They Came, They Gamed, They Went Bonkers: Inside Our CES 2019 Gaming Suite

by Brian Caulfield

Seek and you will find. Knock and you will enter.

If you know the right people or, rather, if the right people know you, you’ll be ushered into NVIDIA’s black and green bedecked suite at the serene Wynn Hotel, just a few minutes from the chaos of CES 2019 this week at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

And once you are, boy howdy. Even before the show floor opened Tuesday, NVIDIA has been telling the story of the technologies that will upend gaming in 2019 to key social media influencers — names like Austin Evans and JayzTwoCents — and more than 120 gaming journalists.

Big Game Hunting with GeForce RTX 2060

It’s not hard to find something new. Look one way and you’ll see Atomic Heart, an atmospheric adventure set in the Soviet Union from Moscow-based Mundfish. Look another and you’ll see Justice, a beautifully lit role-playing game from Beijing-based NetEase.

Both are already using NVIDIA’s real-time ray-tracing technology and playing on NVIDIA’s just announced GeForce RTX 2060 GPU, which brings the ray-tracing technology long relied on by moviemakers equipped with sprawling multimillion dollar rendering farms to gamers for just $349.

Five for Fighting: Battlefield V Comes Alive

Perhaps even more impressive: what NVIDIA RTX — including the RTX 2060 — does for games that are already on the market.

Released in November, Battlefield V — the latest edition of one of the gigantic ”AAA” franchises anchoring the gaming industry — already takes advantage of NVIDIA’s RTX real-time ray-tracing technology to bring the Western European Theater in World War II to life with the flair and detail of a Hollywood war movie.

Now Battlefield V is adding support for DLSS, a wild new technology that uses deep learning AI algorithms — powered by computational cores originally used in the world’s fastest supercomputers — to predict what an image on a screen should look like and enhance it, in real time. The result, on display at the Wynn, is a game that looks better and plays faster.

Sudden Change, Years in the Making

More’s coming. Even before NVIDIA launched its latest generation of GeForce RTX gaming GPUs, it had lined up Microsoft, whose software and standards undergird PC gaming, to support the underlying Turing architecture’s innovations.

NVIDIA has also lined up the industry players on whose software high-profile game developers build new games, companies such as Epic Games and Unity. As a result, there’s already a fat pipeline of RTX-enhanced games in development.

Run Fortnite Better, Cheaper, Faster

Another story that pops out at NVIDIA’s gaming suite: even without any tweaks to take advantage of these new technologies, RTX runs today’s biggest games at their best at a lower price than ever.

Guests to NVIDIA’s suite will see Fortnite — the frenetic free for all that has captured the imagination of a generation of gamers — playing at more than 100 frames per second with ultra settings on at 1440p resolution on a GeForce RTX 2060.

Same with Overwatch, another intense multiplayer game that boasts a sprawling installed base.

Nonstop RTX Laptops at CES 2019

The other big gaming news at CES: all these games can be played on the go, with more than 40 new laptops (in over 100 configurations) equipped with NVIDIA RTX GPUs. Among them, 17 thin-and-light models that take advantage of NVIDIA’s Max-Q design.

NVIDIA’s gaming suite was packed with these new laptops.

And they were doing more than just gaming. NVIDIA showed off a TITAN RTX equipped desktop editing 8K RED video, an RTX 2080 equipped laptop deftly editing 6K RED video, and ray-traced animation on a desktop equipped with an RTX 2080 Ti.

Another unlikely trick: a complete desktop game broadcasting setup powered by an RTX 2060 able to do the work of a far pricier dual PC setup. NVIDIA staff even showed off a RTX 2080 powered laptop broadcasting live gaming.

Displaying for Keeps

NVIDIA also showed off a new generation of displays that promise to bring smooth, stutter- and tear-free images to more gamers than other before.

The showstopper: the NVIDIA BFGD 65-inch HP Omen X 65 Emperium. The display anchored a selection of freshly announced monitors equipped with NVIDIA’s G-SYNC technology, which has just been extended to the sprawling array of adaptive sync displays.

The images were rivaled only by the stunning images hung on the walls of the suite, taken with NVIDIA’s Ansel in-game photography tool and displayed alongside reproductions of paintings by Picasso.

Where Cars Are Stars

It’s a big story to take in — and coffee and plenty of NVIDIA staff were on hand to help tell it. This is too big a tale to be told on the show floor — where NVIDIA’s sleek green, gray and white booth, nestled amid pavilions from Audi and Mercedes — was focused on an NVIDIA automotive story showgoers were eager to hear.

Meanwhile, look for the gaming story being told today in the quiet of NVIDIA’s suite in the Wynn to be shouted tomorrow from the rooftops by gaming’s most influential names.