A few days ago we shared the news that Valve would be announcing its own virtual reality headset at the Game Developers Conference this coming week. Well, it looks like they’ve decided to get the party started early and make the announcement today...or rather their VR partner did.
Popular smartphone manufacturing HTC announced their plans to develop a virtual reality device called Vive for Valve. According to the CEO of HTC, Peter Chou, the device will be available to consumers by the end of the year, with a developer edition available in the coming months.
Chou offered his thoughts on entering the VR space during today’s announcement in Barcelona:
"We believe that virtual reality will totally transform the way that we interact with the world. Virtual reality will become a mainstream technology for the rest of the world. Attending real-time concerts, learning history, reliving memories."
Even though Valve is entering the virtual reality game behind Microsoft, Oculus and Sony, the Half-Life developer is poised to grab a good chunk of market share right away. This is especially true considering Valve is the proud owner of the PC gaming service Steam, which gives Valve a leg up in the PC gaming market.
Valve isn’t just stopping with the headset, though, they’re looking to help gamers have a more immersive virtual reality experience by offering special devices called Steam VR Base Stations. These base stations will allow gamers to walk around in a virtual space, rather than use a controller. And according to HTC, a pair of these stations can "track your physical location... in spaces up to 15 feet by 15 feet."
Thanks to technologies like Microsoft’s Hololens, expectations for virtual reality are increasing at a rapid rate. So it makes sense that Valve would look to outdo its direct competitors by building a completely interactive system with top-of-the-line technology. The headset uses a gyrosensor, accelerometer and laser position sensor to track a user’s head movements down to one-tenth of a degree. According to HTC, the Vive Developer Edition has two 1200 by 1080 displays that refresh at a rate of 90 frames per second, making it a smooth visual experience for the user.
While that’s all very impressive, we can’t help but wonder how comfortable wearing such a device would be. Fortunately, it sounds like it won’t be too cumbersome at all. According to Jeff Gattis, an executive at HTC, the device is “really light, so you can wear it for a long time without feeling weighed down."
Valve is planning to provide more information about the device, as well as show off its capabilities, at the Game Developer Conference this week. We’ll be interested to see what other details are provided about the device, including information on pricing and possibly a set release date.
What do you think about the Vive headset? How do you think it will fare among PC gamers? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.