PlayStation VR

Photo by Road to VR

In years past, GDC has been an anual milestone for PSVR. It was the place where the headset was first revealed (back then called “Project Morpheus”), and at GDC in the years following the company showed the progress it had made on the headset right up until its launch in October 2016. With the headset now on the market for 1.5 years, PSVR 2 seems to be drawing nearer to the horizon, but it isn’t entirely clear how long the company will wait until overhauling its VR hardware. Given how expensive the headset is (more costly than the console that runs it), we expect Sony to extend the headset’s lifespan as long as they reasonably can, otherwise they risk making it obsolete too early, and potentially angering their core VR early adopters.

This year at GDC, Sony doesn’t appear to be hosting a PlayStation VR press event, as they have done in years past, so we don’t expect to hear anything about a PSVR 2. We’re also not expecting to hear any major first-party VR game reveals until closer to E3 this Summer. Sony will have a sizeable 6,000 square foot booth at the event, but it isn’t clear how much of it will be dedicated to VR compared to other PlayStation ventures.


Despite what seems like a muffled GDC for PlayStation VR this year, Sony is hosting a sponsored session dedicated to the device, titled Developing on PS VR: You Are Not Alone. While this session is focused on exploring the ways that Sony’s SIEA Developer Technology Group can help developers who are making content for PSVR, they seemed to have missed the alternative interpretation of the session’s title.

Curiously, the session also promises a “special treat”—Richard Foster from Sony’s R&D West team will be on hand to “share some ‘proof of concepts’ and experiments they are conducting with PS VR.” We expect those experiments to be largely software-based, so don’t expect hardware development news, but it still sounds interesting nonetheless.

Magic Leap

Image courtesy Magic Leap

After years of teasing, Magic Leap late last year finally offered a glimpse of the AR headset it’s been developing, the Magic Leap One. Details on what the headset can actually do are still light, but in a sponsored session at GDC, four of the company’s top creatives are promising to offer a “deep dive on developing for spatial computing,” which could reveal more about how the device’s capabilities apply to game design. Indeed, the company’s CEO is happy to tease:

As for the session, in past presentations, Magic Leap has managed to talk about spatial computing game design while steering completely clear of actually talking about the product they’re building. This time around, with the company’s headset at least revealed on paper, we’re hoping Magic Leap’s GDC session will offer more substantive information about the headset’s capabilities as a medium for game design.

Update: Weta's Concept First-person Shooter is Really Coming to Magic Leap One

It’s significant that this is a GDC “sponsored session,” as it means Magic Leap paid for the opportunity to share the information with GDC attendees (as opposed to standard sessions which are unpaid and go through a selection process). There’s a chance this means they have a more specific goal in mind for the session beyond simply waxing about the possibilities of AR in general.

The price and precise launch date of the Magic Leap One headset is still unknown, and we don’t expect that GDC will be the place that information will be revealed, given the company’s atypical approach to marketing.


LG made a surprise reveal of a new SteamVR headset at GDC last year. Boasting higher resolution displays than the Vive, and an interesting ergonomic design, it promised to be the Vive’s first direct competitor on SteamVR. We went hands-on with the LG headset at the time, but since then the company has been incredibly tight lipped. Aside from a trademark sighting suggesting the headset could be called “UltraGear,” there’s been almost no new info gleaned about the headset.

Back when it was revealed, the headset’s specs and design could have put it ahead of the pack. But one year on, with the Vive Pro about to launch with an even higher resolution and improved ergonomics, the LG headset’s unique value proposition seems to be fading fast, unless it has significantly evolved since then (or can outprice the Vive Pro).

That makes GDC 2018 feel like a make-or-break moment for LG’s SteamVR headset—if the company still isn’t ready to even mention the headset during GDC, we can only imagine that the project may have changed course or scope at some point over the last year. It’s possible that the company has opted to wait for the Google and LG VR display project to mature, but hard to say. Consider this one a wildcard as far as an appearance at GDC is concerned.


Windows VR

Image courtesy Microsoft

Windows VR headsets launched from a slew of Microsoft partners late last year, but so far the platform doesn’t seem to be generating much enthusiasm from VR early adopters or developers, even as the headsets are seeing steep discounts.

At GDC, Microsoft is hoping to court developers toward their “Mixed Reality” platform, in a sponsored session titled Garnering the Best Performance and Integrating the Unique Features of Windows Mixed Reality:

In this session Microsoft will discuss the tips and tricks on how to create or convert an existing VR application to leverage the unique features of WMR and maximize performance. The session will focus on the best practices obtained from the 10/17 launch titles for WMR. Microsoft will cover everything from builds of Unity, integration of plug-ins with UWP, asset optimization, shader optimization, identifying bottlenecks for GPU vs. CPU to using various tools to understand performance optimization on lower end spec machines.

Aside from developer outreach and education, we don’t expect major news from Microsoft regarding Windows VR at GDC.


Image courtesy Microsoft

HoloLens continues to see strong traction in the enterprise space, and Microsoft has been effectively nurturing that momentum. It’s pretty clear that the company is developing a HoloLens 2, but GDC is an unlikely place for its reveal given that HoloLens isn’t presently positioned as a gaming device—not to mention that Microsoft’s own Build developer conference is coming up quickly in May. For that reason, we’re not expecting anything big from Microsoft regarding HoloLens at GDC 2018, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t looking forward to the next HoloLens.

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Predictions will meet reality next week as Road to VR heads to San Francisco to bring you the latest and greatest from GDC 2018. What are you most looking forward to at this year’s GDC? Drop us a line below!

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • Lucio Lima

    BlablaBla… nothing new, as always!

    • Ombra Alberto

      Solo degli occhi distratti non si accorgono del cambiamento in atto. E sopratutto dell’accelerazione in atto.

    • Geneva

      Gℴℴgle is giving all people 99 US dollars per-hour to complete few task from home .. Do job only for few hours & have more time with your family . Anyone can also have this official post!!on Monday I got a top of the range volvo after just earning $19520 this-past/five weeks .it’s actually the best job but you wont forgive yourself if you do not take a look at this.!pg321m:=>=>> http://GoogleDealsHomeBasedBusiness/earn/cash/$97/hourly ♥♥g♥♥♥i♥♥b♥o♥♥y♥o♥♥♥a♥m♥♥♥a♥♥♥b♥c♥d♥♥z♥♥♥v♥♥♥w♥♥♥k♥♥♥o♥♥♥i♥♥♥j♥♥♥t♥o♥♥♥r♥p♥♥h♥♥d::::!of953h:hthbh

  • Martin Norén

    Budget cuts!

  • Regading Oculus, actually they could demo the Santa Cruz prototype to people… according to a tweet of a dev, this is a possibility

  • Bartholomew

    GDC 2018.

    HTC: blah blah blah.

    Valve: blah blah blah.

    Oculus: new games.

  • paul

    I want to hear about the LG 18 Mega pixel screen.

  • Tommy


  • Da Mo (JFlash)

    ‘Developing on PSVR: You Can Have A loan’ or ”Developing on PSVR: Lets keep it exclusive’

  • Cy James

    I’m so disappointing in Microsoft. How did they think this was going to go? Did they really think they were going to gain any significant traction without developing strong first party apps and games?

    I actually wanted this initiative to succeed too. I was intrigued by the idea of a virtual workspace, but if you can’t attract the mainstream – it’s going to wither and die on the vine.