Taiwanese smartphone company HTC very quickly became one of the biggest names in virtual reality (VR) technology back in March 2015 when it announced a partnership with Valve to create the HTC Vive head-mounted display (HMD). This promising device surprised everyone with its unique approach to PC-based VR, supported by Valve’s SteamVR system, and its holiday 2015 release date. It seems like the perfect partnership now, and HTC itself recently suggested that the Vive ‘probably couldn’t’ have happened without Valve’s help.
Dan O’Brien, Executive Director at HTC, said as much to VRFocus in an interview that will be published in full later this week. “Valve, actually, and HTC have a lot of philosophical alignment in terms of marriage and how you guys actually work together,” O’Brien said. “I mean these guys are pioneers. They’re craftsmen in their trade and the products that they make for consumers. And so are we.
“I mean, if you look at the phones that we and the designs that we put behind those phones, you know, our design team, that’s a very big part of our DNA, and when you can take two companies that have this amazing quality aspect of what they bring to the table for the consumers, you combine those things and then you will produce something amazing that you probably couldn’t have done individually on your own.”
While HTC’s involvement opens up a lot of avenues on the manufacturing side of the HTC Vive, Valve’s SteamVR system provides many of the essential factors. Among them is the Room Scale tracking, enabled by a Lighthouse laser-based device. This kit is able to track a user’s movements in an area of up to 15-feet by 15-feet and then replicate them within the given experience. SteamVR also provided two position-tracked controllers for users to hold. Free Developer Editions of the HTC Vive are currently arriving for studios that successfully applied for them.
VRFocus will continue to follow HTC, Valve and the Vive closely, reporting back with the latest updates.