January has been kind to virtual reality (VR) fans. Years of waiting has pulled off in the space of the first month of 2016 as we finally have a release date and price for the Oculus Rift head-mounted display (HMD) and a much clearer picture of when the HTC Vive will launch and what it will look like. But Valve and HTC, the creators of the latter device, aren’t done just yet. Later this week on 28th January Valve itself will be hosting a content showcase at its offices in Seattle, Washington. Journalists will be coming in to sample the latest content for the device and get an idea of what everyone will be playing later this year.
First, let’s talk about some important items we know won’t be at the show. First up, this is strictly a software showcase. That means there won’t be any updates to the HTC Vive hardware, which only recently got an upgrade in the form of the Vive Pre. With pre-orders going live towards the end of February, you can expect to see more news on this side soon, however. That said, this will still be a great opportunity to get a better look at that new kit.
On that note, Valve has also confirmed that it will not be showcasing any internally developed projects at the show. This will come as a disappointment to many, as the company seemed to strongly hint that a new entry in the Portal series could be coming to the device earlier this month. If such a title is in works then fans are going to have to wait a while to hear any more on it, it would seem.
What will be there is third-party content both old and new. An army of developers have supported the HTC Vive since it was revealed all the way back in March 2015 and many of these will be at the event. It’s been confirmed the likes of Elite: Dangerous will be at the show, giving developers a rare moment in the spotlight in an industry that’s still typically focused on more traditional titles.
There should be new projects too. We’ve already heard about Budget Cuts, an intriguing new stealth experience which we hope to see more of, and there’s no telling what other developers could be planning to lift the lid on their own projects at the show. Given Valve’s history with announcements and position on exclusive content, it’s fair to say that you can expect many of these to be from smaller indie studios rather than the bigger teams that the likes of Oculus VR is partnering with for exclusives for the Oculus Rift.
More than anything, it’s exciting to finally be at a point where VR can focus on videogames just as much as hardware. With the HTC Vive now months away from launch, Valve and HTC need to do their best to convince consumers that they have to content portfolio to make the cost of the device worth it. Hopefully by the end of this week’s showcase we’ll be sure that that’s the case.