There’s a new VR Headset Coming in May: Valve Index

Valve has finally teased details of its next headset.

This year is going to see a flurry of virtual reality (VR) head-mounted displays (HMD) arrive for both the consumer and enterprise markets. HTC Vive is focusing on business with the Vive Pro Eye and Vive Focus Plus, while Oculus is looking more towards the consumer spectrum with Oculus Quest and Rift S. Now Valve has teased its entry into the market, revealing the Value Index.

Valve Index

And a tease really is all it is at the moment with a single web page with the above image displayed. No specifications have been revealed or a price for that matter, but a few details can still be gleaned from the picture. For example, there certainly looks to be manual IPD adjustment for the lenses, an issue that has only flared up recently when the Oculus Rift S had its official unveiling during the Game Developers Conference (GDC) 2019 revealing software only IPD adjustment – something Palmer Luckey has been very vocal about.

And then there are those cameras on the front. They could be for inside-out tracking similar to Windows Mixed Reality (WMR) headsets, but the image does show faint circles which could also be for outside-in like the HTC Vive. Other possibilities for the cameras include augmented reality (AR) functionality, passthrough video to see the outside world, or for other tracking options, controllers or hands (Leap Motion-style).

Without any official details, it’s all just guesswork at the moment. There’s no telling if the headset will be a standalone device or tethered (VRFocus expects the latter) and how the headstrap design works – simple velcro style or the ratchet system used on devices like PlayStation VR and HTC Vive Pro. One thing is for sure May is going to be an important month.

Valve prototype headset
A previously leaked headset design showing a Valve printed circuit board.

The Facebook Developers Conference (F8) takes place from 30th April – 1st May, during which time it’s widely expected that Oculus will either launch Rift S and Quest, or reveal concrete release dates – instead of ‘Spring 2019’ – for both devices. Is Valve going to steal some thunder and launch the Index, or will it just be further details?

Whatever the case the next couple of months are going to be exciting. As announcements are made, VRFocus will keep you updated.

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