I replayed the first 30 minutes of Rise of the Tomb Raider the other day. In it, I scaled a mountain, leaping from platform to platform while the environment around me crumbled. I then headed into a tomb, worked through a few puzzles, and triggered a high-octane escape sequence. A year ago, I enjoyed those opening moments immensely. After playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, though, they felt lifeless and stale.
They may not be on the same scale as the Oscars, but the Game Developers Choice Awards and Independent Games Festival Awards are happening tonight in San Francisco. The events are going to be hosted by Double Fine CEO Tim Schaefer and Tacoma Games' Nina Freeman, respectively, in an evening where the best AAA and indie developers will be recognized for their work. Will Super Mario Run win the award for Best Mobile/Handheld Game? Tune in to find out at 6:30PM PT/9:30PM ET; there's a livestream below, otherwise you can go to the GDC's Twitch or YouTube page.
Last year, Microsoft revealed that it would be opening up its Windows Holographic Platform to other hardware manufacturers, and at CES, we got to take a look at a few different Windows VR headsets. At GDC 2017, Microsoft revealed yet more plans for its mixed reality platform. While its headsets are strictly for the PC for now, they would soon be coming to the Xbox -- as well as Project Scorpio -- in 2018.
When the dust settled on the Nintendo Switch's reveal event, fans started to crunch the numbers, and they didn't like what they found. Despite launching with a new Legend of Zelda game and padding out the spring and summer months with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Splatoon 2, the fledgling console's launch lineup looked bleak. Today, they can breathe a sigh of relief: The company tells Engadget that more than 60 indie titles are heading to the eShop before the end of the year, and more than a few of them are Nintendo Switch exclusives. In fact, I played a bunch of them at Nintendo's GDC 2017 software showcase. Spoiler alert: They're all kind of great.
We're just a few weeks away from the one-year anniversary of Oculus shipping the Rift to consumers, so now would be a good time for the company to drop some news. And here it is. Starting today, Oculus will begin selling Rift and Touch bundles on its store for $598 -- about a $200 price cut. On their own, the Rift headset is now $499 while the Touch controllers are $99, meaning that each saw a price drop of $100. Oh, and the cost of an extra Oculus sensor is now $59, which is $20 less than before.
Epic Games has a reputation for bringing bizarre demos to its GDC keynotes. The company loves to show developers what Unreal Engine can do, not just in gaming but other genres as well. As such, Epic Games has now demoed "Project Raven," which makes it possible for content creators to blend real-time visual effects with live-action shots. The technology, created in partnership with Chevrolet and video production company The Mill, was designed to convey the promise of high-end augmented reality.
The launch of Nintendo's very hyped (and very strange) Switch is only a couple of days away. And we're only just now getting our first look at its digital storefront the Switch eShop. If you've touched an electronic device at all in the last few years, the interface should seem pretty familiar. It's clean and simple, with sidebar shortcuts for search, new and upcoming releases and a place to enter download codes. On the right games are listed as a grid of cards with cover art and prices. It's not all that different from any other app store really, and looks quite a bit like the Google Play store. And you'll find most of the features you'd expect from a modern console -- like a wishlist and the ability to download games in sleep mode -- baked in.
Unity already had its moment at GDC 2017, and now it's Epic Games' turn to take the stage in San Francisco. The company's "State of Unreal" keynote will be presented by founder Tim Sweeney, who is expected to share new developments around the Unreal game engine. We'll probably also hear about Epic's latest efforts in virtual reality and get some captivating demos from its partners, like the Hellblade real-time motion capture from last year. You can watch the event live at 9:30AM PT/12:30PM ET -- we embedded a video of the stream below for your convenience.