Facebook buys Oculus VR — PC Gamer debates the pros and cons

PC Gamer at

Less than two years ago, we were describing the Oculus as something that began as a “garage project.” Today, Facebook has bought Oculus VR for $2 billion in stock and cash, surprising all and horrifying some. Here in the PC Gamer office, we all have our own theories and thoughts on what Facebook’s involvement means for the future of VR gaming—and how the deal will impact PC gaming as a whole. Here are our reactions to the Oculus purchase, written shortly after the deal was announced.

Notch cancels Minecraft Oculus Rift deal: "Facebook creeps me out"

Cory Banks at

The news that Facebook will acquire Oculus VR for $2 billion in a combined cash/stock deal has, understandably, taken over the internet. Everyone on Twitter is posting reactions—some are excited, many are shocked, and almost everyone is surprised. Mojang's Markus "Notch" Persson has weighed in on the news by canceling talks for an upcoming, official version of Minecraft for the Oculus Rift.

Facebook to buy Oculus VR for $2 billion

Tyler Wilde at

Facebook has reached a "definitive agreement" to buy Oculus VR for around $2 billion. Oculus is the clear leader in virtual reality headsets—only recently challenged by Sony's Project Morpheus—and though it hasn't yet released a consumer product, the company announced last week that the second version of its Oculus Rift Development Kit will ship this summer.

The best (and strangest) EverQuest Next Landmark creations

Tim Clark at

On Wednesday SOE will take EverQuest Next Landmark out of alpha and into closed beta, in the process taking a wrecking ball to the painstaking creations of its users so far. (The reason you haven't seen an angry petition is 1) this was always the deal, and 2) the users get to keep templates of the stuff they've made.) What better time, then, to look back at the weird and wonderful creations that the community has built so far. Beginning with this AT-AT homage made by Pharoso Fluoroso.

Smite launches out of beta, asks you to punch gods in the face

Omri Petitte at

The MOBA genre already has colossal communities in both League of Legends and Dota 2, but what's missing is an arena where the greatest gods of mythology toss magic fireworks at each other and roast a couple thousand mortal minions. Enter Smite, Hi-Rez Studios' free-to-play god-on-god rumbler, which launches in full today after a lengthy beta period and is available for all to download on its official website.

Valve explains how CS:GO became the second most-played game on Steam

Evan Lahti at

One of three talks Valve delivered at the Game Developers Conference last week was “Building the Content that Drives the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Economy,” a session by Technical Artist Bronwen Grimes. Grimes’ presentation mainly focused on how Valve developed its method for mostly-automating the creation of new weapon skins that roll out regularly in updates like Operation Phoenix and Winter Offensive.

Vlambeer's Luftrausers turns a profit in three days, after almost three years in development

Patrick Carlson at

Post-launch comments from indie game designers often get right to the heart of what's at stake for them during the development process. After the March 18 release of Vlambeer's aerial shooter Luftrausers, the devs took to Twitter two days later and put the game's apparently successful release in perspective.

Nvidia announce GeForce GTX Titan Z, brings 12GB VRAM for $3,000

Phil Savage at

Nvidia are currently on-stage at the GPU Technology Conference (think GDC for people who really love cores). They've just announced the GeForce GTX Titan Z, a $3,000 dual-Keplar GPU graphics card that can supercharge PCs with a total of 5,760 processing cores, and 12GB frame buffer memory. To my untrained eye, then, it essentially sounds like two Titan Blacks duct taped together. I'm sure that in practice it's a little bit more complicated.

Assassin's Creed: Unity sneak peek footage is "in-game," not a cinematic, according to Ubisoft

Patrick Carlson at

A big draw for the Assassin's Creed series has always been the setting. Whether in ancient Rome, Jerusalem, or the pirate-city of Nassau, the look of the world helps make the game's sometimes strange mix of alternate history and sci-fi a bit more comfortable. With the upcoming Assassin's Creed: Unity taking place in revolutionary France, it's a great to hear the game's first released footage is truly "in-game," according to Ubisoft.

The Rift Report: exploring the solar system, interactive art, and virtual reality Zelda

Andy Kelly at

Every Tuesday Andy straps on the Oculus Rift and dives headfirst into the world of virtual reality in the Rift Report. Is it really the future of PC gaming? Let’s find out.

So the new HD Rift development kit has been revealed, and it’ll cost you a princely $350 to buy. We don’t have one yet (don’t worry, we will), and the low-res screen of the first devkit is looking pretty pathetic compared to the dazzling high-res screen that Sam tried at GDC. But I’m still enjoying the original model, and a slightly blurry screen doesn’t diminish the power of the Rift for me.

Galactic Civilizations 3 trailer appears ahead of this week's alpha release

Phil Savage at

There's a good chance you've seen a game trailer before. Inevitably it will have featured: a) some explosions, b) mild peril, and c) a soundtrack that honks like a steamboat fighting Aphex Twin. None of which is really possible when demoing a 4X strategy. Galactic Civilizations 3 is further handicapped by being set in space, meaning it can't even flash a bit of tantalising terrain at the viewer. Nevertheless, the follow up to the excellent GalCiv 2 is unveiling its first footage, and, if you're of the right frame of mind, it's still pretty sexy.

Ken Levine outlines his system for replayable narrative in games

Tom Francis at

Ken Levine's been working on what he calls 'linear narratives' for 19 years, most recently in BioShock Infinite. In February, his studio Irrational closed and Levine left to start a new game with a smaller team, focusing on making something story-driven but replayable. At the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco on Friday, he gave a talk to explain what he means by that, and to lay out the basics of a system he thinks might be able to achieve it.

Battlefield 4: Naval Strike DLC delayed on PC; "quality is our number one priority," say DICE

Phil Savage at

As Naval Strike sets sail on consoles today, the PC version of Battlefield 4's latest DLC is being held back in the dock. DICE have announced that the expansion's launch is being delayed for an indeterminate amount of time, while they work to fix "an issue" that "needs to be solved".

Rollercoaster Tycoon 4 on PC will be "completely different" to mobile, Atari say

Phil Savage at

A new Rollercoaster Tycoon is coming to mobile and PC. This may or may not be a good thing. I've got my concerns, largely based on the type of games Atari are interested in (as revealed in a recent revenue report). But, as unappealing as the mobile version's trailer looked, we don't yet know any solid details about the PC release.

Now, Atari have at least confirmed that mobile and PC versions will be distinctly different. "We can't share that much, but [PC] will definitely be a completely different game," Anthony Chien, Atari's senior director of marketing, said in an interview with Digital Spy.

The Elder Scrolls Online launch times announced

Phil Savage at

When will you be able play The Elder Scrolls Online? Really, that depends on a couple of factors. The most important is if you're planning to buy it, because, if not, there's a pretty easy answer to the question. Assuming that you are, things are a little more complicated. During a Reddit AMA for ESO, Bethesda posted times and dates for when they plan to fling open the gates to the online Tamriel.

Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea episode two review

Phil Savage at

A lot happens in the opening moments of Burial at Sea: Episode 2. You'll meander through a Disneyfied version of Paris, one that's a garlic garland short of full stereotype; be threatened by Atlas back in the post-Episode 1 version of Rapture; and discuss pseudo-quantum science with an incorporeal Booker. As a concentrated dollop of Bioshock lore, it's alienating but also strangely liberating. Halfway through Infinite, we started to jump the infini-sharks, now the game is willing its players to give in and enjoy the view.

Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls review in progress

Leif Johnson at

I can’t recall a gaming villain who looks as imposing as Reaper of Souls’ Malthael but leaves so weak an impression. He pops in and out as the narrative unfolds, spouting a few threatening lines before evaporating in a mist of gloom, and thus he recalls Blizzard's similar treatment of Arthas Menethil during World of Warcraft's Wrath of the Lich King expansion. But at least Arthas had the benefit of years of accumulated lore to support his cameos. The star of but one act, Malthael is never around long enough to make us care about his grumbles.

Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India interview: new religions, tiger hunting, and war elephants

T.J. Hafer at

Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India releases this Tuesday, expanding the map of Paradox's medieval strategy sandbox to central Asia and the Indian subcontinent. Not one to venture into strange, new lands unprepared, I met with CK2 lead designer Henrik Fåhraeus to learn everything there was to know about what lies in wait with this expansion. We talked about historical accuracy, India's religions and castes, and more. If you promise not to plot my untimely death, you can share in my findings below.

Why Manveer Heir's attack on stereotypes in games was the most important moment of GDC 2014

Tom Senior at

Bioware Montreal developer Manveer Heir received a standing ovation at GDC this week for his speech challenging the prevalence of lazy, reductive stereotypes in games. He implored the industry to "stop being so scared", and start making games with more diverse characters in an effort to "reject stereotypes as a social responsibility to mankind".

The speech formed one part of this year's advocacy series of presentations, which explored problematic issues in gamer culture and the industry at large. The clarity and passion of Heir's speech in particular proved a stand-out moment, not just because of the issues at stake, but because of his mature, reasoned approach to stimulating debate around the depiction of gender, race and sexuality in games.

4K Screenshot Showcase: Battlefield 3

PC Gamer at

Every Monday, keen screen-grabber Ben Griffin brings you a sumptuous 4K resolution gallery to celebrate PC gaming's prettiest places.

For all their faults and successes, you can't say DICE make ugly games. The Frostbite engine, over its many iterations, has excelled at modelling the destruction and chaos of big-budget militaristic entertainment. It eschews pure realism for a cinematic set-up, and uses lighting and post-processing to cast the player as the game's action hero - even in multiplayer, where their lives can be measured in minutes. To fully appreciate what the engine can do, here are 20 super high-res shots that beautifully show every gun-metal glint and flare of the lens.