Valve: VR’s Second Generation Needs 2K or 4K for Each Eye

Though it’s come a long way since the days of the first development kit (DK1) of the Oculus Rift head-mounted display (HMD), display resolution still has a way to go for virtual reality (VR) technology. These devices need to constantly push for better screens, reducing the irritable ‘screen door effect’ with each update. This concerns placing your eyes in front of the respective HMD’s pair of lenses, which magnify the display and allow users to become immersed in the shown content but also see the gaps between pixels in the panel. According to Valve, which is working on the HTC Vive HMD, the next generation of VR hardware should hit 2K or 4K screens.


The company’s Chet Faliszek said as much today during his ‘The Year Ahead in VR’ talk at the 2015 EGX consumer show in Birmingham, UK. The first generation of the HTC Vive itself, which supports Valve’s SteamVR system, will be releasing in a limited fashion towards the end of this year, with a wider release expected later on in the year. It’s not yet clear, then, when Valve and HTC might look at releasing a possible second generation version of the device, but expect this to be one area that it improves upon if it does.

Every VR company is well aware of the need for better displays. In fact, Oculus VR’s own Chief Scientist, Michael Abrash, noted at Facebook’s F8 developer conference earlier this year that VR would need a resolution of 16K before it reached retinal resolution. Given that 4K screens are only just starting to be implemented into mobile phones and are yet to be adopted by the mainstream, the industry is a long way off from hitting that milestone. Fortunately, VR looks to have a long life ahead of it too.

VRFocus will continue to follow each and every VR HMD, reporting back with all the technical aspects on each.