Normally, I'm fighting for every minute I can spend on the show floor each year, but with the economy as it is, and the cost to set up a booth rising year after year, some of the best stuff wasn't even at the convention hall this year. I spent most of my day in suites along the strip, with one special stop along the way.
I started the morning with the folks of Steelseries. We've reviewed a ton of their products over the past couple years and with good reason; the make some darn good stuff. I had a great meeting with Bruce, Tori, and Kim, and got the low down on the Sensei's little siblings that will be filling out their mouse line, the Flux and a new color option for Siberia 2, and their still in development Ion wireless controller that will work with a plethora of mobile platforms.
Working my way towards the convention center, I stopped next to meet with iBUYPOWER. I'd already spent a good bit of my time with this gang, partying it up until late in the night at their shared shindig with NZXT at The Palms. This time, it was mostly business though as we broke down their new stuff, which most prominently focused on the Erebus GT, an overclockers wet dream with plenty of room for the best liquid cooling available all still while looking beyond daper. The iBUYPOWER folks take their fun very seriously, and even the morning after they'd given away their The Old Republic themed custom one off case modded gaming powerhouse PC, they were still hard at work adding additional detailing. When one of the staffers who worked on it told me they'd spend around 100 hours on the project, I wasn't surprised. It was easily the best case design at the show. You never leave the iBUYPOWER suite empty handed, and the gang was doubly nice to me this year, providing me with a single can USB refrigerator/heater, and one to give to our readers which will be doing this week on Twitter (follow @gamingnexus for all our news and contests).
While we all go to CES for work, it's hard to not have some fun along the way, and meeting celebrities is one of the better perks of being at the event. I'd already met Snooki and 50 Cent (actually, this was the second time I met Mr. Cent, as I met him years ago at E3 when he was working with GamerGraffix). But none of that could prepare me for meeting Justin Beiber. Getting Justin's autograph for my neice would put me on the short list for uncle of the year award. I was late getting to the signing from iBUYPOWER, but because the ladies at the booth were kind enough to give me a VIP ticket, I was able to still get the autograph. I've met 3 different Presidents of the United States, been to filled stadium concerts, and I've never seen a crowd as excited to meet someone as a young teen heartthrob. I don't know what it is, but people we're actually pushing each other around just trying to get a better picture. I will say he couldn't have been a nicer young man, introducing himself and asking me who the autograph was for and what I was doing at the show. With the crowd the way it was, I decided against the photo op, but I did get a photo of him when I was next in line.
I finished up the show part of the day in a suite with the folks from Cables to Go a cabling company from Dayton, Ohio. Living now in very rural North Carolina, I've learned the value of internet suppliers who ship overnight and get the order right the first time. Cables to Go primarily deals in B2B but also has a website that they will sell you any internal or external PC cable you can think of along with video, audio, or really a cable for anything electronic you can plug in at your house. The catalog is quite massive, and they will even make a single custom cable for an order if it isn't something they already have.
After my day at the show I had originally planned to head back to my room for the night and catch up on my coverage, but given the way things were going for me on the casino floor, I was suprised to see my luck turn with approval of my VIP admission to the Chicago concert at the Monster awards. Each year, Monster throws a bit of a self-aggrandizing party to honor the retailers who sell their products, but it's a party that's known for having a terrific band as the focus of the event. This year was no different, as Chicago played what I can only say was an unbeleivable show, cranking out Top 10 hits for over 2 hours, and I was lucky enough to standing front row for most of the show. Only when I got back to the hotel did I learn I could have stayed for the afterparty, which would have been great fun. But with the full day I had it wasn't as big a letdown as it would have normally been.