Half-Life developer and Steam platform owner Valve already has a storied history with virtual reality (VR). The company was revealed to be working on its own VR head-mounted display (HMD) around the same time that Oculus VR was preparing the second development kit (DK2) for the Oculus Rift HMD. Soon after that Valve stated that it would not be releasing its hardware commercially and would be supporting Oculus VR instead. Despite this, it looks like the company will have new VR hardware to debut at next week’s Games Developers Conference (GDC) in.
Valve has announced that it will be debuting SteamVR hardware at the show from 4th – 6th March 2015 in San Francisco, California, USA. The company will be giving demos to both developers and publishers interested in working with the tech throughout the week. Those interested can sign up to book a slot over on the official website. In the past, Valve’s HMD had been shown to operate inside a ‘Valve Room’ in the company’s offices, with markers stuck to the walls that allowed for positional tracking. The kit has since been shown off without these markers.
Valve provided a hint of what it would show at GDC a few weeks back when it listed a new VR-based GDC session. What this means for the future of VR in general isn’t clear, though it’s certainly exciting to hear that Valve is progressing with its work in VR. It’s HMD has been praised even by the likes of Oculus VR CEO Brendan Iribe in the past, but key staff that worked on the device such as Michael Abrash now work over at the Oculus Rift makers. Has Valve changed its mind and decided to pursue the consumer market with VR? Or is this perhaps a concept similar to Open-Source Virtual Reality (OSVR), providing a HMD that will allow developers to create for a wider range of HMDs?
It sounds like all will become clear at GDC 2015. VRFocus will be at the event to bring you all of the latest updates on VR in general.