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Interface For Your Face: Valve Releasing VR SDK Soon

Put it on your face. Go on.

Curse the BBC! How is a humble commercial games site like Rock, Paper, Shotgun supposed to compete when a publicly-funded socialist behemoth like the British Broadcasting Corporation is getting all the videogame scoops?

Valve’s Brian Coomer has told Auntie that they’re “days away” from releasing a VR SDK. The development kit will launch at Steam Dev Days, which happens in Seattle on the 14th and 15th, and is designed to help game creators make VR headsets like the Oculus Rift compatible with their games.

He also spoke about Valve’s work with their own VR hardware, which we’ve long known about: “There’s also technology in development at Valve based around head-tracking and headset manufacture and design. We are working with other companies right now but we have not made any specific announcements.”

It’s been mentioned in numerous interviews now that Valve are collaborating with Oculus, sharing information with one another as they both research virtual reality. Valve’s efforts are thought to be led by Michael Abrash, who formerly worked on Quake with John Carmack, who is himself now at Oculus making games for the Rift.

It’s unlikely that Valve will manufacture their own headset though, so building a toolkit to help game developers use them makes perfect sense. If it can do what Coomer hopes it will – get these controllers to the point where they can be switched in and out seamlessly by the user without having to re-jig settings – then that’ll be a useful step towards making the hardware viable. And I say this as someone who had a Rift for a while and often couldn’t be bothered hooking it up because it was a very slight faff.

The BBC story ends with a final quote from Coomer:

“Steam is in a unique position to be this intermediary between hardware and software and users,” Mr Coomer says.

“Without that its going to be hard for any device to get any serious traction.”

Which sounds like a threat, to me. I’d like hardware stories more if all parties involved talked like street punks before a knife fight.

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Graham Smith

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