Gaming at CES to Span Kinect-Like Controls for PCs, But Nothing Major From Nintendo

Nintendo will be exhibiting for the first time at the Consumer Electronics Show in 16 years, but don’t expect the game-console maker to announce anything substantial this week.

Rather than competing among the throng of exhibitors attempting to be noticed at the show, Nintendo will host a private event in two weeks to preview its 3DS, a new handheld game player that provides a 3D experience without the need for special glasses.

Invitations to the Jan. 19 event in New York City have already been sent to reporters, who will have the opportunity to play games on the device, watch demonstrations and hear a presentation from President and COO of Nintendo of America Reggie Fils-Aime.

So, without major news coming from Nintendo, what else can we expect at CES from the gaming space?

We’ll be watching for news from among more than 35 exhibitors that are attending from the games industry. They include AMD, HP, Intel, LevelUp, Logitech, Microsoft, Nintendo, Nokia, Sony, Alcazar Entertainment, Cosmi, DC Comics/Warner and DreamWorks Animation, and gaming retailers, such as Amazon and GameStop.

One of the stars will likely be Microsoft’s Kinect, the Xbox accessory that uses cameras to track a player’s movements to allow them to play games without a traditional controller.

In all likelihood, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who kicks off CES with a pre-show keynote address on Wednesday, will use the venue to brag about the Kinect’s runaway success.

This holiday season Microsoft expected to sell 5 million Kinects after saying it sold 2.5 million Kinects in the first 25 days. It’s been sold-out at many retailers for weeks, but we haven’t heard whether it met its 2010 target. At least, not yet.

Microsoft is banking on the Kinect to widen the demographic of the Xbox beyond the hardcore gamer, so widespread adoption will be key.

Another company that is already getting attention in the days leading up to CES is PrimeSense, which Microsoft licensed the core Kinect technology from.

The Israeli company is planning to show how the motion-controlled interface can be used for the PC.

The device will be similar to the Kinect because it will allow users to interact with a PC without a mouse or keyboard. It won’t be only for gaming, but also for typical PC activities, like accessing the Internet and browsing media.

The device is expected to be ready for the PC next year — but this time, not from Microsoft, reports Rather, PrimeSense is teaming up with PC and peripheral maker Asus.

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