Breaking news: Valve has both promised and planned the release of a product! We’ve been hearing about Valve’s plans for a VR headset of some kind for many months, but now the official announcement is here for a headset called Vive, the result of a partnership with HTC.
Yes, Valve and HTC are teaming up to create competition for Facebook, Sony, Samsung and others with a VR product in the running. HTC appears to be providing most of the hardware behind Vive, while Valve is creating the “SteamVR” software.
Core to Vive are two 1200 x 1080 displays that can offer video quality as high as 90 fps and plenty of opportunities for full immersion. A hefty combination of gyrosensor, accelerometer, and laser sensor can track your head as it moves and offer an interesting base station that allows you to physically move around a 15-by-15 foot space and interact with a similar virtual reality space at the same time. However, for more long-range control Valve and HTC are also releasing a pair of wireless controllers to hold in each hand.
The big draw for a Valve VR set is, naturally, the compatibility with all sorts of games. HTC’s press material certainly highlights the gaming aspect as well, with intricate descriptions of what virtual gaming could look like aboard a starship or in ancient Rome. And yes, if you were wondering, this could also include Valve games like Half-Life…at some point in the future (sigh).
So far the product remains in the early stages: You can ask about getting a developer edition, but when the product will be available for all is still a little uncertain. The companies probably want to get a solid content base and several good contracts in place before unveiling the version that will hit the shelves later this year.
If you want to learn more, start reading up on the Game Developers Conference in early March, when the companies are promising more information.