The 2016 Game Developers conference, or GDC for short, is a wrap for now, and we bid farewell to the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, Calif.
This week, we saw the future of gaming, and it can be summed up in two words: virtual reality. We went hands on with the consumer-ready versions of Oculus Rift and Sony PlayStation VR, plus got a status check on HTC Vive. We tried VR experiences of every stripe, and learned that while there's a lot of promise for the still-nascent tech, there are plenty of problems standing in its way.
But that wasn't all, not by a long shot. Check out our complete coverage below, and head on to Page 2 to see if what we expected to see at this year's show came to be. Until next year!
Day Four: Play time
The big hit of the show was virtual reality, and especially the PlayStation VR. We found out how much it will cost and when it's releasing. Let's just say, the PS VR price was music to our ears.
Day Three: Game on
GDC is buzzing with developers eager to try the latest hardware - the lines are long for every VR booth - and, alternately, show us what they've been working on.
We started the day with the announcement that Witcher 3 won the top prize at the show's game awards, then learned what it takes to make a game that people will play for 30 years.
Our hands on reviews with the Oculus Rift consumer version and PlayStation VR are also updated with our impressions from GDC, so check those out if you're thinking of taking the VR plunge.
- The Witcher 3 wins the top prize at GDC 2016 game awards
- How do you make a game that people will play for 30 years? Crayons and Buddhism
- Nacon reckons it's made the world's first eSports-ready controller
- Updated Oculus Rift hands on review
- Updated PlayStation VR hands on review
And we've been putting up some whacky show floors sites on Instagram - check it out!
Day Two: we see every Oculus Rift launch game
The Oculus Rift may be an expensive piece of kit, but you haven't seen the games yet. Luckily for you, techradar news editor Michelle Fitzsimmons has, and color her impressed.
"I left the Oculus Rift GDC event thrilled for the headset," Fitzsimmons writes. "Neither it nor the games were absolutely perfect, but it was more than enough to convince me that I want one, and there will be plenty of content for me to choose from once I get it."
That sure sounds like a solid first impression. Particularly, Radial G: Racing Evolved looks like the VR F-Zero game we've always wanted, and the opportunity to go into space in VR will be tough to pass up. Read the rest of our coverage below:
- Intel reveals its virtual reality headset plans or, rather, lack thereof
- Here's exactly what PlayStation VR's mysterious black box does
- The Razer Core GPU box costs more than most graphics cards
- I used a lightsaber to fight Stormtroopers in VR, and it was superb
- Every Xbox One game could eventually have a tournament element
- Microsoft lays out its plan to unify Windows 10 and Xbox One
- MSI's Vortex is the Mac Pro for PC gamers
- Palmer Luckey tells us why Oculus is not trying to be Nintendo
- This is every Oculus Rift game that will be available at launch
- Here's how you can pre-order PlayStation VR
- Minecraft is coming to Samsung Gear VR
Day One: PlayStation VR's price is revealed
The story of the day, and probably of all week, is the PlayStation VR price. It will call for $399, which is honestly the most that Sony could get away with having it require a $350 box to play it.
It's the most affordable, but least powerful, of the big three VR headsets, and it releases sometime this October. That gives Oculus Rift and HTC Vive a huge head start, but none of that matters: Sony has an install base of some 30 million and a much lower barrier to entry.
It's going to be an interesting holiday season, that much is for sure. Read the rest of our coverage below:
- Want to be a game maker? Unity's developer certification launches for cheap
- Razer's latest Blade looks like the future of 4K gaming laptops
- Ubisoft is making an Assassin's Creed VR 'experience' to tie-in with the film
- Nvidia thinks its latest offering takes games closer to reality
Day Zero: the first fully independent VR headset appears
The "first day" of GDC saw the unveiling of the Sulon Q, the first VR headset to be entirely free of wires and a required PC to play. It's packing AMD technology inside and doubles as an augmented reality (AR) viewer with outward-facing cameras.
While not as powerful as its PC-beholden brethren, the battery pack strapped to the back of your skull means that you can use this thing literally anywhere. It's even running on Windows 10 inside, with some interesting AR applications of the operating system.
Sulon, a startup supported by AMD, is already where we want to see every VR headset go – free of wires – and takes that one step further. That's quite a bold move for what's technically VR's first true year of existence. Read the rest of our coverage below:
- Twitch's new browser games have broadcasters and viewers clashing more than usual
- AMD Radeon Pro Duo aims to spark VR content creation worldwide
- Want to try an Android game before you buy? Now you can
Now, head on over to Page 2 to see what we thought was going to happen at GDC 2016, and tell us just how wrong (or right?) we were in the comments.
Joe Osborne also contributed to this article