San Jose (CA) - The Game Developers Conference (GDC) will be opening its doors on Wednesday and ring in a big year for the gaming industry: Grown up from an event that consisted of a small group of developers sitting around a dinner table, GDC will shed light on new gaming technologies, games and games hardware for 2006. Here's what to expect from the 2006 conference.
E3, which will take place in Los Angeles from 9-12 May, will be the event to watch, if you are into video gaming, no doubt about it. GDC avoids the big show of now and focuses on developing trends and what's makes the characters in new generation games jump and run. With multiple keynotes, dozens of classes and an exhibit hall that is expected to draw more than 12,000 people we expect key messages to emerge from the 2006 GDC. TG Daily as well as TwitchGuru will be covering the event in detail.
Sony recently has announced a delay of the console into November, so some pressure has disappeared from Sony's shoulders. However, further PS3 details, especially about the technological challenges - including roadblocks caused by Blu-ray - and a few more details about the console and its hardware capabilities are likely to surface. Phil Harrison, president of Sony Computer Entertainment is scheduled to hold a keynote titled "Playstation 3: Beyond the Box," which should have plenty of new information surrounding Sony's console.
But consoles are not just about the PS3 or the Xbox 360; Nintendo will also make an appearance and is expected to unveil information beyond the one-handed controller of the upcoming Revolution console. Nintendo's president, Satoru Iwata will talk about "Disrupting Development" in his keynote speech.
A fair amount of hardware platforms - aside from consoles - is likely to be announced at GDC. Expect new enthusiast PCs graphics chips and broad demonstrations of physics processing. We wouldn't be too surprised if Ageia was able to show off the first retail boards from Asus and BFG as well as some physics accelerations on the PS3. Nvidia already announced its Physics-SLI and certainly will have more than benchmarks to show. It is unclear, if ATI will also be able to provide a first glimpse on dynamic load balancing for its graphics cards and physics capability as a first application for this feature.
Physics on the Playstation 3 is where it gets really interesting. The console will be using Ageia's NovodeX physics API, but how well will it play with Nvidia's graphic's processor and will Nvidia support physics on the PS3 graphics processor? We will be digging deeper into this topic at GDC, as the realistic simulation of a realistic interaction of thousands of objects will become one of the most important topics in the gaming industry in the near future.
Switching gears from the console down to the mobile phone, several companies will be displaying games and hardware, including Sony Ericsson, Nokia and Motorola. Graphics processors and chipsets are powerful enough to run games that challenged PCs two or three years ago. There's even a slight chance that we will see Intel's new Monahans cellphone processor and Shader Model 3 capable mobile graphics chipset in a real world scenario.
Stay tuned for our editorial coverage of GDC.