Reclaiming ‘Game Changer’ at CES 2013

The headline this morning was striking: “Broadcom debuts ‘game changer’ chip for HDTVs.”

It was no less titillating, however, than the headline that followed: “Intel Makes Game Changing Move For Emerging Markets.”

Fewer than 24 hours into CES 2013, the phrase “game changer” has become easier to find in Las Vegas than a slot machine.

But why?

That’s what independent tech analyst and mobile news blogger Ian Hayes wants to know. Hayes spoke with Mobile Marketing Watch Tuesday and expressed his perpetual dismay with the excessive exaggeration that always comes out of CES news reporting.

“The most accurate headline I’ve seen today,” Hayes says, “came from the Boston Globe: ‘Few game-changing electronics in ’13 CES.’ That doesn’t mean we aren’t seeing amazing things on the floor. We are. It just means we shouldn’t fool ourselves into thinking that the wheel was reinvented at this year’s show. We have to reclaim the phrase ‘game changer’ as something that really changes our world. There’s plenty at CES this year that will make our world a better, smarter, more connected place, but it won’t fundamentally change our world. There are no flying cars.”

While not deriding the event or its prominently featured innovations, Hiawatha Bray of the Boston Globe did point out a few of the simpler technologies that some are still brazen enough to call game changers. Among such products is a refrigerator that will actually tell you when to buy more milk.

When compared to, say, the invention of the microchip, the milk-monitoring fridge hardly seems as groundbreaking. But, according to Hayes, with it becoming more and more difficult to wow the masses every year, the bar for what truly impresses has been lowered “a tad” in recent years.

“CES is the greatest time to be had all year,” he says. “But we have to practically look at these technologies in search of the potential they possess and the ideas for future developments they lend to our thinking. It’s a fun, cool place to be. We just have to chill out with the ‘game changer’ talk. It’s getting to be a little much.”

Do you agree?