The HTC Vive is quickly coming up on its first birthday and in that time Valve’s only released one videogame – more of a tech demo – called The Lab. The company has much more planned though, with co-founder and CEO Gabe Newell revealing three projects are in the works.
Valve recently held a round table discussion to discuss the Vive and all things VR. “Right now we’re building three VR games,” reports Eurogamer, before clarifying: “When I say we’re building three games, we’re building three full games, not experiments.” Whilst he didn’t reveal any details on what these videogames might be, he did say they were being made in Source 2 and Unity.
Newell then went on to say: “One of the questions you might be asking is ‘Why in the world would you be making hardware? What we can do now is we can be designing hardware at the same time that we’re designing software. This is something that Miyamoto has always had. He’s had the ability to think about what the input device is and design a system while he designs games. Our sense is that this will actually allow us to build much better entertainment experiences for people.”
The Valve boss does see virtual reality (VR) as way of expanding entertainment beyond its current confines stating: “It feels like we’ve been stuck with mouse and keyboard for a reeeaaally long time and that the opportunities to build much more interesting kinds of experiences for gamers were there, we just need to sort of expand what we can do. But it’s not about being in hardware, it’s about building better games. It’s about taking bigger leaps forward with the kinds of games that we can do.
“VR is not going to be a success at all if people are just taking existing content and putting it into a VR space,” he said. “One of the first things we did is we got Half-Life 2 and Team Fortress running in VR, and it was kind of a novelty. That was purely a developer milestone, but there was absolutely nothing compelling about it, the same way nobody’s going to buy a VR system so they can watch movies.”
As with anyone involved with VR of Newell’s caliber, they all have their own predictions on the short term and long term future future of the technology. “We’re actually going to go from this weird position where VR right now is kind of low-res, to being in a place where VR is actually higher res than just about anything else, with much higher refresh rates than you’re going to see on either desktops or phones,” predicts Newell. “You’ll actually see the VR industry sort of leapfrogging pretty much any other display technology in terms of those characteristics. It’s probably not obvious from the first generation of products, but you’ll start to see that happening like in 2018-2019.”
As and when Valve do decide to discuss the VR projects, VRFocus will keep you updated.