For Day Two of the 2018 CES show focus shifted over to the Sands Convention Center where Turner Broadcasting Sports sponsored this year’s CES Sports Zone. Dubbed a global arena for sports technology and product innovation designed to enhance athletic performance, smart arenas, Esports and next gen sponsorships, the CES Sports Zone was truly a mixed bag.
Truthfully, the main thing missing from this exhibit area was, frankly, sports. A better description for the area would have been ‘fitness and wellness’ as most exhibitors were shilling products intended to monitor athletic performance.
Turner Sports is to be applauded for hosting a series of presentations from tech companies covering everything from ticketing to real-time data collection, visualization, to archival retrieval. The purpose, though, seemed fleeting, for many of these companies were true start-ups or very early stage. One had the feeling of being on the Shark Tank set.
The highlight of the afternoon was Turner Sports new E-League competition: Capcom and Dimps, Street Fighter V. This was a rematch between NBA legend, Shaquille O’Neal, and World Wrestling Entertainment diva, Eva Marie. For Esports purists, this may have been somewhat unsettling. Turner Sports adding Street Fighter Celebrity championship to its E-League line-up seems like a cheapening of Esports. Street Fighter V is definitely a fun gaming experience, but do we really need a celebrity championship when we are already inundated culturally with “Dancing with the Stars,” “Celebrity Family Feud,’’ “MTV’s The Challenge,” and even a reboot of “Battle of the Network Stars.”
For Esports enthusiasts, the most exciting development to be seen at CES did not take place at any of the official CES convention sites. Instead, it was held in a 15th floor suite of Caesar’s Palace. It was there that world-renowned Esports juggernaut, FNATIC, introduced and unveiled prototypes of its first foray into product development and branding.
No other than founder/manager, Sam Matthews, was on hand to provide rationale for FANTIC’s daring entry into an already crowded marketplace for genuine, hardcore gaming mice and keyboards. Then again, few manufacturers have thirteen years of hardcore gaming experience to design and tweak hardware with true professional acumen.
The designs on display at FNATIC’s Caesar’s Palace suite may have been an imperial portent of just how powerful FNATIC’s venture into product development may become. Expect to hear more about FNATIC’s products before their March launch.