooter on the go.

10 of 15 Mark Serrels/CNET

A needlessly giant keyboard

Look, this has no place in this gallery. I just really love this gigantic, pointless keyboard. Thanks for your patience.

11 of 15 Mark Serrels/CNET

Another strange VR foot controller

The 3dRudder is already available on PC for VR users, and it's coming to the PlayStation 4 for its PSVR peripheral.

I, um... really didn't like it. You tilt your feet forward and back to move forward and back, and you do this weird twisty thing to turn. I wanted to barf within 30 seconds.

12 of 15 Mark Serrels/CNET

The arcade of the future... today!

The Polycade is going to cost around $3,000 in US dollars, so it's not really for consumer use. But if the team behind this product has its way, the Polycade will be making it to bars and other public spaces in the future. Polycade is also being made by a company co-founded by Atari founder Nolan Bushnell.  

It looks really nice! Also I played Dead Cells on it and Dead Cells rules.

13 of 15 HTC

A new VR headset to compete with Oculus Quest

We don't know much about the HTC Vive Cosmos. We know probably enough to say that it's an Oculus Quest competitor.

But it's not necessarily an "untethered" VR experience. You'll have to connect to a PC or a mobile to use it. 

14 of 15 Sarah Tew/CNET

A mouse and keyboard for your couch

Mouse and keyboard on console is a thing now, and it's evolving. The Razer Turret is a great example of that. It's expensive ($250 oh my lord), but it's high quality. It's also tailor-made for couch play, which makes all the sense in the world considering how we typically play games on console.

15 of 15 Mark Serrels/CNET

Pong that makes sense in 2019

Photos don't really do this justice. It's awesome.

It's future Pong, as imagined by your 7-year-old self if you were a 7-year-old alive in the '80s. The paddles are physically real, the ball is physically real, and magnets or something make the ball move in really weird ways that just feel super tactile and fun. I extremely hope this is successful and is installed in every bad bar worldwide.

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