The Explosion of 'Presence' at the new CES Gaming Zone

The Explosion of 'Presence' at the new CES Gaming Zone

  • By: CM Boots-Faubert
  • Posted 4th Aug 2011

Sometimes it takes the experts a long time to get the message: It's Hip to be Square!

Such was the case with the men and women who organize what is known as "CES" the world over, but is properly called the International Consumer Electronics Show; an annual event that is held every January in Las Vegas, Nevada in the United States of America, and where consumer technology manufacturers and innovators display the products that will be 'the next big thing' in the world of consumer electronics and entertainment over the course of the coming year.

Their primary audience consists of two distinct groups -- the first of which is made up of the purchasing agents for regional wholesale companies as well as the agents and buyers for retail operations that range from the largest of big-box chain stores strategically placed in every metropolis, to the lowliest of mom-and-pop department stores serving small town shoppers the world over.

The second group is made up of journalists and columnist from newspapers, television, monthly periodicals, and -- in steadily increasing numbers -- the staff writers and editors from news and special interest websites that are the very foundation upon which "new media" has been built.

Traditionally these journalists and editors represent the Business and Technology sections for all of those different forms of media, but in the past two years a new group from within the media community has joined them in the annual sojourn to Las Vegas: Games Journalists.

The reason for that new interest on the part of gaming journalists for what was accurately described by the Cable News Network (CNN) as ". . . geek heaven on Earth -- a Super Bowl, Disney World and New York Fashion Week all rolled into one for the techies who flock to Vegas to eyeball the newest gadgets from the world's leading manufacturers"?

Why, just the successful culmination of an ongoing lobbying campaign that was undertaken by a coalition of representatives from the games industry and computer hardware manufacturers over the course of most of the past three decades to obtain proper recognition by the the Consumer Electronics Association -- the entity that has hosted and organized the Consumer Electronics Show since its debut in New York City in 1967 -- for the games, the games industry, and the many hardware and software manufacturers whose business it is to entertain the world.

What they wanted was a section of the show floor set aside for their segment of the industry -- a request that was routinely denied year after year simply because of the perception of computer (and later console) gaming as a niche market in the world of consumer electronics -- because that recognition would do more than affirm that their segment was a serious economic force, but because it made it more convenient for purchasing agents to complete their duties relating to the industry.

With games and gaming products scattered throughout the multiple levels of the CES show floor, it was thought that too much time was eaten up by travel between the booths and, perhaps of more significance, that wasted time directly translated into lost sales since the show was limited to a practical eight hours of contact per day over the three days of the event.