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Valve Boss Talks VR Headset Origins and Future Oculus Rift Integration

Gabe Newell, the co-founder of legendary videogame developer Valve, has spoken out about virtual reality (VR), the Oculus Rift headset and the technology’s future within the company. Speaking on an ‘Ask Me Anything’ Reddit thread for charity, the developer answered a series of questions about Valve’s own VR headset as well as engine integration and possible future titles with VR support.

HalfLife2_2When asked why Valve started to create its own VR headset, Newell explained that that company’s Michael Abrash had started to get serious about the technology around 2 years ago. Apparently Abrash felt like VR had reached a point in which many of its problems could be dealt with. The developer also expressed his concerns about user input with VR titles. “We haven’t seen a solution yet to the problem,” he reasoned. “It’s in the next round of problems to tackle. We need to start doing experience fragments to help drive this.”

He also confirmed that the company’s Alex Vlachos is currently working on getting the company’s upcoming Source 2 Engine working well with VR, suggests that future Valve titles will be supporting the Oculus Rift headset. When asked specifically if this integration was holding up the release of ‘Ricochet 2’, a fan codenamed for the long-awaited Half-Life 3, Newell replied “We aren’t holding any game until VR is shipping. You don’t want to create that kind of dependency.”

Addressing claims made by a NeoGAF user stating that Valve’s VR headset was ‘lightyears ahead of the original Oculus Dev Kit’, Newell noted that he didn’t necesserily agree. He concluded that Valve is still collaborating with Oculus VR and wants its hardware to be great.

Valve has shown a great deal of support for VR. Along with integrating Oculus Rift support into its Half-Life 2 and Team Fortress 2 titles, the company hosted 4 different talks on VR at its Steam Dev Days event in January 2014. VRFocus will continue to follow Valve’s work in VR and report back with anything new.