Touchpad gaming has always existed since the iPad’s introduction. Handheld gaming—the devices with mini joysticks and buttons to push—dates all the way back with Mattel being the first on the block and Nintendo evolving the concept further. With hardware gaming manufacturer Razer finally unveiling the Edge (formerly known as Project Fiona) at this year’s Consumers Electronic Show (CES), this company might shake up the world of touchpad and push button gaming.
Not every game plays beautifully on a tablet. The most problematical games are the older ones where developers did not think of having fingers cover the screen, hiding possible dangers and blowing up the hero when the player least expects it. With the Edge being able to use an external controller, this concern is now moot. Razer even offers their own customized version that can attach to the tablet like side-bar handles. Strangely missing, however, is mention of an accelerometer. Unless that is part of the controller’s specs (which has not been released yet), driving games may not be as fun.
At least owners may become enthusiastic over the fact that this device has four modes. To name a few, it can function as a normal tablet or as a mini-computer. The device runs Windows 8 and a keyboard/mouse can be connected to it. This feature is very attractive for customers wanting more than just a tablet. Curiously, unlike other slates, it does not list a memory card slot in the spec sheet. A USB 3.0 port makes up for this shortcoming for computer users who have a USB hub to connect their plethora of external devices.
If gamers are thinking of adding to this device down the road, then they are out of luck. According to Razer’s website, only two models, the basic and pro, are available. Users may not be able to upgrade the device on their own. Although this device may be locked to a specific shelf-life, it should satisfy most users for at least two years.
Hopefully some developers will want to turn the Edge into a device similar to the Wii U with this device in its Mobile Console mode. As for whether there will be games that will operate similar to the user interface that Nintendo’s latest console offers, that remains to be seen. Patent wars are nasty, so companies have to be creative in not to tread on Nintendo’s turf. The sharing of data within a game via Bluetooth or WiFi communication with another PC is possible. In Polygon’s report, the Edge is said to handle Valve Corporation’s Steam just fine. As for how much further this technology advances depends on more tablet manufacturers seeking to take the gaming experience away from the home environment. Some gamers may thirst for playing Diablo III while waiting at the doctor’s office.
Fortunately, there is enough PC games streamlined for touch screen integration to make most traveling gamers happy. Many games that are not optimized for touchscreen integration, like Elder Scrolls V, are said to work just fine, according to Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan, CEO of Razer, in an interview with Polygon.
But as for how many more people will adopt to a touch screen interface for a gaming experience, the polls are not in yet. Some gamers remain old school, preferring a controller over a flat surface to move their avatars around. Tactile responses with a joystick are far better than sliding a finger around.
The Razer Edge has a planned release date of mid-2013.
Base Unit (MSRP: $999)
Intel Core i5 processor, Nvidia GT640M LE GPU, 10.1-inch IPS display (1366 x 768), 4GB of DDR3 RAM and a 64GB SSD.
Pro Model (MSRP: $1299)
Intel Core i7 processor, Nvidia GT640M LE GPU, 10.1-inch IPS display (1366 x 768), 8GB of DDR3 RAM and a 128GB or 256GB SSD.
Article from Gamersyndrome.com