What makes CES different than other conventions?

By Reinier Macatangay

First-time CES attendees, who have only previously experienced anime and comic book conventions, will meet a different kind of convention this week, as The International Consumer Electronics Show returns to the Las Vegas Convention Center from Jan. 5-8.

Oh sure, a lot of CES is similar to other conventions that Nerd Reactor readers are more familiar with. For example, this event is quite crowded, just like San Diego Comic-Con, Anime Expo and other major nerd gatherings. In addition, there is a main exhibit hall, panels on the side and celebrity guests too. Keynote presentations are a part of CES as well, similar to how the major video game companies give their big presentations before the start of the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). Everyone has to wear a badge with their name on it too, with their company’s name on proud display. At many other conventions, the attendee’s full name and type of badge is plastered on as well. But, major differences between CES and the typical nerd convention do exist.

For one, CES has a very serious feel to it. Gone are the cosplayers and their elaborate costumes, roaming the halls, and stopping for amateur and professional photographers alike. This event is meant for business folks dressed in business attire. Video game companies still attend CES too, but not ones most gamers are familiar with. Instead, the focus is on lower-profile names, or those creating the technology to play the next generation of games.

In other words, expect to see virtual reality demonstrations and cool accessories, but forget about any PlayStation and Microsoft convention war. To be fair, though, Sony annually offers a decent gaming area besides their home and portable technologies. Nevertheless, the gaming scene overall takes a back seat to other technology. Interested in the latest home cleaning gadgets? CES will undoubtedly feature companies looking to display the latest improvements in vacuuming the floor. How about the next step in DSLR cameras? All the major camera industry names such as Nokia, Canon and others will be present with their own booths.

Years ago, CES was a venue to show the latest technology had to offer, with upcoming consoles and games put on the back burner. The rise of E3 ended that practice, however, and now companies on the gaming side tend to wait for the big summer event in Los Angeles.

So, why do people attend CES?

People love technology. Plus, the convention hall is huge. It would put most convention halls around the country to shame. It is better staffed and has a cleaner and more orderly feel. The event is also different because there is no more “line con.” Forget about any problems picking up the badge, because attendees can pick up their badge at numerous locations around the Strip, in addition to the convention center and airport. However, CES is limited to those in the industry, so be sure to prove that when registering.

CES is unique and one of the most “adult” conventions out there, but it is great for those who can attend. If possible, find a way to see it one day.

From around the web: