Although Half-Life developer and Steam creator Valve has been a major player in the software development and distribution market, they’ve only just begun to dabble in hardware. It started in earnest with the announcement of Steam Machines, pre-made PCs/home consoles that would let players access Steam while lounging on their couch, but that was only the tip of the iceberg.
This year, Valve is poised to give fans an even closer look at Steam Machines, but they also have something even bigger planned. Valve is finally ready to stake their claim on the virtual rality market with SteamVR.
As part of their GDC 2015 panel, Valve will not only give attendees a closer look at Steam Machines and their plans for the future, but this year’s event will also include an official debut for SteamVR. It’s unclear from the brief message what exactly Valve plans to unveil, but it’s safe to assume the company will have some form of virtual reality headset, perhaps an early prototype, on-hand.
Over the last few years, there have been rumors that Valve might be looking to enter the virtual reality headset business, but so far we hadn’t heard anything official. At points, many doubted that Valve actually had a headset in the works, especially after losing key personnel, but the company clearly didn’t lose sight of their goal. But those were only thoughts; they were still the company without a VR headset.
That will soon change, though, especially if Valve wants to make up any ground given to Oculus Rift and Sony’s Project Morpheus. Sure, lying in wait has afforded Valve the opportunity to look and see what their competitors are doing, and hopefully improve upon that, but they have also let Oculus dominate the VR conversation.
Even so, Valve’s strong standing among PC gamers may prove essential for their VR headsets success. One would assume that these headsets would be compatible with all Steam Machines, but the more important platform is PC. If Valve can find a way to make this the headset gamers associate with PC gaming then that would be their ticket to further success.
Do you think Valve should manufacture a VR headset? How would you like to see their device differentiate itself?
GDC runs from March 2-6 in San Francisco, CA.