E3 2014 predictions from the PC Gamer team

PC Gamer at

The Electronic Three is nigh. Next week, the entire gaming industry will descend on E3 2014, eager for big announcements at flashy press conferences and as many video games as can fit in LA's massive convention center. There will be new PC games and new PC hardware. That's all expected. But what about the unexpected? What E3 announcements will blow our minds? Is this the year Gabe Newell finally walks onto a stage and says "Half-Life 3 is done, and you can play it right now," and we all leave E3 early?

Probably not. As we psyche ourselves up for E3, the PC Gamer staff have made some wild and not-so-wild predictions about Oculus and Steam Machines and the biggest surprises we'll see at this year's show.

Oculus VR hires former Google Glass engineer to work on Rift

Cory Banks at

Oculus VR has been hiring some serious talent for the last few months. It nabbed id Software’s John Carmack last year, then Valve’s virtual reality wizards Michael Abrash and Atman Binstock,  then it hired a founding member of Halo 4 developer 343 Industries, Kenneth Scott, to be its art director on future first-party titles. Now it can add one more name to what must be a huge orientation meeting: former Google Glass engineer Adrian Wong.

John Carmack defends Oculus Rift acquisition: VR is "too obviously powerful" for independence

Ian Birnbaum at

The fury over Oculus VR’s acquisition by social media giant Facebook seems to have fallen to a low simmer as the raw emotion has a chance to cool. Another factor: we don’t really have any more information now than we did the day after the news broke. Aside from Oculus founder Palmer Luckey’s increasingly futile defense on reddit, no one inside the deal has spoken up. Now, development legend John Carmack, who famously left his position at Id software to work as Oculus’s chief technology officer, has spoken up for the first time.

Oculus VR hires Valve VR expert Michael Abrash as chief scientist

Wes Fenlon at

Three days after Oculus announced that it was being purchased by Facebook for $2 billion, the VR company has hired programmer Michael Abrash, who has worked at Valve since 2011. Abrash has been working on Valve's virtual reality technology for the last couple years, and regularly posts deep technical discussions of VR on his blog. Abrash is joining Oculus as Chief Scientist, and in his introductory post on Oculus' website, he cites the Facebook acquisition--and Facebook's deep pockets--as "the final piece of the puzzle" necessary for VR to achieve greatness.

CCP says Facebook acquisition of Oculus Rift won't change plans for EVE: Valkyrie launch

Ian Birnbaum at

There have been a lot of reactions to the purchase of Oculus VR by Facebook in the last 24 hours, much of it polemic and apocalyptic. Our own reactions ranged from guarded optimism to cautious disappointment, while Minecraft creator Notch immediately canned an Oculus-focused version of Minecraft. EVE: Online developer CCP, on the other hand, has expressed support for the purchase and say that release plans for the VR starfighter game EVE: Valkyrie won’t be changing.

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.

Oculus hires former Valve lead VR engineer, ends dev kit sales

Emanuel Maiberg at

Oculus VR, the company behind the Oculus Rift virtual reality goggles, announced that it hired Atman Binstock as its new Chief Architect. We don’t usually report on industry hires, but Binstock was one of the lead engineers at Valve behind the “VR room” we heard so much about during the company’s Steam Dev Days event.

Oculus VR files tradmark for RiftCon as the Rift sells more than 50,000 units

Ian Birnbaum at

Oculus VR, maker of everyone’s favorite virtual reality headset, the Oculus Rift, has filed a trademark for RiftCon, a gathering to “encourage use and development of interactive entertainment, virtual reality, consumer electronics, and video game entertainment software,” according to the US Patent and Trademark Office. We’ve enjoyed checking out the Oculus Rift devkit and Crystal Cove prototype at trade shows, but it looks like Oculus is interested in a show devoted to VR specifically.

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes in this experimental Oculus Rift game

Emanuel Maiberg at

In the the Global Game Jam, independent developers from around the world take 48 hours to make a game. It's a great source for a ton of small projects with big ideas, often gutsy or silly. This year's bounty includes games about shadow puppets, "doing it," and a staggering 4291 other entries. It's impossible to sort through them all, but a game like Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, which uses both the Oculus Rift and the Razer Hydra, is hard to miss.

Palmer Luckey interview: The new Oculus Rift prototype and the future of VR

Cory Banks at

It's safe to say that Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey was exhausted when we sat down at last week's International CES to chat. He'd been in town for eight days, talking to the press and showing the newest Oculus Rift prototype, dubbed "Crystal Cove." The newest headset uses 360 degree positional tracking and low persistence motion blur tech to essentially keep wimps like me from vomiting during use. But even though he was wiped, Luckey still took a few moments to talk to me about the promise of VR for videogames and beyond, the rumors of John Carmack making an Oculus Rift game, and his thoughts PC gaming moving to the living room.

Oculus Rift "Crystal Cove" prototype hands-on at CES 2014

Cory Banks at

That's me, leaning forward in the cockpit during my Oculus Rift demo of EVE: Valkyrie this morning. I'm reading the words printed on a screen to the left side of my cockpit, as my fighter sits in the launch bay. The words were blurred as I reclined in the char, but came into sharp focus as I got closer.

But there's something else, something more subtle happening in that photo: I'm amazed that I haven't thrown up.

PC Gamer's Best of E3 2013

PC Gamer at

Once you got past the spectacle of Microsoft and Sony competing for the honor of delivering the console that promised to annoy gamers the least, it was impossible not to see a fantastic year ahead for PC gamers. Across every genre and from the biggest studios to the greenest fledgling indies we found something on the show floor (an overwhelming arena of animatronic monsters, light shows, and pounding wubwub) to arouse PC gamers of every stripe. So that wasn’t the problem. The tough part was winnowing down the list of nominees for our Best in Show accolades.

Oculus Rift delayed, new design unveiled

Phil Savage at

Shipping of the Oculus Rift has been pushed back, with the Oculus VR team now hoping to get the product into the hands of its Kickstarter backers by March 2013. The reason it missed its planned December release? Turns out it was too popular.

Oculus Rift hands-on video: everything you've heard is true

Owen Hill at

The Oculus Rift is the most exciting peripheral I’ve ever used. This is the virtual reality headset I’ve been dreaming of since I was a little boy; true future tech that will redefine what it means to play games.

I got to demo it running Doom BFG at this year’s Gamescom. Even better, the kind chaps at Oculus let us film the wondrous thing in action, so you get to share in me looking silly but having a truly joyous gaming experience. Click through for the video.