Posted on January 17, 2014, Mike Sharkey UPDATE: Valve Has No Plans to Ship its Own VR Tech
UPDATE: Yes, Valve did show off it’s own virtual reality headset at yesterday’s Steam Dev Days Conference, and yes, the assembled game designers who took it for a spin were floored. But no, Valve does not plan to release its own Oculus Rift competitor.
In fact, Oculus CEO Palmer Luckey was in attendance and spoke about the future of VR — a future that includes Valve continuing to partner with Oculus on the Rift. As ArsTechnica reports: Valve has “no current plans to ship VR tech.”
Evidently, that Valve VR headset that demoers described as better than Oculus’ latest prototype, the Crystal Cove, was actually a modified version of Oculus’ technology. In fact, Valve also helped with the positional tracking on the Crystal Cove.
Sounds like a win for consumers — Oculus and Valve working together to create the best form of virtual reality tech. The only downside to come out of the Steam Dev Days VR discussion: it appears a consumer version of the Rift won’t be ready until sometime in 2015.
Valve does, indeed, have a virtual reality headset of its own, and according to a handful of game designers who demoed it on day one of the Steam Dev Days Conference, it “blows Crystal Cove away.”
TechRadar directs us to various tweets and blogs from attendees who say Valve’s VR is, somehow, a step ahead of the Oculus Rift. That’s saying something, because everyone who tried Oculus’ new Rift prototype, the Crystal Cove, at CES 2014, was floored.
“I’m a big fan of Oculus, and will buy one,” dev David Hensley wrote in a tweet. “But the Valve demo really blew me away. VR is going to be amazing.”
Another Valve VR tester on TheSonicReblog, said: “Everyone who has tried it says it is mindblowing and blows Crystal Cove away.”
Users of Valve’s VR headset praised it for its positional tracking, which they say completely alleviated the motion-sickness issues currently associated with the Rift. Valve’s headset used markers around the room for positional tracking rather than the LED lights on Cove’s headset, testers said, and evidently the impact was dramatic.
Officially, Valve has yet to reveal who its hardware partners are on its VR headset and whether or not it plans to launch its own Rift competitor or simply share its designs and partner with Oculus. It could well be that the VR headset demoed at Steam Dev Days is modified Rift technology.
I’ll go ahead and fan the flames with this thought: Valve’s Steam Machine launching with Half-Life 3, a game designed specifically to be played in virtual reality with Valve’s own VR headset. Yeah, that might move a few units.