2014 was a great year for gaming, even if it lacked the seismic shifts that come with epic hardware launches. With new gear limited to the likes of PlayStation TV and the PlayStation Vita Slim, the bigger stories saw Sony's PS4 and Microsoft's Xbox One finally hitting their stride, the Nintendo 3DS reclaiming portable glory, amiibo opening another avenue of Nintendo dominance, and the holiday season presenting an unprecedented stream of AAA hits. As far as games and the platforms we play them on go, 2014 was thrilling, if a bit predicable.
2015, however, promises to add a few wild cards into the mix. Whether it be a new wave of VR headsets, Valve making a bigger push for PC gaming, or the newly-released New Nintendo 3DS, you can count on plenty of new ways to game throughout the year. Here's what you need to know, what you can expect, and what we predict will happen throughout the rest of this critical year for consoles, portables, PC, VR and more!
Big buzzwords in 2015
Head-mounted displays - Google Glass may have been shelved by the search engine giant, but the progress of virtual reality headsets remains unimpeded, particularly when it comes to the gaming world. Facebook's incubation and bottomless budget will do wonders for Oculus Rift when it returns to the public eye after nearly a year since the acquisition (as its progress has been under wraps for months), but Microsoft and Sony could encourage greater adoption rates on consoles. PlayStation's Project Morpheus has the potential to release late this year with Sony's many studios at the ready to make killer apps and games. Microsoft's HoloLens may have to wait for Windows 10 to take shape, but given how Microsoft is set to harmonize its computing and gaming ventures, Xbox One integration likely won't take long to solidify after the headset launches.
Radio-Frequency Identification - Nintendo did big business (and frustrated figurine-seeking collectors) this holiday season with the launch of its amiibo, which uses RFID to connect to the Wii U GamePad. They'll only get hotter with new figurine lines and Wii U games to interact with, but the big shift in 2015 will happen when the New Nintendo 3DS provides new platform to push the RFID-enabled toys. Meanwhile, Activision's innovators look to follow up the mix-and-match twist Swap Force brought to Skylanders while Disney Infinity can capitalize on Star Wars by adding the sci-fi franchise to Disney Infinity.
Subscription-based gaming - PlayStation Now may have launched to less-than-stellar reviews, but Sony and Gaikai definitely have larger plans in mind for the service and the concept of subscribing to an a la carte games collection. Nintendo's Virtual Console remains frustratingly sparse, but the recent conclusion of the big N's other digital ventures (Club Nintendo and the Digital Deluxe program) might signal the company's willingness to rethink its streaming strategy.
Remasters - Microsoft and Sony's consoles may celebrate their second birthday this year, but there's still plenty of games from previous generations that publishers are likely to put out with improved visual effects and every bit of DLC in one package. 2015's slate already includes Saint's Row, Borderlands, Devil May Cry, Dead or Alive, and Dark Souls 2, and you can rest assured a few more stragglers from the last few years will make the jump, too.