Sony may be winning the next-generation console wars, but that doesn't mean the boys in Redmond don't have anything up their sleeve. The Xbox One S is the first salvo in the race to get 4K-capable boxes into the hands of gamers. Dramatically slimmed down — it's 40% smaller than its predecessor — this new console offers support for High Dynamic Range gaming, as well as Ultra HD Blu-rays and streaming 4K content. It also has a built-in IR blaster for controlling your TV, stereo, and such, an enhanced controller, and up to 2TB of storage. Arriving in August.
The first arcade game to be based on a real-life sport, Pong has now gone full-circle, entering the real world in this Pong Table. Created by Daniel Perdomo and his friends, it took two years to develop the game, which has rectangular paddles and a square ball to stay true to the original. The paddles are moved mechanically, while the ball glides across the surface thanks to a mechanically manipulated magnet underneath the playing surface. LED scoring and retro side graphics complete the build, which is unfortunately not for sale.
Created to celebrate the 30th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda, the Analogue NT 24k Gold Edition is the most luxurious way to take in this classic game. Every piece of the Nt's aluminum enclosure receives plating in pure 24k gold, and is then polished by hand in Seattle. Otherwise, it's the same as the standard version, with the ability to play NES, Famicom, and even Famicon Disk System games — the latter being rather important since Zelda made its February 1986 debut on that format, and didn't see a cartridge release until the next year — on the original controllers. Included in the package are an HDMI upgrade and an original gold The Legend of Zelda NES game cartridge.
Many expected the Oculus Rift to give us our first taste of VR. Unfortunately, a high price and ridiculous minimal specs — PC-only, among them — left many of us on the outside. The PlayStation VR should help fill some of that void. Needing nothing more than a PS4 and Playstation Camera to power it, it's far more accessible, and doesn't slouch on the specs, either, with a 5.7" OLED 1080p display running at up to 120 fps, 3D audio from built-in headphones, and, of course, a highly capable controller that you're already intimately familiar with. Arriving in October.
Old-school arcade machines are a great addition to any gaming room. But they're also heavy, take up a ton of space, and are prone to breaking down. The Polycade offers the feel of classic arcade machines without the headaches. This wall-mounted unit has a 28-inch LED monitor and integrated 8-way controls for two players, plus a 4-way one-player setup for older games, and is powered by a Raspberry Pi 2 Model B, with an 8GB SD card pre-installed with emulation software and nearly 100 games. The box is assembled by professional cabinet makers, and finished in your choice of vinyl graphics or solid color paint. You can remove the control panel for future upgrades, you can add more games/consoles via software, and should you worry that it's just another crowdfunded pipe dream, rest assured knowing the team behind it includes the kids of Nolan Bushnell, the founder of Atari.
Inspired by the Milton-Bradley classic Battleship, the Battlecade offers face-to-face gaming action for more than just sinking boats. By fixing two 12" LCD screens in the center, facing controls on either side, this portable gaming console lets you play a number of emulated titles without the worry that your opponent might be picking up your moves. It's handmade from American walnut, split into three sections that fold up for portability, and offers built-in storage for both the power supply and the detachable joysticks.
Created in collaboration with professional gamers, the Xbox Elite Controller takes console gaming beyond what's been possible with the stock plastic button pads. This new controller is crafted using premium materials like stainless steel, gives you four new paddle buttons on the rear, and allows you to customize a number of settings to match your game, including trigger sensitivity, button mapping, and fully customizable thumbstick sensitivity. And if changing settings doesn't get it done, you can also swap out certain components for an even more personalized experience.
The technological wonders we call modern gaming consoles have long since left traditional arcade games in the dust. Yet there's something about standing at a machine with a joystick and buttons that slouching on your couch with a controller just can't replicate. The Pixelkabinett Arcade Machine lets you enjoy the arcade experience at home without making your place look like a low-rent Dave & Busters. Inspired by old industrial cabinets, it has a '50s vibe, with ash and American walnut construction, a 19-inch LCD built into its folding top that also keeps dust off the controls, a built-in speaker, and your choice of an original Jamma board or a full-blown computer with a MAME interface as the guts. Limited to just 50 units.
Part media streamer, part gaming rig, the Nvidia Shield Android TV Console is the latest device to vie for that spot next to your TV. It's powered by an Nvidia Tegra X1 processor, a 256-core Nvidia Maxwell GPU with 3 GB RAM, and Android TV, giving it the ability to support 4K output and a new class of Android games. But in addition to its ability to pump TV and movies into your living room and play games locally, it also supports Nvidia's Grid service, which lets you stream PC-quality games directly to the box and makes that ugly HTPC a thing of the past.
Whether you're a hardcore gamer looking to show your devotion or simply looking to bling out your gaming rig, these Colorware 24K Gold Controllers. Available for either the PS4 or Xbox One, these unique pieces undergo a complex process that leaves them covered in a gleaming 24k gold finish that's complimented perfectly by the controllers' black buttons and accents. Limited to just 25 pieces each.
It's only a matter of time before mobile-based set-top boxes start challenging traditional gaming consoles, and the Razer Forge TV is one of the most serious contenders we've seen yet. Powered by a quad-core Snapdragon 805 processor and an Adreno 420 GPU, it has more than enough power to output Full HD games, while offering support for Android TV, Googlecast, and the Google Play store. It comes with a precision Serval controller and supports up to three more, packs in Bluetooth 4.1 and 802.11ac wireless connectivity, and thanks to Cortex: Stream technology, you can even play games from your PC right in your living room.
After years of teases and failed experiments, we might actually be on the cusp of the virtual reality era. One of the reasons is the Samsung Gear VR, which is helping to usher virtual reality into the mainstream. It boasts a mega sized screen which provides the best picture in a consumer VR device on the market. You also get exclusive movies, games, soft cushioning for comfort, and smooth head tracking to avoid the nausea issues other VR devices have been plagued by. You can even read texts or see incoming phone calls while in the virtual theatre, or hit do not disturb and immerse yourself fully in the virtual experience.
It may seem hard to believe, but it's been two decades since the Playstation first appeared on store shelves. Celebrate its history with the Sony PS4 20th Anniversary Edition. This individually-numbered console is limited to just 12300 units worldwide, and features an exclusive color scheme that pays homage to the original via a gray body, an original, multi-color Playstation logo on the top and on the controller, a matching gray and black controller with colored buttons that match the shades used on the original, and a matching gray Playstation Eye camera.
Skip the console wars this holiday and get your game on vintage-style with the Analogue NEO. This handcrafted all-in-one NeoGeo arcade system is built from ebonized ash wood and offers all the original features of an SNK Big Red MVS cabinet, including the ability to use an original memory card. Other features include two sets of Seimitsu buttons and joysticks, an original SNK MV1C motherboard, compatibility with everything from old-school CRTs to modern LCDs, stereo sound, and the pride that comes from knowing you own one of only 20 in existence.
Since its introduction in 2006, Alienware's Area 51 line has become synonymous with high-performance PC gaming. Now they're looking to continue that tradition with the new Alienware Area-51 Gaming PC. Most notable is the new triangular chassis which makes all your ports more accessible, makes it easier to access the interior, and improves thermal management. As for performance, it packs either 6- or 8-core Intel Core i7 Extreme processors, up to 32GB of 2133Mhz DDR4 memory, 802.11ac wireless, and support for up to three full-length, double-wide graphics cards, making it possible to run a 11520x2160 resolution across triple Ultra HD 4K monitors.
Nintendo might not be releasing your favorite 8-bit classics on the App Store anytime soon, but you can at least recreate the feeling of the controller with the 8Bitdo NES30 Gamepad. This Bluetooth-powered, iOS, Android, and Mac/PC compatible gamepad was designed to look and feel like the NES controller we all know and love, but with the extra buttons necessary to control more demanding modern games. In other words, it's way more practical than trying to splice that ancient controller onto a Lightning cable.
When it comes to classic gaming, nothing really measures up with the feel of an arcade system — whether it's the tactile feel of joysticks and big round buttons, or just the games themselves. With the R-Kaid-R, you can tap into that old familiar feeling in the form of a portable, stylish wooden box. It opens up to reveal all the trappings of an arcade, with a small screen, and enough storage to load every game you could imagine: whether it's from the PS1, the Super Nintendo, or anything in between. And with a built-in speaker, headphone jack, an HDMI output, and eight hours of battery life, you'd be hard pressed to find a better way to get your old-school gaming fix.
So you have two TVs but only one PS4. Not to worry — soon, all you'll need to remedy this problem is a Sony PlayStation TV. This tiny, ARM Cortex A9-powered box hooks up to other TVs in your house, allowing you to use Remote Play to get at your PS4 games even if it's in another room. It also supports streaming of PS3 games over Playstation Now, and will support downloading of select PS Vita, PSP, and PS One games to an SD card. With support for two Dualshock 3 or 4 controllers, it's an ideal add-on for any PS4 user.
Thinking of buying an Oculus Rift? If you're a PS4 owner, you might want to hold off for a bit, because Sony Project Morpheus is here to give the Rift a run for its money. Underneath the futuristic exterior, you'll find a 1080p display with 90 degree field of view, an accelerometer and gyroscope that work in concert with the Playstation camera to track your head orientation and movement, and 3D audio technology for a completely immersive experience.
We're not sure how many people have both NES and Famicom collections sitting around, but we are sure that even if you only have one or the other, you're going to want an Analogue Nt. The details around the console are a little thin, but we do know it's a reengineered NES that also accepts Famicom games, offers what's promised as videophile graphics and audiophile sound, allows up to four players, doesn't rely on emulation, and is made from a solid block of aluminum. And that's good enough for us.
Forget next-gen consoles — if Valve has their way, 2014 will be the year of the Steam Machine. And with 14 companies cranking out the boxes, it's not as easy as buying, say, a PS3. Which is why we've got our eyes on the Alienware Steam Machine ($TBA). Crafted by one of the most trusted names in PC gaming, this sleek black box will be powered by an Intel CPU and Nvidia GPU, and will (of course) run SteamOS, giving you access to tons of games running natively, and thousands more available via in-home streaming. It's like a HTPC, evolved.
Games on the iPhone are great, and they only seem to get better — but controlling a game by tilting, shaking, and occasionally poking at a glass screen leaves something to be desired. With the Moga Ace Power Controller ($100), you get all the controls you're used to with console gaming, without sacrificing the convenience and portability of your phone. The controller expands to cradle your phone, and collapse back down to a small size to fit in your pocket or bag. It features dual analog sticks, a directional button, four action buttons, as well as left and right bumpers and triggers. Best yet, the controller also doubles as an extra battery pack, letting you keep a charge while you play. Compatible with all fifth generation iPhones and iPod touches.
While we've watched as game systems have evolved exponentially over the years, not much monumental has happened to controllers since the invention of the joystick — that is, until the Steam Controller ($TBA). After announcing plans to build an operating system and console based on their popular PC-based gaming platform Steam, the guys at Valve set out to build an input device that would bring the control of a keyboard and mouse into the living room. Based around two circular trackpads that replace the familiar joysticks, it features advanced haptic feedback and a built-in touchscreen that let you play games formerly reserved only for desktop machines.
The PlayStation Vita TV ($100) packs an incredible amount of entertainment potential into a truly tiny console, capable of playing games, video, music, and much more. This little device is a miniaturized internet-connected console, built to natively play PS Vita games on your HD TV, instead of that small handheld. It offers easy access to Sony's subscription music and video services, as well as a growing handful of third-party apps like Hulu. Perhaps the most exciting feature, it will act as a bridge for the yet-to-be-released Playstation 4, letting you play PS4 games in another room even while the console is in use. So far sale plans have been announced in Japan for November — but you should expect it in America shortly thereafter. [via]
Ditch that boring coffee table in your living room and replace it with one of the Surface Tension Arcade Tables ($3,000-$6,000). These arcade and entertainment systems come installed inside hand-built tables, with wood veneer available in a number of finishes, and a discreet, darkened glass cover. They come with built-in arcade-style controllers, and come packed with classic arcade games. Choose a higher-end model if you want yours to also come with a Windows 7 Home-powered PC, Sonos Connect, and the ability to connect to your HDTV.
Unlike its biggest competitor, the Sony Playstation 4 ($400) isn't a one-room-entertainment system. Sure, it has all the things we expect from a next-generation console: a blazing-fast processor, lots of memory, and killer graphics (thanks to an 8-core x86 chip and 8 GB of GDDR5 RAM). And it has all the video services you'd expect, though it won't connect to your cable, or respond to gestures and voice commands. But it does have something, in addition to the cheaper price point, that Playstation fans and maybe some converts will love. Sony places none of the restrictions on used games that its competitor enforces, and it doesn't require you to be online to play. We like that a lot.
We've been waiting for this generation's offering of consoles, and Microsoft's Xbox One ($TBA) doesn't disappoint. The first gaming system to sit between your cable or satellite box and your TV, the new Xbox makes watching sports as easy as saying "Turn on ESPN." With TV integration, voice-control, multitasking, a rebuilt UI, Skype, fantasy trackers and more, you can do it all while you watch or play. Boasting eight times the graphic performance of its predecessor, it has an eight-core x86 processor that makes lag times and loading a distant memory. New features include a redesigned liquid black shell with clean, horizontal lines, a 1080p kinect, and a totally-rebuilt controller — no more bulky battery packs and clumsy directional pads. Couple that with a host of new games including Call of Duty: Ghosts, Fifa 14 and Madden NFL 25, and all you need is a couch.
You might not be able to buy your way onto a F1 racing team, but thanks to this Formula 1 Full Size Racing Simulator ($140,000), you can come close. This full-size replica houses a custom racing simulator, complete with three 23-inch screens, a 5.1 surround sound system, and a custom computer powered by an Intel Core i7 processor. The details continue with a full set of pedals, an F1-type quick-release steering wheel with force feedback, your choice of a silver, red, or black paint job, magnesium alloy wheels, and Pirelli F1 show tires. Of course, it's going to be a challenge getting this thing to fit in any normal home, so luckily the price includes having an engineer fly out to your house to make sure it gets installed properly. Or you could just buy a used Ferrari and some track time — totally up to you. [Scouted by Ed]
If you're serious about chess, you might as well play with a serious set. And this World Chess Championship Set (£300; roughly $450) is certainly that. Designed by Daniel Weil of Pentagram, this board is currently in service at the 2013 World Chess Championships in London, and as such is approved by the World Chess Federation (FIDE). It features a 3.75" King, and comes boxed for presentation, with each piece individually hand packed, and a 50cm Rosewood and Maple board featuring the World Chess Hexagon. [via]