The Consumer Electronics Show was a mecca of raw, untamed capitalism, and it was every gadget for itself.
Our first full issue explores the history of consumer electronics through the lens of the Consumer Electronics Show. We’ll be looking at a number of products that would go on to become huge successes, and a few that really, really didn’t.
If you were a “technology enthusiast” (AKA a “geek”) and were lucky enough to get a pass to CES, it was a bit like winning Willy Wonka’s Golden Ticket — except that instead of chocolate, there were stereos, televisions, computers, video games and just about anything else new with a transistor or a microchip.
Building through the 1960s and early 1970s, it was the late 1970s and 1980s where the consumer electronics industry really exploded, and CES was in its heyday. Magazine covers of the time touted their coverage of the event, and readers eagerly bought them, hoping to learn which potential “next big things” had been unveiled there – and then spending month and months praying their favourites actually made it to market (which was not always the case.)
For unless you were a big brand with a solid sales channel you could find a tepid response from CES attendees to be a death knell for your product. The general public isn’t usually invited to CES – it is a trade show, meant for resellers, media and industry insiders, and if you can’t convince these folks of the value (and by that I mean actual retail value) of your product, well, no orders means no financing, and no financing means no production, and no production means…well, you know what it means.
We know what that means too, but happily, enough people contributed to our Kickstarter that we get to have a crack at starting a magazine.
And so, we thought the Consumer Electronics Show was a fitting topic for the first full issue of Paleotronic Magazine – it’s not just the subject of our feature article, but a thread that runs through the entire issue, with each department focussing on a product that either lived or died after appearing at CES.
We’ll look at the 8-track, the Commodore Pet, the Nintendo NES, the Atari ST and many, many more greats (and not-so-greats) of the consumer electronics era. We’re your Golden Ticket to CES’s past, and we’re glad to have you along for the tour.
We hope you enjoy your visit!