While I had been hoping to attend CES 2022 in person earlier this month, the winter surge of the Omicron variant forced me to watch the annual consumer electronics showcase remotely, for the second year in a row. Though it was far from the pre-pandemic CES experience, there were still plenty of major gaming announcements for me to cover. This really was not all that surprising given that, by some estimates, the global gaming industry now accounts for more than $300 billion. Today I’ll share some of the more noteworthy gaming announcements I saw at this year’s conference.
Alienware x14 and m17 R5 laptops
First, Alienware’s new x14 laptop. The x14 joins the x15 and x17 in the company’s thinnest line of gaming notebooks, the X line. This notebook seeks to revive Alienware’s 14” notebook segment, which was last populated over ten years ago by 2011’s M14x. In its adherence to the new Alienware Legend 2.0 design, this new generation’s updated form factor looks lighter and better aligned with the aesthetics of the rest of the X line. Though the M14x received one update, with Intel’s i7-3000 series, Intel is now launching its 12th Generation processors. In other words, it was high time for Alienware to bring 14” gaming back. The new x14 features up to Intel’s i7-12900H and NVIDIA RTX 3060, along with DDR5 and support for NVIDIA G-Sync (the first laptop of this size to support it, to my knowledge). Alienware will also be shipping the new x14 with Intel Arc graphics as an option later this quarter. The x14 will start at $1,799.
Alienware also made waves with the announcement that the new m17 R5 AMD laptop will feature both an AMD CPU and GPU—AMD’s latest Ryzen 6000 series processors paired with the latest Radeon RX graphics. This is one of AMD’s first AMD Advantage laptops, a series that capitalizes on an all-AMD high-performance design to enable features like AMD SmartShift, AMD Smart Access Graphics and Smart Access Memory. This laptop will be available later this Spring, starting at $1,499.
Alienware 34” QD-OLED monitor
While Alienware’s laptops got a lot of attention and make up the bulk of the PC gaming market at this point, there’s also no denying company’s innovation of late in display technology. Its new 34” curved QD-OLED monitor caused quite a stir at CES 2022 as one of the first monitors (if not the first) to feature Samsung’s new QD-OLED display technology. Linus Sebastian from Linus Tech Tips called the monitor’s color depth and brightness the best he had ever seen. Compared side-by-side with an LCD, he went on to say it could be “the new god of gaming monitors.” The Alienware 34 Curved QD-OLED Gaming Monitor, also known by its model number as the AW3423DW, has an 1800R curve. While similar to many other monitors on the market, this is not as aggressive as the curvature on some of the larger displays, such as the Samsung Odyssey G9’s 1000R (which I am typing on right now). I use both 1000R and 2500R curvature monitors and both are great; it just comes down to personal preference. The 3440 x 1440 (21:9) Alienware 34 Curve QD-OLED has a 0.1ms G-to-G response time, 175 Hz native refresh rate, 1000-nit brightness for HDR and NVIDIA G-Sync Ultimate certification.
Alienware was smart to include at creator mode for the monitor. As this is the first QD-OLED gaming monitor, the company is probably right to assume creators will want to take advantage of the new technology. The monitor’s creator mode allows users to choose between its 99% DCI-P3 and sRGB color spaces, and also features TUV-certified ComfortView Plus, for reducing blue-light emissions. While this monitor does not yet have a price, I assume we’ll learn more details as we get closer to its release later this year. Considering Alienware’s current 34” curved gaming monitor retailed for $1,500 upon its initial release, I expect that this monitor will retail for something in that ballpark maybe even a little higher for the new technology exclusivity. Especially now that the old 34” curved model sells for roughly half that price new on Amazon through Alienware.
HP Omen 27u
The HP Omen 27u represents a clear attempt by HP to build a gaming monitor that ticks all the boxes that gamers want without breaking the bank. While I believe the HP Omen 27u does a lot of things exceptionally, I don’t believe it is the perfect gaming monitor quite yet. The 4K resolution, the 144 Hz (over DP 1.4) refresh rate, the IPS panel and the 1ms response time is everything gamers want. It even has 95% DCI-P3 color space and a high-speed USB 3.2 Gen 10 Gbps HUB. I will say that its peak 450 nit brightness is a little bit of a let-down, especially given how well it does everything else. Still, you get all of these features this spring for a very reasonable price of $699. I don’t believe anybody else has come close to the monitor in terms of price/performance. Acer’s Predator XB273K is good but requires overclocking to hit 144Hz. Additionally, it uses two DisplayPort connectors and does not have the same color gamut. I really think HP has a solid product on its hands with the Omen 27u, especially for people who don’t care about HDR. I think it will sell well with gamers this coming year. I, for one, look forward to getting my hands on it, to see if it lives up to its specs.
Samsung Odyssey Ark and Neo G8 monitors
One of the wildest actual gaming products launched at CES 2022 was the Odyssey Ark, a 55” 4K 16:9 curved monitor from Samsung that can be oriented both horizontally and vertically. Samsung’s marketing is vague about if it is meant for productivity, creativity or gaming; however, as someone who uses the company’s Odyssey G9 Curved Ultrawide for all of the above, I think that might actually be the point.
YouTube Creator Tim Schofield got to experience this thing in person and the photosspeak a million words. Some people have pointed it out it looks like a re-branded Samsung curved TV and frankly, I think they’re spot-on with the 55” 4K 16:9 aspect ratio. The problem with curved TVs was always that they only really worked well for a single user. And while that doesn’t really work for a TV, it is exactly what you’d want from a monitor. As long as the features are there, I wouldn’t even be mad if this was just a repurposed curved TV. There are no details on refresh rate, response time, color depth or pricing yet, but I bet we’ll find out in the second half of 2022 as its launch nears.
Samsung Odyssey Neo G8
In addition to the crazy new Odyssey Ark, Samsung also introduced the new 32” Odyssey G8 Neo (not to be mistaken for the Odyssey G8, a 34” monitor). The G8 aims to bridge the gap in Samsung’s Odyssey Neo line between the G7 and the flagship G9. The G7 is available in 27”, 28” and 32” and features a 144Hz refresh rate. The 49” G9, on the other hand, boasts a refresh rate of 240Hz and a choice between 1000 and 2000-nit HDR brightness. At 32”, the new Neo G8 sits somewhere in the middle, with a 1000R curvature, a 240Hz refresh rate and a peak 2000-nit brightness for HDR2000. Notably, it is the first 4K monitor in the Odyssey line, aside from the Ark. With a higher resolution and smaller size than the Odyssey Neo G9, the G8 has a considerably higher pixel density. That said, getting any game to run at 4K 240Hz will be a challenge, even if you manage to get your hands on NVIDIA’s newest GPU (also teased at CES 2022). No pricing or availability was announced at the show. Still, judging by Samsung’s monitor release cycle and the price of the Neo G9 ($2,500), it’ll probably come out sometime in the second half of this year and go for around $1,500.
New CPUs and GPUs from Intel, NVIDIA, and AMD
Intel and AMD both launched their newest mobile CPUs at CES 2022: Intel’s 12th Gen Alder Lake H-Series and AMD’s Ryzen 6000 Mobile Series. Intel also launched 22 new desktop processors and 28 mobile processors for laptops. Both companies touted a bevy of design wins for the new chips, including Alienware’s aforementioned all-AMD m17 R5 and all-Intel x14 (featuring Intel’s new Arc GPU). Intel hasn’t officially launched its Arc GPUs yet, but it will be available in systems sometime this quarter.
Speaking of GPUs, AMD announced a new RX 6500 XT graphics card for mainstream gamers priced at $199. NVIDIA also announced the RTX 3050, priced in the same segment at $249. While these GPUs may not be the first choice for serious gamers (both companies have faster offerings), the chip shortage likely makes any GPU a worthwhile endeavor. The real hope is that these GPUs will be available in quantities that don’t jack the retail prices up way above their MSRP, which has become standard practice the last two years.
In addition to these mainstream GPUs, NVIDIA also teased the RTX 3090 Ti. The company’s upcoming flagship GPU features 24GB of GDDR6 21 Gbps and 40 TFLOPS of shader performance. NVIDIA also claims the new GPU is capable of 320 Tensor TFLOPS, but it is staying pretty tight-lipped about actual game performance or pricing at this time. NVIDIA also announced the fourth generation of MaxQ series of laptops and the new RTX 3070 Ti and RTX 3080 Ti GPUs. CES 2022 was clearly a hectic event for PC Gamers.
New eSports displays
Not to be lost in all the GPU news from CES 2022, NVIDIA also announced a whole new category of monitors designed for professional eSports. Traditionally, most eSports players use 24” or 25” 1080P monitors with the highest refresh rates that they can afford—usually 300 or 360Hz. NVIDIA’s new monitors, however, are 1440P with a refresh rate of 300 or 360 Hz. NVIDIA says that titles like Valorant, CS:GO and Overwatch can all run over 360 FPS on an RTX 3080 at 1440P. This new class of monitors is also capable of running at 1080P on a smaller 25” size, for gamers who so desire it. Of course, all these monitors also have NVIDIA G-Sync and NVIDIA’s Reflex technology built-in for the lowest possible mouse-to-PC-to-monitor latency. The monitors pictured below are the first four to have these premier e-sports capabilities built-in.
While many people have been expecting Sony to announce the PSVR 2, I don’t think anyone expected it to happen so early at CES 2022. While the company never actually showed the headset itself (an odd move), we now know that the headset will utilize a single cable, with inside-out tracking connected to the PS5, and feature 2K-per-eye resolution, for a combined 4K resolution with eye-tracking. I recently had an opportunity to speak with Tobii’s head of XR to talk about eye tracking and what it means for consumer XR headsets like the PSVR2. Ultimately, foveated rendering for the PSVR 2 will be a massive leg-up for developers and will take advantage of the PS5’s GPU in ways we can’t fully realize yet. While a lot of people are criticizing the fact it isn’t cordless, I think Sony is focusing on total experience. We may have to wait until the PSVR 3 for wireless, since technologies like Wi-Fi 6E still need more time to mature. Pricing is still a mystery at this point, but I would be shocked if it is much more than the first PSVR’s original price tag of $299.
I believe the new PSVR 2 is a move in the right direction and will help stimulate more competition in the VR market, where Meta and its Quest 2 currently dominates. I think the biggest barrier to PSVR 2’s success at this point will be availability. The shortage in PS5 consoles does not bode well, nor does the fact that Sony is still producing PS4s to make up for it.
Razer Project Sophia Desk
While Razer’s Project Sophia Desk is the only item in this roundup that may never come to market, I could see it doing extremely well if it does. While PC setups have become more high-tech, desks haven’t followed suit. Razer’s take on the smart desk looks like it will have a built-in desktop PC, along with built-in modular storage, wireless charging, hotkeys, all kinds of displays, microphones, speakers and a RGB gaming monitor. I found it strange that Razer didn’t show the Project Sophia Desk with the kind of liquid cooling systems seen in other similar desk offerings, but, then again, that might affect the desk’s modularity. See a demonstration here.
HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless
Lastly, HyperX, now a division of HP, announced an update to one of my favorite pairs of headphones, the HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless. HyperX has done extremely well with the Cloud line of headphones; as the company’s first wireless model, the Cloud Alpha Wireless takes that to a whole new level. The headphones boast a supposed 300 hours of battery life, which is basically unheard of. If true, one charge would last well over a month for most people (maybe even two). The HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless go on sale for $199 starting in February.
This year’s CES 2022 was a particularly exciting conference for PC gamers and it looks like there will be absolutely no shortage of new hardware for gamers to peruse. The only concern, of course, is availability of individual components, particularly for those who want to build their own system. That said, complete systems like laptops are much less likely to be affected by the on-going chip shortage. I believe those should come to market much faster, particularly since companies seem to be launching mobile parts first. The biggest surprise this year was by far the PSVR 2 announcement, which I will cover further in my upcoming XR roundup from the conference. Stay tuned—with NVIDIA’s RTX 3090 Ti and Intel’s Arc both coming soon, we’ll have a lot more hardware news to cover this year.