CES 2023 Trends: More Customization for Gaming Peripherals & 3D Gaming

More customization and personalization is the future of gaming peripherals if this year’s CES exhibits were any indication. Asus is betting on a more premium keyboard market, while HyperX HX3D will offer accessories for your accessories.

Asus ROG Azoth
While RGB lighting has been the gaming keyboard standard for years, Asus’s ROG Azoth goes a step further by making mainstream features traditionally reserved for enthusiasts. The $250 wireless, mechanical keyboard is customizable out of the box and even has a small OLED display (sure, why not).

  • Hot-swappable switches and keycaps
    • Switches are not proprietary
  • Pre-lubricated and ships with additional lube
  • Includes basic tools like a keycap puller

The Azoth’s price is competitive for a product aimed at gamers instead of keyboard enthusiasts. It's a sign that gamers are increasingly looking for more when buying keyboards – and potentially willing to spend more.

HyperX HX3d
HyperX debuted its new HX3D line of 3D-printed accessories for HyperX gaming peripherals. “HX3D is taking this love of personalizing a gaming experience to the physical world and enabling a wide range of fun ways to update and customize our award-winning HyperX gear," said HyperX Daniel Kelley.

  • HX3D is being positioned as a service for gamers, not one based off HyperX’s brand loyalty
The first H3XD product will be a Cozy Cat Keycap for $19.99, with future plans for peripherals like headsets and mice. While the price may seem steep, it’s actually not bad when compared to boutique keycaps from a marketplace like Etsy. It’s no secret there’s demand for customization in PC gaming, but the big question is will HyperX’s simple idea appeal to the much larger console gaming market.

Blast from the Past
CES 2023 marked a surprise return for 3D gaming, with respected PC brands like Asus and Acer, as well as  startups hopping on the bandwagon. Is 3D the path forward for gaming or a dead end?

A CES attendee would be forgiven for feeling as if they were transported back a decade, to a simpler time when 3D was supposedly the future of TV.  There was not just one, but multiple demos of glasses-free 3D gaming. The basic technology uses use eye-tracking to combine two images to add a depth effect, which unfortunately limits the experience to a solo one. Since the two images are combined, the resulting quality is half of what it would be in 2D.

Asus: Casting a Wide Net
The company’s Spatial Vision technology was demonstrated with the ProArt Studiobook 16 3D OLED and Vivobook Pro 16X 3D OLED. While technically workstation notebooks, an RTX 4070 (mobile) makes them capable gaming machines. Asus thinks it can capture more customers by splitting its attention between the gaming and workstation markets.

  • Launching Q2, with no pricing information yet
Acer Bets on Gaming
Acer showed off its Predator Helios 300 SpatialLabs Edition, which debuted last year. The company opted for a purely gaming focus, choosing its Predator imprint and skipping creativity features like Asus’ ProArt dial.
  • SpatialLabs recently rolled out a new update adding “3D Ultra mode,” with improved 3D depth
  • Acer and SpatialLabs also offer portable 3D monitors
3D Game Market Goes for Affordability
3D Game Market showed off a 32-inch 4K monitor they hope to bring to US market soon. While pricing isn’t finalized yet, 3DGM is aiming to beat the likes of Acer and Asus on price and sell the monitor for a couple thousand. We were told pricing will mostly come down to interest and economies of scale.
  • A best case scenario price of $2,000 is more affordable than a 3D notebook, but still steep for a 32-inch 4K monitor
What Do We See?
We came away with mixed feelings after demoing the above products. The childhood wow factor is there, especially if you don’t play VR games.  3D gaming on a monitor or laptop is also an easier transition than a VR headset and controllers. But we’re less sold on 3D overtaking traditional 2D gaming, which could make Asus' diversified go-to-market strategy the safer bet.
  • Price: Even at the lowest price, the 3D gaming experience will still set you back the entire cost of a more than respectable PC battle station.
    • A notebook with a 3D display would likely be around $3,000 (a high price for gaming, but not for creative work).
  • Content: We repeatedly heard that adding 3D support would not be a huge task for devs, but it's still additional work for the industry standard of overworked game devs.
    • As with VR gaming, the platform is only as good as its content
  • The Human Factor: To loosely quote Jurassic Park, 3D gaming asked if it could, not if it should.
    • Technological proof-of-concept didn't prevent this writer (and other potential consumers) from finding the experience a bit headache-inducing.
What About VR?
3D gaming will not only have to compete with traditional gaming, but also virtual reality and augmented reality. Only time will tell whether or not 3D gaming will be a competitor to VR gaming, or merely a step on the way to a potential Metaverse. In the short term, superior pricing and accessibility could make 3D displays a strong contender over VR headsets – and a way for traditional gamers to dip their toes in more immersive gaming mediums.
Images courtesy of Asus ROG and HyperX