With the advent of bright-blue light-emitting diodes in 1994, violet laser diodes in 1996, and vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers at telecommunications wavelengths in 2000, all based on nitride-containing III–V compounds, a new age for optoelectronics began. Despite their technological success, III-nitride materials still hold some mysteries. Compared with conventional III–V semiconductors, even commercial nitride devices are of poor material quality. Due to their heteroepitaxial origin, their crystals are full of dislocations. Electrical properties, particularly in the case of p-type material, are fairly unsatisfactory. Still, light-emitting diodes with extremely high brightness and lasers with high power and good lifetime can be produced with III–V nitride compounds. In this review, we will give an overview of the essential properties of nitride materials for optoelectronic devices, their current development status, open questions, and recent device achievements.