During Steam Dev Days, Valve reveals that it is working on new controllers for the HTC Vive, also announcing how many VR gamers are buying titles through SteamVR
The past few weeks have been absolutely huge for virtual reality gaming. Sony has just launched its PlayStation VR headset, to much fanfare, while Oculus and Facebook recently held the Oculus Connect 3 event to show off what it's doing in the space. But, not to be one-upped by its competitors, Valve has also used its Steam Dev Days event to update fans on its virtual reality developments.
Following the announcement that the Oculus Touch controllers will be released later this year, Valve used Steam Dev Days to confirm that it is developing new VR controllers of its own. As reported by TechCrunch, Valve's new hardware allow users to both pick up and drop virtual objects without actually letting go of the controller itself. The prototype images that Valve shared during the event seem to suggest that the controllers are wrist-mounted which is a lot different from the existing, wand-like controllers for (Valve's VR headset) the HTC Vive.
The new developments will be welcomed by those who feel that wand-like controllers break the immersion of the virtual reality gaming experience. However, there are concerns that Valve's VR hardware project isn't doing enough to compete. Oculus has announced a cheaper version of the Oculus Rift and Sony is working on a new version of the PlayStation VR – these announcements are arguably more exciting than new controllers and some question whether the simple addition of some new inputs will be a big enough draw to consumers.
That uncertainty is especially unsettling given the VR software sales figures that Valve also revealed during Dev Days. The company said that SteamVR has over 600 virtual reality titles and that 1,000 new VR users register every day. While this sounds impressive on the surface, in a year, this actually amounts to just 365,000 VR gamers buying their games through Steam. It has also been noted that with so many games competing for such a small audience, if each gamer buys five VR titles, each game will average about 3,000 sales.
As virtual reality gaming is less than a year into its big comeback tour, Valve may not see that there is a problem right now. But, with games like Resident Evil 7 VR and Edge of Nowhere being time or full exclusives, VR gamers may not look at Steam or the HTC Vive as their first choices and what may not seem like an issue now could potentially become a significant thorn in Valve's side in future.