We were in San Francisco a few weeks ago attending the Game Developers Conference.
It wasn’t our first time at the show, and it certainly won’t be our last, but as also there were plenty of things occupying our minds on the journey home.
What we didn’t realise until we arrived was that 2016 marked GDC’s 30th birthday – amazing.
And while the technology we use in our industry is unrecognisable to what was on show 30 years ago the people, thankfully, are a familiar constant. In fact, this year set new records for attendance, with 27,000 delegates passing through GDC’s doors.
It certainly felt like a busy show and not just in terms of numbers. The big news announcements came thick and fast – lots of engine updates and new tools – while the conference sessions set out the industry agenda.
The standout theme across both was clear – VR is here and now and, while it faces some short-term challenges, it’s clearly going to play a key role in future of games and the wider entertainment world.
After so much hearsay and speculation, Sony used GDC to reveal the launch date and pricing for its PlayStation VR offering (October 2016, $399/£349/£399) and confirmed that 230 developers are working on VR content for its platform, which joins Oculus Rift and Valve’s HTC Vive.
The buzz around Sony’s news was carried into the VRDC conference sessions, which were massively over-subscribed.
Listening to the conference speakers and walking around the show floor with our Testronic hats on, it was clear that the wider VR ecosystem is starting to find its feet. In particular, this new medium is bringing with it new QA challenges.
Put simply, testing VR games goes way beyond checking for bugs and compatibility; there’s a huge focus on the user experience.
Like most publishers and developers, we at Testronic have been working on VR strategies for some time now - the opening of our new VR Test Centre in Warsaw represents the culmination of our research into this exciting new world.
I’m already excited about what the VR world is going to look like a year from now at GDC 2017 – we’re going to have lots of hardware in the market and some awesome content to play through it.
Coming away from San Francisco it felt like our industry is, quite literally, entering a new phase of development, which means there is a lot for us all to learn.
And that’s what GDC is all about really – learning, sharing and being inspired to support our customers as they break new ground.