The 2015 Games Developer Conference (GDC 2015 for short) is one of the biggest video game shows in the world. It may not be as flashy as E3, or as focused as the Tokyo Game Show, but GDC is easily one of the most important conferences of the year.
With a focus on actual hardware, no other expo has the same feel as GDC - sure, there are big game reveals almost every year, but the technology of gaming is clearly the star of the show.
This year, GDC is looking to be absolutely massive: there's a huge focus on virtual reality, next-generation hardware and massive upgrades to some long-running software. There are going to be a ton of new announcements and surprises at GDC, but here's what to look out for:
Virtual Reality As Far As the Eye Can See
If there's any one subject poised to take over all of GDC 2015, it's virtual reality. The fight between Project Morpheus and the Oculus Rift alone is enough to draw a crowd, though it's entirely possible that Microsoft's HoloLens could steal the show. There's also the newly announced SteamVR - that being said, Valve's got plenty up its sleeve this year...
Valve and the Return of Steam Machines
Alright, so they might not be called 'Steam Machines' anymore, but Valve's dedication to an easy-to-use living room device that runs Steam is strong. Valve's been talking about re-debuting its living room hardware, and GDC seems like the right place to do it. Combine that with a live demonstration of its SteamVR headset, and GDC 2015 could belong to Valve.
Microsoft, Windows 10 and Direct X 12
Considering how much of a disaster Windows 8 turned out to be, everyone's hoping for the best when it comes to Windows 10. Microsoft already had a successful demonstration with Windows 10's basic functionality, and now it's time to show off some gaming. A proper DirectX 12 demo would definitely help, and a little bit of HoloLens certainly never hurt anyone. Aside from Valve, there's no other publisher that could dominate the show like Microsoft.
Fancy New Hardware
While the consoles are starting to come into their own, PC gaming is constantly evolving, and GDC could be a big year for the mouse-and-keyboard crowd. AMD has kept quiet about exactly what it'll announce at this year's show, and NVidia has an announcement that's supposedly five years in the making - whether or not the news ushers in the next generation of PC gaming is up in the air, but expect big updates for PC hardware at GDC.
It wouldn't be much of a Games Developer Conference if there weren't any actual games at the show. In recent years, indie developers have flocked to GDC - with all of the big publishers waiting until E3 to make their announcements, smaller studios can get the screen time they deserve. With big indie games like No Man's Sky and Axiom Verge getting closer and closer to release, GDC 2015 could be just as big a year for gaming as it is for the hardware.
There's only a few more days until the show floor opens and reveals its secrets to the world - between virtual reality, new hardware and the games themselves, this year's conference could be the biggest yet.
GDC 2015 begins on Monday, March 2 and ends on Friday, March 6.