Software > hardware at E3 2015
Despite it a banner year for PC gaming at E3—one that saw countless amazing games announced for the PC and our first-ever dedicated PC press conference—there was surprisingly little PC hardware presence on the show floor itself.
No Valve. No Alienware. No Logitech. No SteelSeries. No massive Nvidia tent in the parking lot across the street. And that’s sad, because I’m a guy that likes eye-candy. I love those stupid “We crammed six Titan X cards into this tiny case!” builds that OEMs are fond of showing off.
And on that front, E3 2015 was a disappointment. Still, there were a few companies flying the PC flag: Razer, Polk, Plantronics, Turtle Beach, Starbreeze, and even (surprise!) Microsoft. Well, sort of.
Microsoft spent about half its time at E3 reiterating how much it loves PCs, so imagine my complete and utter surprise when I was only able to find a single row of its massive booth dedicated to our favorite games platform. The telltale keyboards give it away.
Jokes aside: At least Microsoft had more PCs than the Sony booth.
Xbox One Elite controller
Okay, so it's not a dedicated piece of PC hardware, but I find the Xbox One Elite controller pretty interesting—certainly more so than the standard Xbox One controller. And with that wireless (and Windows 10 exclusive) Xbox One controller dongle on the way, there's a chance the Elite becomes my new PC gamepad of choice…
Wait, what's that? It costs a hundred and fifty dollars? Yeesh. Never mind.
Only Razer would be like, "You know what we need to do? We need to build our new RGB-enabled Mamba mouse a tiny altar for people to worship at."
And that's why we love them, even when they've clearly lost their minds and decided to release a light-up mousepad. I mean, say what you will about Razer and its products, but it's clear the people over there love PCs as much as we do.
Razer Kraken Pro
While we're on Razer, another welcome sight: The Kraken Pro has finally been updated with inline controls. Better late than never.
Logitech G29 racing wheel
Please ignore the lackluster setting—and, you know, the big ol' PlayStation logo in the center of this wheel. This is Logitech's new G29, a $400 force feedback-enabled wheel/pedal peripheral for the PC and PS4. Also pictured: The optional $70 gearbox add-on. And a $300 chair.
Sheesh, it costs almost as much to drive virtual cars as it would to drive a real one. (It's a really nice wheel, though.)
On show: The new Oculus Touch controllers announced last week. I got a chance to go hands-on with Oculus's answer to the HTC Vive's wands, and we'll have hands-on impressions soon. My snap judgment: Impressive. Comfortable. Way better than the packed-in Xbox controller.
Oculus at E3
Oculus built an entire apartment complex inside the LA Convention Center, as far as I can tell.
Virtuix has to be pretty happy Oculus didn't announce a walking-around VR experience similar to Valve and HTC's, because otherwise its omnidirectional treadmill would've lost a market before it even officially launched.
I didn't get a chance to go feet-on with the Omni this year, but hopefully at PAX I can get some impressions in. Especially because…
…Virtuix is no longer the only omnidirectional treadmill in town. Here's the Cyberith Virtualizer, which is basically the exact same thing. Again, no official opinions from me yet—I didn't have time to strap into this one.
The funniest part was that the Virtuix and Cyberith booths were pretty much next-door to each other, with Polk playing the part of the Berlin Wall in between.
Polk at E3
Speaking of, Polk has a new headset—the Striker Pro—which we'll have some hands-on impressions of early next week. But what caught my eye was this older model, with its retro 1970s color scheme. I'll say this: Polk's got a damn fine eye for design.
This is Starbreeze's new StarVR headset, which features a 210-degree field of view and a 5K resolution. Yes, 5K.
And what could power such a beastly display? Try that Alienware Area 51 perched behind. If you're wondering what's inside, well, so am I. All PR was willing to tell me was that it was a "high-end card" which…well, duh. I'm going to go ahead and guess it's related to AMD's current trickle of announcements.
Need a fancy computer chair? Because the DXRacer booth was literally full of them. Just crammed with seats.
Did you know Blue makes headphones now? Yeah, me neither. The company, mostly known for its Yeti and Snowball mics, is a familiar face in the streaming community at this point—enough so that it had its own booth at E3. Now if only Blue had a gaming headset...
In case you can't tell, the Plantronics booth was located right next to Microsoft's blinding green wall. But I still had to grab a shot of this broadcast-quality headset, which is a damn gorgeous piece of kit even if it makes absolutely no sense for home use.
Plantronics Rig 500
Plantronics was also showing off its new Rig 500 modular headset—one that allows you to swap out basically every single part, from the band to the ear cups to the microphone.
Turtle Beach had its familiar display case full of decapitated glass heads, sporting a range of headsets old and new. Like this Recon 50, for instance (on the right). It's so fashionable you won't even realize a) You're made of glass b) You don't have a body and c) Someone has sealed you in a transparent coffin to die.
The indie scene
Microsoft/Sony can both pay lip service to indie games, but we all know the PC is the true epicenter. Proof? There were more computers (Alienware 15s) in the Indiecade booth than pretty much anywhere else.
Atari 2600 Graduate Computer
Text from the picture reads, "The Atari 2600 Graduate Computer add-on was designed by Peripheral Visions Inc., a company formed by three ex-Commodore engineers. The Graduate was a self-contained computer unit that used the 2600 as a power source and video output unit. Numerous modules were planned including additional RAM, a micro-disk, modem, and printer. The project was cancelled in 1983 as Atari struggled to regain its footing in the video game market."
It's official: Consoles killed the PC.
Nyko Type Pad
Aw, adorable: This Xbox One controller wants to be a keyboard.
Finally, there's this newfangled "Pip-Boy 3000" wearable. I don't know who makes it or whether it runs Crysis, but I think you'll all agree: This is clearly the best computer of E3 2015.
The most exciting PC games of E3 2015
But enough about hardware! E3 is all about the games, and these were the 10 most exciting PC games of E3 2015.