Updated: GDC 2014: what to expect from this year’s gaming conference

Thursday, March 13th 2014. | Games News

From March 17- March 21, the San Francisco Moscone Center will play host to thousands of gaming industry professionals, aspiring developers and press alike for the 2014 Game Developers Conference.

Last year’s GDC saw whispers of the PlayStation 4 and hints of the Xbox One, but now with the two major consoles outed, what could GDC 2014 possibly bring to the table?

The short answer? Plenty.

CES 2014 made sure to show off the Steam Machines and we’re betting there will be more face time with each unique box during GDC. We’re also putting our money down on seeing more virtual reality devices, indie games and perhaps sneak peeks of upcoming triple A titles.

For the long answer, check out our list below for more on what we expect to see during the conference.

Valve’s big year to continue

We’ve seen the 13 Steam Boxes from various companies, along with the SteamOS and Steam Controller – but we’ve yet to actually play with the machines themselves.

We’re hoping to see at least one Steam Machine in working order and ready for a full hands on at GDC.

With the latest news that the Controllers are seeing a total redesign, we probably won’t see the latest version up and running, but perhaps Valve will have renderings and mock ups on hand? We can hope.

Will we also see Valve’s virtual reality headset? It made appearances at the recent Steam Dev Days where attendees took it for a spin, but it seems the company has no plans to continue the project … or does it? We’ll find out at the conference.

Update: Valve’s Gabe Newell recently did an AMA on Reddit and teased several juicy details about all things Steam, including news about Half-Life 3 – there is no news.

However, Newell and co. seem to have big plans for Steam Music – as in it might look like Spotify or Pandora. Hopefully GDC will shed more light on it.

Additionally, Valve is still furiously working away on a budget Steam Box.

The engine that powers the Crysis games, CryEngine, is allegedly on its way to Linux – meaning devs working with CryEngine could easily hop on over to the Linux powered SteamOS.

We should be able to find out more during the conference.

The reigning VR champ

Speaking of virtual reality, we’d be remiss to leave out the headset that everyone’s dying to get their hands on – the Oculus Rift.

Only the developer kit is out and we’ve seen the Rift make a lot of progress; the Crystal Cove prototype thankfully includes positional head-tracking and low persistence, both of which help make the virtual reality experience even more immersive and addresses some users’ complaints, including motion blur-induced nausea.

Crystal Cove will most likely be on display at GDC but hopefully the folks at Oculus will have a bit more news to share – like when we’ll be able to dive into gaming at home.

Update: Virtual reality itself is making waves in the tech world; though various forms have been out and about for years now, it’s really starting to take off.

In fact, the Stereoscopic 3D Gaming Alliance has been freshly rebranded as the Immersive Technology Alliance (ITA). Aimed at delivering the magic of virtual reality to the masses, there are more than 20 companies listed including some familiar names – like Oculus VR and Electronic Arts – but also Virtuix, Panasonic, Epson and HDMI.

The ITA will hold a private session on March 18 which we’re attending to make sure you have all the details about the VR world.

Amazon – what?

Amazon console

Yup, Amazon. It’s one of the biggest e-commerce sites, and with the addition of Killer Instinct studio Double Helix, it seems the company wants to be even bigger.

The rumored Amazon console is also looking more and more likely, though it’s doubtful Amazon will actually unveil any hardware next month.

However, it’s possible the company will divulge information on its purchase and maybe reveal some nuggets about its plans for the gaming studio. We can’t imagine it’d pass up the chance to get game developers excited and on board if it’s plans do extend to gaming.

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