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Currently, the HTC Vive is the only virtual reality headset that's part of Valve's Steam VR push. That's not because it's the only one, but because it's the only one we know about thus far. "You should think of the Vive as the first in the same way there are multiple Steam Machines," Valve president Gabe Newell told me this morning. In other words, Steam VR is an open platform supported by Valve. "We're building tools and hopefully they're valuable to hardware partners who want to do it. In some cases, we'll take the leadership role in shipping stuff. But we're really just building tools for other people to continue. So you'll see more headsets."

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Google Ireland

It's no secret that the US government wants companies to bring more of their offshore profits back home for the sake of taxes, and it's now exceptionally clear as to why. Bloomberg has sifted through financial filings and discovered that the top eight American tech firms, including Apple, Google and Microsoft, are keeping more than $420 billion overseas -- $69 billion of it added in just the past year. That's over a fifth of the $2.1 trillion held abroad by American companies, and would easily cover a lot of government expenses. A tax on Microsoft's recent profits alone ($29.6 billion) would cover NASA and the Commerce Department for a year; Apple ($23.3 billion) could take care of the Transportation Department and Social Security, and Oracle could foot the bill for the Labor Department.

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The studio that created SimCity and The Sims is no more. Today, EA confirmed that it will shut down Maxis Emeryville, displacing the folks primarily responsible for the aforementioned titles. In a statement, EA said that it'll relocate Maxis' development to its other offices in Redwood Shores, Salt Lake City, Helsinki and Melbourne. The company plans to move forward with projects already in the works, including a The Sims 4 expansion pack and on-going support for the existing The Sims and SimCity faithful. Those two are massively popular PC titles, and the latter finally arrived on Mac in 2013 with players everywhere encountering a truckload of launch issues.

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Lasers have staggering range, can attack land or air-based targets and are dirt-cheap to fire, making them ideal for a military with one eye on the budget. Now, Lockheed Martin has worked out that the technology could also be used for stopping a car without resorting to lethal force. The company has been testing out a new fiber-optic laser, called ATHENA, which was able to burn through the engine manifold of a truck that was over a mile away.

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NVIDIA just announced the Titan X, its latest powerhouse graphics card, at Epic Game's GDC session this morning. And boy, it sounds like a monster: According to NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang, it's now the world's most powerful GPU with more than 8 billion transistors (a bit of a jump from the 7 billion in last year's Titan Z). Titan X is powered by the company's new Maxwell architecture, and it packs in 12 gigabytes of VRAM, just like the Titan Z. NVIDIA isn't revealing much else about the new GPU yet -- it has its own conference in a few weeks, after all -- but at this point it sounds like the video card we'll all be pining for this year.

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I spent roughly 10 minutes with the final Steam Controller at GDC 2015, playing snippets of Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, The Talos Principle and Unreal Tournament on various Steam Machines. The body of the controller is wonderful to hold. Two long, clickable pads running along the backside of the handles, right where a player's middle and ring fingers lie, would be a welcome addition to any existing gamepad. Plus, the final controller adds a single analog stick on the left side. This makes the design more familiar overall, but with a trackpad replacing a second analog stick, the final Steam Controller remains what it always has been: awkward.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Steam Machines. Maybe you've heard of them. They're Valve's oft-talked about, rarely seen in the wild solution for streaming PC games to the fancy HDTV in your living room. And at GDC this week, the company brought us closer to the promise of that commercial reality with a display of all the various units you're likely to see hit retail by November of this year. As Gabe Newell told us, the variety of Steam Machines on offer, from the low-end $50 Link to the premium $5,000 FalconNW Tiki, present a "good, better, best choice for consumers." But enough talk -- I know you just want to see the goods. So check out the gallery below for a trio of the Steam Machines Mr. Newell demoed for us, as well as a video just after the break showcasing an expanded selection coming later this year.

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Claude Zellweger

The story of HTC's recent fortunes is one of the more bizarre tales in modern technology. What other company releases award-winning flagship after award-winning flagship, only to see revenues and market share drop? For a while, HTC's phones truly stood out in terms of design and build quality (since 2012 there's been the One X, the One M7 and the One M8). The One M9 represents another iterative step forward for HTC, in a product cycle that has (debatably) seen rivals Apple and Samsung make huge leaps forward. But it's not all doom and gloom. Even if the M9 is being mooted as a potential miss, the Vive, its new virtual reality headset, is perhaps the biggest hit of the show. I sat down with the man at the heart of everything HTC does, chief designer Claude Zellweger, to discuss the company's direction, the M9 and its entry into VR.

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Peter Dinklage in Game of Thrones season 5

Wondering how much HBO's hyped-up standalone streaming service will cost you when it (hopefully) arrives this April? Considerably more than your Netflix subscription, it seems. The International Business Times hears that the internet-only offering, reportedly called HBO Now, will set you back $15 per month. That's not extravagant (your TV provider, if you have one, is paying roughly as much behind the scenes), but it reflects the company's view that this is a premium product.

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Valve president Gabe Newell at GDC 2015

Among the handful of announcement Valve made at this year's Game Developers Conference was a subtle and hugely important one: Lighthouse. What in the world is Lighthouse? It's the "base stations" referenced in Valve's VR headset announcement, and it's even more important than the incredibly impressive headset. Valve president Gabe Newell compares it to USB and expects it to fundamentally change how people interact with virtual reality. "Now that we've got tracking, then you can do input," Newell said in an interview with Engadget this morning. "It's a tracking technology that allows you to track an arbitrary number of points, room scale, at sub-millimeter accuracy 100 times a second."

What that means for me and you is that Lighthouse puts your body into the virtual world with stunning precision. I tested it and can confirm: holy shit, yes, this really works. Want to reach out and touch something in VR? Lighthouse is how you'll do it.

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