If you’ve never been to CES, the size and spectacle of the thing can be overwhelming. Thousands of booths fill the 3.2 million square feet of the Convention Center, and that’s not even counting all the exhibits in the other hotel suites. Trying to fight your way through the crowds is a real struggle at times, and finding the hidden gems of CES is half the battle. And then the power goes out.
Tuan and I were wandering the halls of CES, looking for the best new PC gaming tech out there when suddenly everything went dark. At first I thought it was some extravagant demo, meant to start in the dark and surprise us all, but it quickly became apparent that the we were suffering from a garden variety power outage, albeit one with massive implications.
CES might be one of the most power-hungry events out there. Massive stages, bright lights, and all the latest and greatest cutting-edge tech. Here's LG's cavern of flexible TVs, for example:
Now everything has come grinding to a halt. Attendees and exhibitors shuffle around, not really sure what to do. Perhaps most surprising is the lack of chaos. Between light flooding in through the windows and the bright lights of smartphone flashlights, there's just enough brightness for us to make our way through the crowds. There's been no stampeding to the exits, just a bunch of multi-billion dollar companies losing money by the second.
It’s more than just a minor annoyance for all involved. Many of the demonstrations are done in carefully controlled environments, and while rebooting a PC once power returns may only take half a minute or less, ensuring everything still works as intended takes time. Most of the exhibitors come into the main hall an hour or more in advance of the crowds to get everything ready.
How much money is this power outage costing all of the involved companies each second? We shudder to think. And then there’s the potential for theft. Granted, the LVCC is by no means pitch black, but theft is already a concern—just ask Razer—and having the lights out certainly doesn’t help.
As of this writing, the power's been out for about 30 minutes. An advisory message has informed us that Las Vegas Convention Center is experiencing a power outage, and that they are currently investigating. We'll update when the lights come back on.
Update: After about an hour of no power, the lights came back. As expected, there are plenty of error messages showing on the displays around the show floor, as the companies scramble to get everything synced back up. The show must go on.