Virtual reality: it’s all the craze at the moment. What was once an overpriced gimmick of the early 90s has positioned itself as the next big thing and one that’s garnered the support of the industry’s big players. With Oculus and Sony both manufacturing their own device, it’s now understood that Valve is also working to develop its own line of virtual reality headsets, which it plans to debut at the Steam Dev Days event on January 15th.
“We’ve figured out what affordable Virtual Reality (VR) hardware will be capable of within a couple of years, and assembled a prototype which demonstrates that such VR hardware is capable of stunning experiences.
“This type of hardware is almost certainly going to appear in short order, and the time to starting developing for it is now. This talk will discuss what the hardware is like, and the kinds of experiences it makes possible. A few attendees will be randomly selected to try out the prototype following the talk.”
In the document, Valve outlines its overall objective ahead of the event; once which involves detailing a prototype of the proposed VR headset and how it intends to change the Steam system to support and indeed promote the technology itself. Considering that the company recently unveiled the Steam Machine and its dedicated controller, it seems logical that the virtual reality headset could become a core component of Valve’s ecosystem further down the line.
As a concept, virtual reality was always limited by a lack of software and, perhaps more crucially, a crippling lack of support by companies. As such, the technology that did exist was exorbitantly expensive and tethered to a niche market. If the current boon in support continues, however, this trend could all change and virtual reality could become a mainstay of gaming’s next generation. With the crowd-funded, much-acclaimed Oculus Rift gaining significant traction in the community as it prepares for its consumer launch, it’ll be interesting to see how Valve’s device is received in a few months time.
The Steam Dev Days event will take place between January 15th-16th, 2014 in Seattle. Until then, be sure to leave your predictions about Valve’s virtual reality plans in the comments section below.