Virtual Reality is set to become one of the most highly fought-over battlegrounds in the video game industry, with the newfound technology bringing a number of gaming giants to the table. Sony’s Project Morpheus creation, which has recently been renamed PlayStation VR, will bring virtual reality to PlayStation consoles. Meanwhile, Microsoft is running a two-pronged attack, partnering with the Facebook-owned Oculus Rift as well as developing the Hololens, which gave an incredible Minecraft showcase at E3 2015.
Microsoft, Sony, and Oculus have another competitor in the market, however, in the form of Valve. The creator of the Steam digital distribution platform has branched out into new hardware, with the first batch of Steam Machines set to arrive for pre-order customers in October, alongside the Steam Controller. The company was not done there, however, announcing a partnership with HTC to create SteamVR via the Vive headset.
The move may have been a gamble, but it seems as though SteamVR has been able to get the attention of at least one high-profile title. Frontier Developments has revealed that space flight sim Elite: Dangerous is going to receive support for the Valve/HTC virtual reality partnership. In an updated FAQ on the Frontier Support website, the developer confirmed that Elite: Dangerous will be compatible with SteamVR and the HTC Vive.
Frontier Developments revealed that the title will receive a free update in the holiday season of this year, making Elite: Dangerous playable using SteamVR ready for the Vive’s launch. The headset is scheduled to see a limited release at the end of 2015, with a full commercial launch expected in 2016. With the Vive itself likely to be more expensive than its competitors, it gives Elite: Dangerous players interested in a SteamVR experience a little bit of time to scrape their savings together.
SteamVR will not be the only way that Elite: Dangerous will enter the virtual reality sphere, however, as Frontier Developments has always had interest in using VR for its title. The game’s compatibility with Oculus was once more reiterated in the FAQ, with Elite: Dangerous remaining compatible with Oculus Rift SDK 0.5. What’s more, the developer has opened the door to other VR headsets, stating that Frontier Developments is “invested in making the world’s best VR experience with Elite: Dangerous, and will remain committed to VR.”
Although VR has not quite won over everyone, with Nintendo in particular critical of the emerging hardware, it has nonetheless become a high-stakes venture for a number of major publishers. Valve may face an difficult battle against the likes of Microsoft and Sony, particularly given the Vive’s relatively high price tag and strong competition from Oculus, but this Elite: Dangerous compatibility will hopefully be a sign of good things to come. With Valve giving out free headsets to certain developers, perhaps the Vive can take a claim to being the game creator’s headset of choice.
Source: Frontier Developments