CES 2022 officially kicked today but news has already started streaming in regarding what various manufacturers will be announcing in the platform that is widely regarded to be the most influential tech event in the world. The build-up to the event has been overshadowed by COVID-19 scares, forcing some OEMs including Lenovo, Amazon, Meta and T-Mobile, to suspend on-site activities. However, they will be making their announcements online.
Samsung is the first company to come out of the blocks, revealing a new line-up of smart TVs today. The most important takeaway from the announcement is that these smart TVs will be the first Samsung sets in a while to let you play AAA video games from the cloud instead of being limited to just your Xbox, PlayStation or PC.
Following a tease late in 2021, the South Korean company has now confirmed that “select” 2022 models will explicitly offer access to Nvidia’s GeForce Now, Google Stadia, and the Utomik cloud gaming service as part of a new “Samsung Gaming Hub,” a user interface which Samsung is intending to expand to additional services as well.
The fact that the company does not commit to all 2022 versions having the Samsung Gaming Hub makes me think it will only be limited to their very high-end models, locking out users in the middle range to the entry-level bracket.
Furthermore, the Samsung Gaming Hub will not be exclusively for cloud gaming. Samsung says that HDMI connected video games consoles will be part of it as well. This will be with support for pass-through controller inputs. This essentially means that a user will be able to play both cloud and console games using the same controller. Initially, people had to use separate controllers or switch between pairing back and forth between the platforms as needed. The pass-through feature will support both PlayStation and Xbox controllers at launch.
“AI Gaming technology” has also been mentioned, which will reportedly create curated game recommendations on your TV’s home screen. How they will achieve this will be interesting to see, as people tend to play very different games from one moment to the next.
Despite mentioning the different gaming cloud platforms that will be available, the company has failed to mention the picture and audio quality that they will be supporting. GeForce Now and Google Stadia supports 4K streaming, and it does not make sense for Samsung to miss mentioning this unless they will not be supporting game streaming in 4K.
“We are working with partners to bring their best levels of service to our platform… We will be announcing details as we get closer to launch,” part of a statement from Mike Lucero, Samsung’s Gaming Product Director, reads. He also claims that despite starting with a few 2022 models, the company is still working to make the Gaming Hub available to even more customers.
It is interesting that Microsoft’s Xbox cloud gaming service, xCloud is not part of the launch. This is in spite of Samsung and Microsoft partnering on cloud gaming in the past, which might hint at Microsoft having plans of their own that are not yet announced to the public.