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Valve Not Releasing VR Hardware, Giving Tech To Oculus

The Valve news can’t stop, won’t stop, will never stop. Until tomorrow, at which point Steam Dev Days will conclude and Valve will clamber back under its Cone Of General Silence (Except During Very Specific Circumstances). Today, though, we get one last blast of information – namely, that Valve does, in fact, have its own “holodeck“-level virtual reality tech, but it doesn’t plan on releasing it to the public. Instead, the Newellian empire has decided to collaborate with Oculus Rift in order to further its goals for a VR-powered future in which PC is king.

Valve discussed its VR plans in a panel titled “What VR Could, Should, and Almost Certainly Will Be Within Two Years.” While it has its own VR prototype that even Oculus Rift creator Palmer Luckey called “the best virtual reality demo in the world right now,” the PC juggernaut won’t be heading up the hardware side of things.

A slide presented by the world’s most quiet and composed mad scientist, Michael Abrash, noted that Valve and Oculus partnered on Crystal Cove’s tracking functionality, and the two will continue to work together to drive VR forward. And of course, Valve recently revealed its own VR API, SteamVR, which will hopefully facilitate smoother, more consistent VR experiences.

Abrash did, however, add that Valve hasn’t ruled out releasing its own VR hardware in the future. So the whole situation is reminiscent of its approach to Steam Machines: work with a third-party manufacturer for now, but be prepared to take the reins later on if need be.

So then, what will come of all of this? Well, to hear Valve tell it, The Future’s near-future is bright, with Abrash claiming that high-quality virtual reality for everyone – not just devs – will almost certainly be available in two years, probably less. He also noted that PC will be a “hotbed” for all of this, what with all of its power, versatility, and room for evolution.

For those who want to view slides of Valve’s proposed plans to turn VR from wizz-bang technogizmo doohickey to a plastic brick we’ll all be proud to tether to our faces, SteamDB has rounded up all relevant slides. Go have a look-see. Oh, but do please remember to wipe any The Future you step in off your shoes before returning to RPS. Wouldn’t want it staining our rustic (and also infinite) bear rug, after all.

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Nathan Grayson

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