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Valve Joins OSVR

It’s been a little while since we’ve had an update on Open-Source Virtual Reality (OSVR), the new ecosystem spearheaded by Razer and designed to bring companies, software and hardware together to create an accessible environment for VR development. In its last update the group had confirmed the likes of Ubisoft had come on board, suggesting that the publisher has a big future with the technology that we’re only just beginning to learn about. Today, OSVR has confirmed the addition of another major player in the VR space; Valve.

Valve OSVR

Specifically, it’s Valve’s OpenVR software development kit (SDK), which the company detailed earlier this month, that will be joining forces with OSVR. The SDK offers support for developing on SteamVR, which currently consists of the HTC Vive head-mounted display (HMD), a pair of position-tracked controllers and, arguably most important of all, the Lighthouse laser-based tracking system that allows users to move within a 15 feet by 15 feet area and have those movements replicated within an experience. This is a significant addition to the OSVR line-up, then, essentially allowing developers to easily integrate their work with the HTC Vive.

What this might been for OSVR’s own HMD, the OSVR Hacker Dev Kit, is unclear. The device itself is open-source, meaning anyone could mod in SteamVR support to their own device, but OSVR will also be putting the kit on sale later in the year for $199 USD. Leap Motion has already revealed an add-on faceplate that integrates its hand-tracking technology into the front of the device; could other such add-ons address the new features that are brought about with OpenVR?

Crucially, this support arrives well ahead of the HTC Vive’s holiday 2015 consumer release date and seemingly before Valve has shipped any of the free developer edition kits that studios can apply for. VRFocus will continue to follow OSVR and Valve closely, reporting back with the latest updates.