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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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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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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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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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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Last year was a mixed bag for fans of magical rings and short dudes with a penchant for going barefoot. On the one hand, The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies was a disappointing close to the mediocre second Tolkien film trilogy. On the other, Monolith Games made one of the best pieces of Lord of the Rings-related fare in years in Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor. Its thriving world and "Nemesis System," which has you intimidating, manipulating, and confusing an army of monsters, made it one of the first standout successes on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. We're diving into "The Bright Lord," a brand new downloadable story campaign, on JxE Streams at 4PM ET.

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If you watched Microsoft's announcement of its Hololens augmented reality headset and wondered if you'd play Xbox games with it, well, wonder no longer. Today at its Game Developers Conference presentation, Redmond announced that games would be en route to the device and that the APK should be available come its Build conference late April.

Don't miss out on all the latest from GDC 2015! Follow along at our events page right here.

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The Gallery: Six Elements is a magical fantasy exploration game created by Vancouver Island studio Cloudhead Games for Valve and HTC's new virtual reality headset, the Vive. It includes motion controls and a soundtrack by Elder Scrolls composer Jeremy Soule, and at first glance it's a truly gorgeous 3D, puzzle-solving experience -- the game's first trailer, released today, shows that much. The Gallery was successfully Kickstarted back in April 2013, where it was pitched as an Oculus Rift game. Perhaps sensing a hit, Valve jumped on Cloudhead early on in Vive's development, Creative Director Denny Unger says.

"Valve has been stellar," Unger says. "They brought us into the process very early and genuinely listened to what we had learned about the VR space since its 2013 rebirth. Valve shared a common goal with Cloudhead Games in that they saw a vision for VR that was tantamount to the holodeck. This is the closest we've ever been to breaking down the boundaries and letting users physically step into virtual worlds. It is the fracture point all sci-fi geeks have been waiting for. It's here and its incredible."

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