Contents | < Browse | Browse >

%% CES Show Report:  32/64-bit Video Game Platforms       Author Unknown %%

No new players entered the ring at this year's Winter CES.  Sega and Sony,
both preparing to enter the fray within the year, chose not to tip their
hand and show machines to the general public yet.  Therefore, 3DO, Commodore,
and Atari were left to slug it out for the time being.

The Booths:

There was a wide range of booth sizes and players at the show, ranging from
3DO's near saturation of two pavilions to Commodore's seek-and-ye-shall-find
conference room on the second floor.

3DO's presence at the show was greatly aided by having two equally huge
'booths' at the show.  The Panasonic display in the south pavilion was
very much like the one used for the Summer CES in Chicago last year.  A large
stage with a video wall behind with dominated the large open area (probably
the largest open area of any booth at the show).  Along the back of the
stage and along the opposite wall of the area were lines of REAL kiosks
similar to what will likely be used in stores.  Each kiosk was running a
released or pre-released game, and the video wall ran a looping promotional
video.  Panasonic reps abounded and most of the major developers who had
titles on display were nearby as well to help users and answer questions.
Every 15 minutes or so there was a Panasonic PR person who got up on stage
and did a live (and loud) demonstration over the PA which usually drew a
crowd.  Rock music and live game-playing (usually Total Eclipse) on the
video wall added to the 'show' atmosphere of the booth.

3DO's other representation was in the 3DO company booth in the north
pavilion.  This was setup quite differently.  The outside of the booth
along the 'hall' was lined with the same kiosks used in the Panasonic
booth.  An even larger selection of titles played on these machines, with
some titles shown here that were not represented at the Panasonic booth.
In the interior of the display area were the usual conference rooms (where
deals are made) and some more specialized displays.  Part 2 of this report
contains in-depth listings of what was shown.  Also in this area was a
working Sanyo 3DO player and a mock-up of the AT&T box (non-functional,
just a physical case design under glass).  There was also a Sanyo player
present in the Sanyo booth but it was not given much prominence there.
Most REAL boxes were scattered throughout the show with different vendors
such as Alias (whose tools are often used to create the 3D source material).

Atari's booth was not located near the Multimedia and Home Stereo area like
3DO and Panasonic, but rather was in closer proximity to Sega and Nintendo
systems.  In the corner of this building, Atari had an area about 1/2 the
size of the 3DO and Panasonic booths highlighting both the Jaguar and the
Lynx.  Nice kiosks were used to display both units and different titles
were shown on each kiosk.  In addition, there was a large-screen TV in
the front of the booth where star titles were demonstrated for the public
and press.  Most of the time it seemed it was running Alien Vs. Predator,
but sometimes I am told Tempest 2000 was being shown.  Atari was displaying
some of the awards they had won at the show above the TV.  Scattered about
the booth were quotes from various sources (magazines, CNN, developers)
about the system.  Women in revealing catsuits handed out buttons. One
complain I had was the kiosks were very crowded into the interior of the
booth which made it uncomfortable to maneuver and play the games on display.

Commodore's 'booth' was actually a conference room on the second floor of
the main hall.  This greatly reduced the foot traffic the display received
(you would not have seen the CBM booth unless you were actively looking for
it).  On display were several CD32 boxes playing various games (all of which,
as far as I can tell, have already been released in Europe).  There was
also an A4000 running the latest version of Video Toaster software.  The area
had a much more businesslike atmosphere than the other displays mentioned
above.  Mostly it seemed Commodore people in suits talking to other Commodore
people in suits.


There were very few surprises at this year's show in terms of new announcements
or press releases.  Commodore, as predicted, announced the US rollout of their