Gaming immersion dominates CES 2023’s gaming tech

Realism redone and immersion intensified

Immersion – we all strive for it, and the better immersed you are, the more enjoyable your gaming experience is. With that in mind, I think it’s time we talk about the future of immersion as seen at CES 2023!

Gaming… head cushion?

Razer’s Project Carol is kind of like those arcade racer seats with built-in speakers right by your head, except it’s just the head part. They make for wonderful levels of immersion, and really help you feel like you’re speeding down the streets at breakneck speed. Project Carol takes that concept a step further with 7.1 surround sound and built-in haptics for (one of) the closest thing(s) to true immersion.

Razer Project Carol headcushion
You probably wouldn’t think twice if you saw this on your friend’s gaming chair, and that’s how they get you.

Now imagine playing that same arcade racer (or maybe something a bit newer) and having real-time feedback provided right behind your ears – not just hearing, but also feeling. Not in the mood for races? Think about your favorite adventure game or shooter. It may be daunting at first of course, but imagine an explosion going off behind your character – now imagine actually feeling like you just narrowly avoided the destruction.

While it would make you do a double take, it would also give you a real sense of danger. Sounds like a dream right? With Razer’s HyperSense tech, Project Carol may just be what you need to take your gaming experience one step further. Oh, and it’s also wireless of course, so you can take it anywhere you’re looking to game.

A head-tracking soundbar…

Razer’s Leviathan V2 Pro is kind of like having a headset on, except you’re not wearing anything, and also you’re getting a home-theatre experience with just a soundbar and subwoofer. This fancy new soundbar features beamforming technology and an AI head-tracking infrared camera to provide you with “true to life 3D audio” no matter where your head is. It also has RGB, of course – this is Razer after all.

Razer Leviathan V2 Pro
Cool? Creepy? Both? You tell me. Image by Razer

RGB gaming *cue the air horns*

Govee is joining the game-syncing RGB train with its very own AI Gaming Sync Box Kit! If you don’t know, the aim of these kinds of game-syncing devices is so your RGB lights mimic what you’re seeing on screen. This in turn provides you with 1: cooler background lighting, and 2: a more immersive gaming experience. It’s almost like your environment and the situation is expanding out past your screen and into your room. I guess for some games that’s actually a somewhat spooky idea, but the idea is there, and it’s pretty solid.

Haptic techwear!

I know techwear is a fashion trend, but I’m actually talking about haptic gloves and vests – which do wonders for immersion over regular clothes.

OWO’s “second skin” VR haptic suit is essentially a skintight suit that shocks you in accordance with whatever is hitting you in the game. The suit uses electricity rather than vibration to provide painful sensations all over your body – and even comes with an option for sleeves! VR haptic suits are designed to increase your immersion in games by enhancing the player’s awareness. In FPS games, players depend on sight, sound, a minimap, and maybe some instinct – depending on their skill level I suppose. It even works with games you probably wouldn’t expect – like League of Legends or even Rocket League. With a haptic suit comes a new realm of possibility. Now all of a sudden rather than waiting for a visual cue for taking damage, you’ll be able to feel it and react accordingly, accurately, and likely faster as well.

Sure, you won’t be gaming at an esports level, but the experience will be overall more realistic, so to speak. Your life’s flashing before your eyes in game and you need to escape to survive? Yeah, have fun with that one considering you took enough shots (and shocks) to topple an elephant.

Now, what if I told you about gloves that let you actually feel what you’re virtually reaching out and touching?

Of course, there had to be gloves

Diver-X has come up with a “glove-type VR controller” that aims to replace those halo-wand touch controllers and let you actually feel what’s in your hands. The gloves work by applying pressure to the player’s hands in places as if they were interacting with a physical object. From there, internal sensors relay that information back to the game to mimic hand movement, making for a more seamless experience. Now you too can smite your enemies on the battlefield, feeling the weight of each strike with every nerve in your body. Or you could make a pizza or something, up to you really.

But what if I said that you could also smell that pizza?

That’s right, we’ve got smell-o-vision

AromaJoin – if you couldn’t tell – focuses on the smell aspect of the gaming experience. AromaPlayer is an application that works to combine your visual and olfactory experiences by way of “scent cartridges” loaded into the hardware. The product is called the Aroma Shooter by the way, which I got a real kick out of.

Aroma Shooter gaming immersion CES 2023
Image by AromaJoin

The Aroma Shooter toggles scents in under a second, discretely and seamlessly based on what’s happening in game. Scent Cartridges come in all flavors, from caramel to spearmint and even… gunpowder? There are also some weirdly specific ones like Fishy Water or Wet Earth – they’re also open to custom-smell suggestions in case they still don’t have what you’re looking for.

It’s okay, I won’t ask.

At this point, you may as well just Jumanji it

Regardless of what you’re playing, every gamer on some level is concerned with immersion. Thanks to CES and its exhibitors, we now have everything from hands to noses as far as immersion is concerned, and the future is looking pretty bright for gamers.

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Kevin Dewan

SQUAD Editor in Chief. Runs after things a lot, won't BM you to your face, okay with losing as long as it's funny. Send questions/complaints/rants to kevin@northernarena.ca
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