Live From CES 2022: This Year’s Hottest Trends – WIRED

JC: Yeah. I mean, one of my most favorite things I think of all CESs that I’ve ever attended was I discovered basically a chess board with moving pieces, the pieces that move themselves through magnets and you’re just … It was crazy. It’s basically Wizard’s Chest from Harry Potter. It blew my mind. I found it at some random booth in Eureka park at CES several years ago. And to this day that’s like one of the things that I think I’ll eventually buy. It’s like $200, so it’s pretty expensive. But one day I’ll buy it. But it’s one of those things that it’s like, I’m not going to see that, I’m not going to find that on like a virtual CES.

Already I feel like I’ve had so much trouble finding a lot of these weird fun gadgets and gizmos that were so easy to come by before. Now it’s mostly the big announcements from the big companies, which we all get in our inboxes. But it’s just hard and difficult to find the fun stuff from the weird French district of CES or whatever, really. So that’s something that I definitely miss and hopefully next I’ll be traversing those halls.

MC: Yeah. La French Tech always has some of the best toys. One of the things that often gets lost in the conversation is the fact that CES is fundamentally a B2B show, right? So it’s like a business deal show. It’s set up so that the person who is the buyer where the big box store chain can show up and meet with the sales rep for Hisense televisions and the sales rep for, I don’t know, TCL vacuum cleaners and put in like millions of dollars worth of orders. So it’s a show where big retail deals get done and big distribution deals get done.

And that as spec pretty much has to be in person. I’m sure that there are a lot of deals done over the pandemic, not in person. But part of the healthy consumer electronics economy, that face to face interaction is going to be critical. For us as journalists covering it, I echo what everybody else just said. I really miss wandering aimlessly through the Las Vegas Convention Center for three days straight, blurry eye, shuffling my feet, undernourished, just collecting content to put onto the internet.

LG: I miss celebrating your birthday in person in Las Vegas, Mike, because every year your birthday falls either during CES or just afterwards. And so I have these great photos of CES 2020 of all of us packed into a restaurant, exchanging all kinds of respiratory droplets before we knew what was imminent. And we get you vegan cupcakes.

MC: Oh, I remember those cupcakes.

LG: I mean, I do miss that. I do miss paying $11 for a coffee at Bouchon Bakery in The Venetian every morning. But I miss that a lot. One of my favorite CES stories similar to Julian’s is several years ago, I think it was 2013, I was on the ground for CES for probably four or five days, very tired. On my way out an editor messaged me and said, “Lauren, everyone’s talking about this thing. It’s being shown in a back room, in a hotel room. You have to go see it.” I mean, I think I was literally on my way out the door with luggage. And I’m like, “OK, I’ll go see this thing.” So I went to this hotel suite and it was Oculus. It was like, blew my mind, like totally blew my mind. It was Brendan Iribe. Am I saying his name correctly? Sorry Brendan I’m butchering your name. It was just this big boxy thing, right. It had been crowdfunded and I’m not even a huge gamer.