Now in its third year, the PC Gaming Show is a corner of E3 2017 that’s dedicated to all things x86. No consoles allowed. No blockbusters needed. Instead, the games taking to the stage show the unparalleled variety and imagination of PC game development.
Here are the seven things that we learned from this year’s show.
1. The PC has the widest variety of games
While the big press conferences at E3 2017 gave us a string of franchise updates in the shape of Star Wars: Battlefront 2, Far Cry 5 and Forza Motorsport 7, these big games aren’t necessarily the most exciting. Or the most interesting.
For quirky and inventive, for risky and bold, PC games undoubtedly offer the greatest variety of gameplay. The PC, for example, is the home of strategy. It’s where turn-based games such as XCOM 2: War of the Chosen rub armoured shoulders with RTS titles like Total War: Warhammer 2 and the newly-remastered-for-4K Age of Empires: Definitive Edition.
Where else but the PC Gaming Show would you find a turn-based game with giant battling mechs (BattleTech) next to a Minecraft-esque title from ARMA dev Bohemia Interactive? As shown in the video above, Y-Lands allows you build 3D worlds ranging from Tomb Raider-style lost temples to desert islands.
2. It’s not just consoles that do cute
Think Nintendo has a monopoly on cute-looking games with bright colours? For every grimy Gears of War, there’s a Wargroove (see video below); for every bloody Far Cry, there’s a Tunic (a pretty isometric platformer starring a little fox) or an Ooblets (a cartoony game “about farming, creatures, and adventure.”)
3. Esports is growing at a phenomenal rate
Competitive gaming is expected to have enticed 500 million fans worldwide by 2020. This year’s Intel Extreme Masters finals, for example, was the most watched esports tournament in ESL history with 46 million viewers.
Things will only get bigger and better. At the PC Gaming Show, Intel announced that all ESL tournament PCs will now feature the latest Intel Core i7 processors and that it will be funding the Intel Grand Slam. This serves up a $1 million prize, which will be awarded to the first esports team to win four ESL/DreamHack “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive” competitions in a 12-month period.
4. The next step is VR esports
With one eye on the future, Intel is also experimenting with blending VR and esports together. For starters, a partnership with ESL Gaming and Oculus announced at the PC Gaming Show will see the launch of the VR Challenger League in July, a global VR esports competition.
With this new competition in mind, Intel’s Gregory Bryant, senior vice president and general manager of the Client Computing Group, explained that Intel is also “partnering with Ready At Dawn Studios to release ‘Echo Arena’ as a free download for three months for all Oculus Rift owners starting on July 20.”
He added: “Echo Arena is the competitive multiplayer mode for Ready At Dawn’s new title ‘Lone Echo’, and it is an amazing way to experience the power of Intel technology in a breathtaking virtual arena.”
5. 4K is becoming more widespread
With the announcement of Microsoft’s Xbox One X, the age of 4K is now truly upon us. Many forthcoming PC games will come with 4K support, including Forza Motorsport 7, Sea of Thieves and the 20th anniversary edition of Age of Empires, which will come with 4K assets.
6. Intel’s X-Series processors are out June 19th
The latest Intel Core X-series processors will be go on sale starting June 19th and will ship the following week. The 12-core Intel Core i9-7920X X-series processor will start shipping in August and the rest of the X-Series family, including the 18-core Intel Core i9 Extreme Edition processor, will begin rolling out in October.
7. There is no PC gaming lull
When it comes to the biggest games of E3 2017, the PC is in line to receive them all. While Eurogamer suggests that console gaming could be experiencing a “mid-generation lull”, judging by the PC Gaming Show, the prospects for x86 gaming look rosy (especially on Ultra settings).
Just take a look at the biggest games of E3 2017 — Star Wars: Battlefront 2, Far Cry 5, Assassin’s Creed: Origins and Bioware’s Anthem. They’re all coming to PC and, if you have the right hardware, they’ll look better and play better than their console counterparts.