Earlier in the week Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC announced that it had partnered with legendary videogame company Valve to create the HTC Vive. This new virtual reality (VR) head-mounted display (HMD) is built using the Half-Life developer’s Steam VR service. With that in mind, many have wondered if the Vive is really the official and only Valve HMD. VRFocus speculated that the system could be similar to what’s been seen with Valve’s Steam Machines, in which the company aids others making the hardware. As it turns out, that’s exactly the case.
Valve co-founder and President Gabe Newell confirmed as much to Engadget during an interview at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show this week. “You should think of the Vive as the first in the same way there are multiple Steam Machines,” Newell said. “We’re building tools and hopefully they’re valuable to hardware partners who want to do it. In some cases, we’ll take the leadership role in shipping stuff. But we’re really just building tools for other people to continue. So you’ll see more headsets.”
This is hardly surprising news, although some might have expected to see examples of other HMDs at GDC this week, much like when Valve has announced full line-ups of Steam Machines in the past. It appears that any other companies working with Steam VR aren’t yet ready to say so. Valve will reportedly have varying levels of involvement with these other companies, in some cases even handling shipping duties for them.
VRFocus will continue to follow Steam VR closely, reporting back with any further updates on the service.