Every year, thousands of passionate creators descend upon San Francisco to share their best practices and connect with others in the gaming industry. The Games Developers Conference is a unique affair, and frequently the launching point for hardware and software launches which impact the entire industry.
This year was no different, so we're using this space to gather up all of the most important things we saw while wandering the halls of this conference.
Stadia: Game streaming for all
It's been an open secret for a while now that Google was planning on doing something interesting in the gaming world, and the big GDC keynote this year is where we learned about the whole roadmap. Google wants to make a streaming service where you can plan big AAA games on everything from a Chromebook to your phone to a Chromecast connected to your television.
There are some loft goals attached to this service due out this summer, but if Google can pull it off Stadia could be the console-less gaming future many people have been looking for.
Oculus Rift S: The next big thing
Most folks figured Oculus would use this event to talk more about the long awaited Quest standalone headset, which it also did, but we got a surprise new headset announced as well. The Oculus Rift S is, as the name suggests, an upgrade from the Oculus Rift CV1 which has been such a successful force in the VR market over the last couple of years. The big features for this upgrade include ditching the camera system for what is called "inside-out" tracking for increased mobility and an updated controller system.
This headset is expected to drop in the Spring and will have the same $399 price tag as the Oculus Quest, but trust me there will be no problems telling these two headsets apart once you see them on shelves or try them yourself.
Qualcomm's Boundless XR Reference Design
Qualcomm is showing off a reference model for what it would be like to have PC-class VR experiences without a cable tethering you to the computer, and for an early demo it's pretty great. The headset itself uses inside-out tracking with live processing happening inside the headset, while the desktop sends rendered visuals over millimeter wave to the headset.
It's a promising start to what could easily be the next generation of headsets, and Qualcomm already has hardware partners exploring commercial releases based on the technology being shown off here. Personally, I am very excited to see more.
Dozens of great [email protected] titles
Microsoft works closer with indie developers than just about any other company, and uses GDC as an opportunity to showcase some of the best through the [email protected] program. Games ranging from clever roguelikes with a comic book aesthetic to simple party games where you have to dodge everything to survive appear in this showcase, and the folks at Windows Central have a great breakdown of their favorites for you to read more about!
Intel's 9th generation laptop processors are coming
Intel announced six models for its new H-Series processor family, all targeting a wide range of laptops. These Skylake-based processors will come in the usual i5, i7, and i9 flavors when you see them on shelves, with the top of the line boasting 5Ghz clock speed with 16mb of L3 cache.
This higher end model also promises to be fully unlocked, so users will be able to overclock with relative ease depending on the physical and thermal restraints.
Your favorite GDC announcement?
Are you excited about the future of gaming? Was there something we missed? Shout out in the comments!