Intel's Ashlee Simpson moment at CES

Chip maker caught faking 'live' game demo on Ivy Bridge ultranotebook

Remember back in 2004 when Ashlee Simpson appeared on Saturday Night Live and a prerecorded vocal track started playing before the "singer" put the microphone to her mouth? Hilarity ensued!

Intel's Mooley Eden, who runs the chipmaker's PC unit, experienced a similar embarrassing moment on the stage this week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas (video below).

The executive was demonstrating to attendees the awesomeness of Intel's new ultra-thin computers, which are supposed to be superior to all those other lame laptops in terms of gaming graphics and response times.

To prove this, Eden loaded "F1 2011," a racing game based on last year's Formula One season.

The live demo was going swimmingly, until it stalled. And then attendees, much like the SNL audience watching Simpson, realized it was all a fake, thanks to the plainly visible playback bar briefly appearing at the bottom of the computer screen, a dead giveaway that the "live demo" was not live at all -- even though Eden was going through the motions of pretending he was driving his race car on stage using a steering wheel -- but a previously recorded game being played back to trick viewers into thinking they were watching the real thing as it happened.

When Simpson got caught out, she shamelessly tried to blame the fakery on her band -- "I'm so sorry, my band started playing the wrong song" -- which, for the record, actually kept playing live because they're real musicians.

Eden attempted some similar blame-shifting, asserting that the game was being played live by someone offstage. Which really doesn't go a long way toward explaining the playback bar.

Later the company said the recorded game was supposed to be a back-up to the live demo. But why would the "back-up" appear on the CES screen instead of the live game? And why didn't Eden catch it right away and start up the actual game?

Intel's Ivy Bridge ultranotebook may indeed be capable of playing graphics-intensive games, but you wouldn't be able to tell from the fake CES demo, which was the equivalent of lip-synching.

It's always best if tech companies play it straight with people, especially in a crowded room at a major show. Intel should just 'fess up and admit the obvious: This live-performance snafu was the fault of Ashlee Simpson's band.

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