GDC 2014: the biggest gaming news so far

UPDATED 21/03/14: Everything we've got to look forward to from San Francisco's Game Developers Conference

Back in 1988, 27 designers crammed into a single living room for the first ever Computer Game Developers Conference. 

Fast forward 26 years and the yearly San Francisco Game Developers Conference is attended by tens of thousands of developers from around the world, and it's the biggest date in the gaming calendar next to E3.

This years show looks set to be bigger than ever, with two fresh-faced consoles - Sony's PS4 and Microsoft's Xbox One - looking to one-up each other.

And then there's Valve's looming army of Steam Machines, looking to upset both consoles with a blend of PC power and Steam's ever-growing library.

Here's what we've got to look forward to this year:

Valve - Steam machines incoming

Valve already showed off all 13 of its Steam Machines at CES earlier this year, and there's definitely plenty to be excited about. 

GDC 2014: the best gaming news so far

From its twin trackball-like controller to beastly machines packed with 4K pixel-pushing power, the Xbox One and PS4 have got plenty of reasons to be nervous.

We expect to see more information on Valve's console-killing army at GDC, and we're hoping Valve will also show off its virtual reality headset, which received rave reviews behind closed doors at the Steam Dev Days conference earlier this year.

READ MORE: Valve Steam Machine - price, specs, release date - everything you need to know

READ MORE: Valve’s VR headset “even better than Oculus Rift

Sony - PS4 joins the VR party

Valve isn't the only company working on a VR headset. Sony is expected to reveal a VR headset of its very own at GDC, and although very little is known about it, developers who have already tried it have described it as being even better than the Oculus Rift.

It's likely that the headset will only be compatible with the PS4, but we'll have to wait till next week to see what Sony brings to the virtual gaming table.

UPDATE 19/03/14: Sony has officially announced Project Morpheus, a VR headset with a 1080p screen, 90-degree field-of-view, and both 360-degree and positional head-tracking (via the PlayStation Camera). It has built-in stereo audio too. It's still in the prototype stage, although Sony says it's been working on it for three years already.

READ MORE: Sony’s VR Project Morpheus headset makes its debut, and it looks amazing

Oculus Rift - Price and release date. Pretty please?

A second developer edition of the Oculus Rift VR headset has made its debut at GDC. The Rift Development Kit 2 packs in all the good stuff from the Crystal Cove prototype we played with back in January: lower latency and positional head tracking, which cuts down motion blur, judder and the potential for motion sickness. Check the video above for more detail. It can be pre-ordered for US$350 (£210) now, with orders shipping in July.

GDC 2014: the biggest gaming news so far - Oculus Rift - Price and release date. Pretty please? 2

READ MORE: Better than ever: Oculus Rift 2.0 revealed with high-res display and motion tracking

READ MORE: Oculus Rift preview

More after the break...

Amazon - Wait, what?

Yep. Amazon. The online retail giant snapped up Killer Instinct Developer Double Helix earlier this year, which strongly suggests the company has the gaming market in its sights.

GDC 2014: the best gaming news so far

Rumours of an Android-based console have also been flying around, and it's likely to provide users with a similar experience to the Kindle Fire series of tablets, bringing games, Amazon apps, music and movie streaming service to people's living rooms.

Update 15/03/14: A picture of a controller leaked from an 'overseas regulatory agent' (similar to the US' FCC) shows of a console controller with clear Amazon branding.

If real, it all-but-confirms Amazon's plans to invade our living rooms with a console of it's very own, bringing the fight straight to the doorstep of Apple TV and other streaming boxes.

READ MORE: Amazon might be working on a Kindle console, but its real target is Apple TV

READ MORE: Is Amazon about to take on Apple TV with its own set-top box?


While Microsoft is unlikely to show off any hardware, it is expected to reveal improvements to SmartGlass in addition to expanding on its plans for multi-screen gaming, which games like The Division make use of to great effect.

Microsoft is also expected to reveal DirectX 12 - the newest version of its Graphics platform.

What this means for Xbox One and PC gamers has yet to be seen, but it can only be good news.

Finally, Xbox Live looks set to get some love with an expansion. Though specific details are thin on the ground, we wouldn't mind a clan system being introduced.

DirectX 12 to bring console-like performance to PCs

Microsoft has unveiled the latest edition of its DirectX API – and has promised that it’ll deliver more efficient, console-like graphics performance on PCs. DirectX 12 offers far better support for multi-core processors, you see: while its predecessor would weight graphics processing unevenly (with a quad-core GPU, for instance, one core would perform the bulk of the work), it spreads the load evenly over all cores. That’s similar to how a console does things, meaning developers should be able to wring better graphical performance out of PCs than was possible with DirectX 11.

Sadly, DirectX 12 won’t be dropping onto your PC anytime soon. Microsoft has pencilled in a full release date of late 2015, although there will be a preview version out later this year and possibly some form of early access program.

[Via PC World]

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