Computer Graphics World

March/April 2013

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Gaming The WikiPad controller contains a detachable tablet that functions as an Android tablet computer. spectively) were dismal during its first year on the market. As a result, industry pundits expect the price to be reduced this year. The PS Vita competes against the Nintendo 3DS, which was released in the spring of 2011. A successor to the popular Nintendo DS, the 3DS brings the novelty of autostereo to the screen – meaning no 3D glasses or other devices are needed for the 3D effects. The 3DS has three cameras: one in the front that captures standard 2D images, and two rear-facing cameras on the back that can be used to capture 3D images. Apparently many were not ready to pay $249 for stereo on a handheld, and less than six months after its release, the price was slashed to $169 in light of anemic sales. Last July, Nintendo released an updated version, the 3DS XL, which sports much larger screens and longer battery life – and a larger price tag ($200). What some were hoping would result from the Wii U controller – that it could be used independently of the Wii U console itself, as its own gaming device – can be found in the Wikipad gaming tablet. A newcomer on the scene, the Wikipad is larger than the Wii U GamePad controller, though it boasts similar gameplay features that include an analog stick controller and control function/input buttons to the side of the screen. However, the tablet is detachable from the controller base, automatically becoming a seven-inch Android tablet. Furthermore, when the tablet is attached to the controller base, it can still function as a tablet computer. The tablet, attached or detached, contains an Nvidia Tegra 3 processor and 16gb of flash memory, and runs Google's open-source Android operating system. So, rather than described as a game controller that functions as a tablet, the Wikipad is better described as a tablet computer that can also act as a game controller. Well, sort of. Most of the Triple-A console games require the stick and buttons on the sides of the Wikipad device to control gameplay, as opposed to using a tablet-like swiping motion. Conversely, most Android games were developed for touchscreen input and do not support typical console controllers (joystick, buttons). Nevertheless, there are a number of mobile titles that, in fact, do support game controllers. And, the Wikipad runs Sony titles developed for the PlayStation mobile platform – that is, the PS Vita. Another tablet device that is expected to debut this year is the Razer Edge Tablet, which the gamepad controller, the tablet functions as a mobile PC game device, with the buttons and joysticks on the side of the gamepad used to control the PC game action. The docking station connects to a desktop display and peripherals or hooks up to an HDTV for largerpicture gaming. Without question, the device is extremely versatile. But, it carries a high price tag. The standard Razer Edge with an Intel Core i5 processor and 4gb of DDR3 RAM will sell for $999, while a Core i7 version with 8gb of RAM will carry a $1,299 price. Another entry into the mobile gaming market is Nvidia's Project Shield, an Android Tegra game device with an attached five-inch, 720p display. For open platforms, Project Shield is an Android portable game player. And, like many of the newcomers, it has an additional function – here, it is a wireless client to a GeForce GTX PC. (For an in-depth look at Nvidia's Project Shield and what it means for Nvidia and the industry, see "Staying on the Grid," page 20.) Without question, 2013 will be a huge year for gaming – machines, titles, and player experience. Expect Sony and Microsoft to up the ante, but also expect the rise of the Android The Witness, an open-world puzzle game for next-gen gaming, will be rolled out for the PS4 only, taking advantage of Sony's new console technology. will run Windows 8. Purported to be a highend gaming system packed into a tablet, it is powered by Intel Core processors and Nvidia GeForce graphics cards with Optimus, and boasts 8gb DDR3 RAM plus a 10.1-inch HD multi-touch display. Razer describes the device as a tablet that is also a full-fledged mobile gaming PC. Indeed, the Edge is a full-functioning Windows 8 tablet that is compatible with Windows 8 applications and games. When the tablet is attached to a keyboard dock, the device becomes a notebook-style PC. When it is attached to and open systems to expand game development into studios that could never get a seat at the exclusive development kit table. Once the domain of simplistic-looking casual games, the Android operating system is on the verge of revolutionizing the industry for even the most serious gamer. Also, the cloud is helping to lighten the load for new consoles and devices, making them more powerful and more portable than ever before. n Karen Moltenbrey is the chief editor of Computer Graphics World. March/April 2013 CGW0313-Game Devicespfin.indd 19 n n n n 19 3/14/13 12:14 PM

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