It's a dog-eat-dog world, and the tech industry is no exception. Given the break-neck speed of innovation, today's game changers are tomorrow's dinosaurs. It takes dogged determination to stand out in a crowded market, and as always we're turning to you to determine the latest winners and losers. That's right, it's time to nominate the best and worst technological advancements of 2014. We've given you a head start with a few suggestions, but feel free to write in your own in the ballots below. You don't have to make nominations in every category, but selections should be for products available in 2014. Nominations close Wednesday, March 11th at 11:59PM ET.

So, who has what it takes to be best in show? We'll announce the winners during a very special awards ceremony on March 25th. Let's just say the competition is rrrrruff ...

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

It usually takes millions of dollars, a decade and hundreds of developers to create a single massively multiplayer online (MMO) game. This is the standard in the gaming industry. Smaller studios generally don't have the resources to create huge, persistent games, and larger ones have shut down and bankrupted entire states while trying to craft MMO worlds. A lot of the hurdles in building MMOs lie within the supporting tech -- running servers that handle complex mechanics 24/7/365, maxing those out and buying more, all while solving problems of latency and persistence. Making the worlds feel real for all players, at all times.

Improbable, a streamlined brand of server technology, solves many of these problems. Take Dean Hall, creator of the massively popular online survival game DayZ, for example. In a blog post, Hall posits that the industry is on the cusp of a new era: "Last year, I met a company called Improbable. My first meeting with Herman Narula, the CEO from Improbable, was one of the most surreal I ever had. The technology I had always wanted and tried to make was finally here. ... Working on my first Improbable game is the most exhilarating thing I have ever done."

And that comes from a man who recently climbed Mount Everest.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

Nintendo's digital store is beefing up with some top-notch independent titles in the coming months, and the company showed off a few familiar games during a presentation at GDC 2015. We're talking games headed to the Wii U eShop that have already launched on other platforms, including Klei Entertainment's Tim Burton-esque survival game, Don't Starve: Reign of Giants, Young Horses' PS4 launch title Octodad: Dadliest Catch and the beautiful, educational platformer Never Alone from Upper One Games. Our list below includes the freshly announced Wii U games and a bit of information about each one, so you can make platform decisions in peace.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

I did not get motion sickness when I demoed Sony's new and improved Project Morpheus VR headset at GDC this week in San Francisco. And that's saying a lot considering my sweaty outcome at a private E3 demo last year. But I did get somewhat hurt while using it. Blame it on the shark. I banged my head into a wall while whimpering and trying to avoid the jaws of a menacing virtual version of, well, Jaws. It's proof that compelling VR is powerful; powerful enough to send you slamming into nearby walls with a smile plastered on your face.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

Greg Zeschuk, the man that co-founded BioWare and shepherded the development of now classic franchises like Mass Effect and Dragon Age, left the gaming industry for good more than two years ago. Yet, despite that apparent retirement, he was back on the show floor at GDC in San Francisco to show off Biba, one of his many part-time side projects. Don't worry. Zeschuk's main passion remains beer, beer and more beer. But he's also committed to using his influence and financial resources for more altruistic endeavors.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

Rare Ltd., the storied game developer Microsoft bought off Nintendo for a hefty sum at the beginning of the century, has started to stir again. After years of developing poorly received motion-control games like Kinect Sports, all while members of the original staff left for other studios, rumors were swirling that the team will return to its classic series from the '90s. Conker, the foul-mouthed star of Conker's Bad Fur Day on Nintendo 64, actually popped up as a guest star in Xbox One game creator Project Spark. Just today a Reddit poster, verified as a former Microsoft employee, said that the company has been trying to get a new Conker game off the ground for some time. No time like the present to dig into Conker: Live & Reloaded for the original Xbox on JxE Streams.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

Nobuo Uematsu is distinguished amongst game soundtrack composers not just because of his work for Squaresoft in the '80s and '90s or his lustrous mustache. He's one of the few songwriters responsible for the way video games sound across the board, influencing other creators over 30 years. Square's Final Fantasy series, on which Uematsu was sole or primary composer for the first 10 games, molded how storytelling in games should sound. The synthesized minor key melody of series theme "Prelude," the ambient wash of Final Fantasy VII's "Opening/Bombing Mission," and hundreds of other songs are landmarks in gaming's aural landscape.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

Remember way back in 2009? Times were simpler then: Pittsburgh's Steelers were Super Bowl champions; Tiger Woods was caught having an affair; and I was playing a lot of Rock Band. You probably were too. Many millions of you were, anyway, and the plastic peripheral market was booming. In a few short years, the world went from zero to dozens of plastic guitars, keyboards, mics and drums per household, all in the name of games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero. House parties quickly turned into Rock Band parties with surprising frequency. It was only another few short years before those games, and the peripherals they required, fell off a cliff. That was 2010, when Rock Band 3 launched.

It's been five years, and the world is apparently ready for more Rock Band. The folks behind the original Guitar Hero and Rock Band franchises are back in the development seat and bringing Rock Band 4 to Xbox One and PlayStation 4 later this year.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

0

It's been a long road from where Valve started with VR. It was only a few shorts years ago that the company was letting select industry folk demo prototype VR hardware in its QR code-laden "Room." And now, Valve has its own consumer-facing VR headset, the HTC Vive; its own controller that looks like the space opera version of Sony's Move wand; and a positional-based tracking solution in Lighthouse VR. None of this has exactly caught us off guard -- Valve was always cagey when it came to questions of commercial hardware. But we weren't prepared for just how impressive the combination of all the VR tech truly is. In fact, our own Ben Gilbert called it the "best VR" he's experienced to date.

It's only fair, then, that Valve would want to look back on its own journey pioneering VR. And look back it did with a timeline of prototypes and R&D breakthroughs it had on display here at GDC. Care to take that walk down Valve's memory lane? Then treat yourself to the gallery below and be sure to head past the break for a video tour.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

If the news of Xbox games coming to HoloLens and Elite: Dangerous hitting Xbox One this summer wasn't nearly enough, Microsoft has a few other tidbits to share from this year's Game Developers Conference. First up: Redmond is bringing the Xbox Live SDK to Windows 10. It's part of the universal apps push that the outfit's making with its new operating system, and will give game developers of any size access to a "vast majority" of Xbox Live's services. It wouldn't be the first time Microsoft's done something like this, but let's hope it doesn't turn into another disaster like Games for Windows Live was. The post on Xbox Wire also mentions there will be a new tier of the company's online gaming service coming as well that specifically allows "any developer to engage with the Xbox Live community." We've reached out for clarification of exactly what that translates to.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

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."

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

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.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

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 Falcon NW 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.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

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.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

Valve president Gabe Newell at GDC 2015

Among the handful of announcements 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.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments