Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer HTC shocked the virtual reality (VR) industry last month with news that it was partnering with Steam owner Valve to create a brand new head-mounted display (HMD), the HTC Vive. Not only was this surprise team-up taking place but development kits for the device were announced to be arriving in spring 2015, with a full consumer release happening in time for holiday 2015. This week sees the development kit move one step closer to release as Valve has posted the sign-up form to register interest in receiving a device.
Studios can now head to Steam to apply for a HTC Vive Developer Edition kit. Instead of allowing almost anyone to purchase a device as with the development kits for the Oculus Rift HMD, Valve requires developers to enter their company name along with a description of their VR project, its estimated launch date and the size of the team involved with making it. Valve will use this information to allocate kits throughout spring and summer 2015, with new units being shipped every few weeks. Successful applicants will receive kits free of charge.
“The Steam VR Developer Community is for developers with an HTC Vive Developer Edition kit,” an update on Steam notes. “This Community will be publically visible, so even if you have not received a dev kit, you can read the messages and follow along with development. Posting is for active developers only, so that the information is relevant to developers who are using the same dev kit, sharing their knowledge and helping us work through improvements.”
The company also reiterated that the consumer version of the HTC Vive would be arriving later in 2015, though didn’t offer a more specific launch date past the already-known holiday 2015 window. VRFocus will continue to follow the HTC Vive closely, reporting back with any further updates on its launch.