One of the most refreshing aspects of covering large gaming/hardware events is the face-to-face interaction with vendors, providing an opportunity to really understand a company's philosophy (discussed here).
PAX East 2013 (which just ended - sad face) saw the return of Kingston Technology's oft-packed HyperX gaming booth. Flanked on two sides by crowds of attendees awaiting their chance to compete against the likes of Team EG SC2 pros, the booth made it clear that Kingston has a vested interest in the gaming industry.
Last year gaming peripherals developer PowerA ventured into mobile gaming controllers with the Moga Mobile, a small, Android-compatible controller that acts as a gaming interface for smartphones and tablets. PowerA now has a more mainstream gaming controller on the horizon called the Moga Pro, now modeled after the Xbox 360’s controller for better global familiarity. It’s not out until next month, but we were fortunate enough to get our hands on it at PAX East 2013. I sat down with product developer Sal Parra and learned more about PowerA’s support for console-like experiences on a mobile platform.
As you can see from our included images, the Moga Pro’s button layout mimics that of the Xbox 360 controller. Xbox’s controllers over the years haven’t changed much, unlike a console lineup such as Nintendo’s, so playing it safe here aims to minimize the learning curve. Personally, I found it easy to continue my console gaming with the Xbox controllers (even the clunky one that released with the original Xbox in 2001), so putting a Moga Pro in my hands didn’t throw me off at all.
As mentioned in earlier-posted coverage of PAX East, the biggest demand from all of you in a recent poll we ran was to provide more on-site, POV coverage of conventions; it’s tough to really understand what these events are like without simply being here, and even then, we normally don’t really realize what’s transpired until just after the event concludes. They’re fast-paced, hectic weekends, and though shows like CES & PAX East are utterly exhausting (I’ve slept 9 hours total in 3 nights and we’ve conducted about 20 interviews), it’s always worth it. Always.
PAX is all about the community, and having just come out of CES, it’s a nice change and one that we readily welcome every year. Rather than cater to the media and exhibitors, PAX is very much about the attendees; we media people don’t get special access to anything (other than exhibitors through existing contacts), so we’ll wait in the same lines for panels and concerts as everyone else. That single element of PAX really highlights how they feel about the consumer experience: It’s King.
Through the video and text in this article, I’ll hopefully convey just a tiny bit of what it’s like to attend large gaming conventions like PAX East.
A manufacturer of cases, power supplies, coolers, and case fans, Enermax has recently branched out into some new territory in the DIY build market. Enermax’s new landgrabs include fan-less (passive) power supplies, liquid cooling, and even a portable amplifier. We looked at some of their new offerings while at PAX East and were particularly intrigued by some of the features in the Ostrog GT & Hoplite cases as well Enermax’s special edition air coolers.
Here’s a recap of Enermax’s US market hardware offerings, including the Ostrog GT, Hoplite, ELC120 & ELC240 CLCs, and the T20/T40 air coolers.
Following Rosewill’s Throne Industrial case mod is tough, but if anyone can afford to have it done, it's Cooler Master. The company didn’t have anything brand new to show, but did have the same case mods on display as were shown when we visited them at CES. This time, however, we had a camera and mic available – here’s what Cooler Mater has to say about the case mods and their creator, Lee Harrington.
One of the most-requested items of exploration from our readers has been to provide a better POV/on-site look at the conventions we attend. There’s good reason to demand such content, too: Along with many other sites, we spend much of our time producing content around specific interviews, booths, products, or announcements, none of which really provide a feel for the greater, zoomed-out look at the convention.
In our first PAXCast (of two) for the weekend, we previewed the first playable Unreal Engine 4 game, provided some quick first impressions on GRID 2, and discussed the role and presence of the hardware sector at PAX East 2013.
The video can be found below!
PC gamers have seen the baby steps taken toward making a “next-gen” game for the past couple of years, and at PAX East 2013 they finally got to experience a hands-on preview of what’s to come. It’s creepy, it’s dark, and it’s definitely something to look forward to.
Our ace-in-the-hole is Zombie Studios, a Seattle dev that knows horror-inspired gameplay and Unreal engines like the back of its hand; supported by team members who worked on the likes of the F.E.A.R. and Condemned series, the studio is well-equipped to tackle the inherent challenge of creating a truly gripping and eerie environment. I got behind the mouse and keyboard to get an up-close look at Unreal Engine 4, its championing Daylight game, and chat with Zombie Studios’ Communications Manager Collin Moore.
We’ll get to the sexy Unreal Engine 4 a little further into the post.
Last year’s PAX East visit to Rosewill saw the excitement of a dual-PSU, dual-CPU Black Hawk Ultra system decked-out with a killer black-and-red custom paintjob; with the ante now officially upped, Rosewill has once again returned to the showfloor of PAX East, intent to reclaim the throne for most souped-up PC of the show.
We posted yesterday about the Throne Industrial case mod, featuring shots taken by Rosewill’s reps from their temporary Boston residence, but we’ve now had an official hands-on with the system and are able to share our own photos and video.
PAX East is here! Well, basically. Close enough. I'm counting the hours til I'm awoken rudely by several intentionally-obnoxious alarm clocks (it's 14 hours, by the way), at which point the team will regroup and embark on our journey to Boston for the show.
The event runs from Friday to Sunday (March 22 - March 24) this weekend.
For the uninitiated, PAX is the Penny Arcade Expo (hosted by the webcomic, Penny Arcade), for which more info can be found here. PAX East is one of the largest gaming conventions in the world, with more than 70,000 attendees per show annually; there are two shows per year, each about the same size -- one in Seattle ("PAX Prime") and one in Boston ("PAX East"). PAX East is always hosted in the March/April timeframe at the Boston Convention Center, Prime is hosted in the August/September timeframe in Seattle's primary convention center.
We'll be at PAX East in less than 24 hours (yikes!) and, as always, will be apt to cover hardware companies to our fullest ability; one of the first vendors we're meeting with will be Rosewill, who've been teasing about their PAX East 2013 Throne case mod since CES (following-up with last year's beautifully-painted Thor V2).
We'll have more photos/video of this system once we're at the show, but for now, the company has sent over a couple of preview shots.
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