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CES gaming

Battling robots, a hybrid board game and a VR rudder. Here’s 2019's most innovative gaming tech.

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LAS VEGAS (CIRCA) — For more than 40 years, video games have transported us to digital worlds using just a few buttons and a joystick. But in 2019, augmented and virtual reality are changing the way we interact with games.

This year at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, game developers looked to the future with innovations like a hybrid board game, a VR rudder and AR battling robots.

Battlebots
The GJS Robot, featuring app-enabled augmented reality. (Circa)

If you've ever seen the show "Battlebots," you've probably thought, "I've got enough hardware in my garage to make one of those." But unless there's an engineering degree in that garage, I would recommend just getting a GJS Robot.

This little bot controls very much like a radio-controlled car, but features a camera and mobile phone controls. Combine that with its augmented reality game app for a truly unique, first-person-shooter experience that plays like mech fighting seen in games like "Titanfall" or "Overwatch."

The GJS Robots are available now on Amazon.

Hybrid game board
A simple attack/defense game utilizing physical pawns on a touchscreen is played on the SquareOne board game console. (Circa)

With more than $200 million pledged on Kickstarter in 2018 alone, tabletop board games have been enjoying a resurgence. But maybe you or someone you know thinks board games are old-fashioned and video games are the only way to go. That's where French startup Wizama comes in.

The SquareOne is what Wizama describes as a "board game console," meaning it uses a touch screen for its board along with physical "controllers" like dice, pawns and cards.

Hybrid board game
A close-up of the touch screen while playing a game involving physical pawns. (Circa)

Its digital design allows for any number of games via a dedicated online app store, and utilizes Bluetooth and RFID technology to scan physical cards into the game and read how your dice lands.

SquareOne isn't available on the market yet, but Wizama is currently seeking game developers to help fill out its game selection.

3dRudder
The 3dRudder integrates with your existing VR rig to allow a simple solution to achieving smooth motion. (Circa)

From giant hamster balls to tether cables, the problem of how you walk around freely in VR has neither a simple nor cheap solution. But once again, that's where the French come in.

Using the basic design of a balance board, the 3dRudder allows users to move freely in virtual reality by simply using their feet to tilt the board in the direction they wish to move, or twisting the board to turn left or right. Though this may seem unnatural, after a solid five minutes this becomes second nature and reveals itself to be the simplest solution to an otherwise complicated and expensive problem.

The 3dRudder is available for PC-based VR systems and has just been licensed by Sony as an official Playstation accessory, to be released later this year.

3dRudder
The 3dRudder sits alongside a PSVR headset. (Circa)
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