Usually there isn’t a lot of news that comes out of the GDC (Game Developers Conference) since it is primarily a show for developers not the public, but this year was a little different, so I thought I would give you some highlights.
Everyone is in to VR now:
Oculus Rift showed that VR could be done well and cheaply, and since then everyone has jumped on the bandwagon. This year Sony showed off more of its Project Morpheus which will work with its PS4 due in 2016, but Valve and HTC’s Vive stole the show. Apparently it is the best VR headset ever demonstrated, so we will see how that turns out.
More Set-Top Boxes:
Valve is not content to stay on your computer it wants a piece of your TV as well. It announced that Steam Box, a PC based console, will finally launch this year, and it is also launching the Steam Link. A little box that Streams your PC games to your TV, so that if you already have a gaming rig you can play your games anywhere in your house. It is an interesting concept, and for a certain subset of gamers I can see it being very attractive. nVidia announced a new Android TV based console that is part of their Shield line. It can stream games from the internet as well as play games locally. We will see how that works when it launches for $200 later this year.
nVidia wants AMD out of the game:
nVidia has been busy launching new video cards in its great GeForce GTX 900 line, while AMD can’t seem to get their Radeon R9 300 series out the door, so nVidia went for the knockout blow by announcing the Titan X. It has 12 GB of RAM and 8 Billion transistors. I am sure this card will cost a mint, but there is nothing faster than it on the planet.
Game development is now free to try:
You can now download and try to make your own games using the Unreal Engine 4 or Unity Engine 5. Tools like these used to cost upwards of $10,000 a license, but now they are available to anyone. These are not the stripped down versions either. You are getting the full set of tools. Once you are start to make money you will have to pay for them, but if you just want to try it out you are free to do so.
Microsoft’s one OS world comes in to focus:
Microsoft is getting serious about only having one OS. At the GDC it explained more about its universal app store, updates on the new DirectX 12 API, Xbox to Windows 10 cross play and cross buying, Xbox One to PC streaming, and lastly a bunch of new games coming out to its platforms using the ID@Xbox program. Most notably Elite: Dangerous. I think it is clear that Microsoft sees itself as an underdog at this point, and is working really hard to try and be a dominant player again. We will see how their plans work, but at least it is good to see them truly trying again.
It has been a great GDC, and still has a couple of days left, but all the major players have had their say. If anything else noteworthy happens I will update this post. I can only hope next year’s GDC is as interesting.