So Valve’s Virtual Reality Thinger Got Announced…

…Please don’t do these sorts of things on a weekend, big companies. My heart can’t take it.

So: the ‘Vive!’ The first time Steam VR has broken cover! A hardware partnership between Valve and HTC! Dual 1200 x 1080 displays with a 90 frames per second refresh rate! All kinds of apparently super-precise head-tracking with no jitter! But that’s not the half of it. Add in a couple of ‘Steam VR Base Stations’ and you get to walk around, with the setup tracking your location. I.e. in theory you get to actually walk around a pretend world.

And out by this Christmas. Good lord. Trailer thingy below.

Well, that was mostly unhelpful bombast, but let’s look at the underlying claim. So… basically living inside videogames, then? I mean, they don’t mention a toilet attachment, but I’m sure someone will mod one in before long.

Hopefully we’ll have first-hand reports of whether Valve’s massively ambitious foray into full-body virtual reality has paid off, as John and Graham are currently out at GDC in San Francisco, where this thing’s getting shown off. Or maybe they’ve put it on and disappeared into another reality forever already.

In the meantime, there’s assorted further detail, including more specs, over on the Vive’s official website.

Again, a consumer version is planned by Christmas – which may mean things get ugly between Valve/HTC and Oculus – while a developer kit should be available sometime in the Spring. It’s for ‘select developers’ rather than the open-to-all method Oculus went for, though.

All this revealing comes via HTC rather than Valve, by the way, so there might be much yet to come. Perhaps other hardware firms will have their own takes on SteamVR. Perhaps existent headsets can be retroactively adapted for it. And, of course, there’s finding out about game support yet to come: what, exactly, are we going to be doing with this thing?

God. Exciting. Though hard to get my head around what it actually means in practice. Also I’m worried that I don’t have a room big enough for it – it talks of tracking movement across spaces of up to 15 feet x 15 feet. Don’t you dare do a Kinect on me, Vive.

‘Vive’ though? Really? It sounds a bit dildo-y, let’s be honest.

From this site

146 Comments

  1. Premium User Badge

    caff says:

    Excited. This is good news for VR, and Valve & HTC can make this a winner.

    However. as a DK1 and DK2 owner, I doubt the resolution is high enough. I think the refresh rate sounds good, but the res needs to be bumped to 1440p or 2160p on the vertical for a highly immersive, quality product.

    Still, if they released Source 2 and HL3 with this, everyone would buy it.

    • P7uen says:

      How the hell are you getting those resolutions in Dungeon Keeper? Would be awesome in VR though.

      • Ztox says:

        I’m sorry to see that nobody has acknowledged your witty humour. Here, have a lol from me.

    • depresion says:

      You will need a hefty rig to output 90fps at 2400x1080p, maybe multiple graphics cards is the answer.

      • Wisq says:

        Not really, it’s only 26% more pixels than 1080p. Way less than 1440p, and decent cards already do that just fine.

        • CookPassBabtridge says:

          CV1 is targeting 90fps though, so in comparison to DK2 its a significant step up in necessary power. Hopefully breakthroughs on these fronts are also TBA

          • CookPassBabtridge says:

            *CV1 and so possibly the HTC. Where did edit go?

          • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

            The death of 20nm surely hit us pretty strongly, that’s for sure, the next cards are going to have an hilariously huge die size to represent a step up, and that might not be enough still. 16nm FinFet is the way to go apparently, which means something like next year, and maybe late.

            Also: i absolutely understand your pain about the edit button.

      • waltC says:

        You will need a hefty rig to output 90fps at 2400x1080p, maybe multiple graphics cards is the answer.

        It’s more likely it is a pixel-doubled 1200x1080p; or a pix-doubled 1200x540p, or a pix-quadrupled 600x270p, etc. Judging by Valve’s completely lackluster achievements when it comes to shipping announced hardware that is actually original, I’d recommend nobody hold his breath waiting on this–more likely by Christmas it will have been “delayed” for this or that reason. Further, I believe VR has been grossly overestimated–there are serious problems with claustrophobia, control mechanisms, and and other problems. People fantasize it is something it simply can never be. No manufacturer’s product can live up to the ridiculous hype–people don’t realize that VR is

        If they can’t do HL3, it’s for sure Valve cannot do this for less than a few grand, retail–if at all. I have no confidence in much of anything Valve says these days.

    • Sakkura says:

      Well, Oculus DK2 and Crystal Cove are 1920×1080 = 960×1080 per eye, this add least adds a bit more resolution with 2400×1080 = 1200×1080 per eye. I would have like to see at least 2400×1200 though, but that 1200 vertical res has gotten really unpopular with screen manufacturers.

      • Michael Anson says:

        Fun fact! You see more clearly horizontally than vertically. Specifically, your field of view has been adapted so that it is easier to spot things to either side than those above or below you. As a result, VR is better served by having horizontally longer panels as opposed to vertically longer panels.

    • Misha says:

      Yay! I’m super excited about this. And with Valve behind it, it might actually be a finished product you can buy before the heat death of the universe! :)

  2. Crafter says:

    This looks potentially very exciting I guess. There are a lot of details about this thing except that it does VR.
    Valve being a game company, I would have expected a couple of game announcements thrown in as well.
    It has become a joke to mention that game, but Half Life 3 + VR ? That sounds like insta-buy.

    • Martel says:

      This was the HTC announcement so there could be more on valve’s side.

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      And exclusive to the Steam Box, so they might actually start selling them.

      The truth is that HL3 might never exist. Let’s try for a moment to put ourselves in Valve’s shoes: they have an almost pristine reputation and the HL series has “main religion” status, how can they possibly release a sequel with no hope in the universe to match the expectations?

      • Rindan says:

        Valve will never do exclusive to Steam box. If they do, they are fools beyond all imagine. They can take all of their PC love karma that has let them build an empire, and toss it in the trash forever and ever. I worship at the feet of Valve and give thanks to our PC Master Race Lord and Savior, Gabe but I sure as fuck won’t throw away my God Machine to get a shitty little Steam box. It would also be a complete about face from their current direction, which is to spread all the PC games to all the things in all the places.

        Nah. This will be open to all things made of computer. The only thing Valve has to do to utterly saturate the market and leave Oculus Rift stammering in surprise about how thoroughly they got just got run over is to simply release it with Half Life 3. It doesn’t have to be an exclusive, and it doesn’t have to exclude the Rift, just release it with Half Life 3 fully supported, make it so it is awesome, and release before the Oculus Rift does. Do that, and they will sell literally millions overnight.

        • Cinek says:

          Never say never. It’s Valve. If people won’t adopt SteamOS willingly – Valve will push it down their throats.

          • Rindan says:

            Yes, like the way they forcefully push down all their stuff down our throats like they always do… WTF are you talking about? You think that Valve, a software marketplace, is suddenly going to destroy its hilariously lucrative store to push shitty Linux consoles on people for no margin that would also cut people off from 95% of their titles?

            Ok.

            Any other intelligent kernels of wisdom you want to add?

          • Wisq says:

            They launched Steam by forcing it on all existing Half-Life players (and then making HL2 exclusive to it as well).

            If something makes long term business sense — and they seem to be quite adept at figuring out what makes long term business sense — they’re willing to piss people off to get there.

          • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

            Well, i actually meant that sentence as a joke, but it’s interesting where the discussion ended up.

            I’m not sure my nightmare scenario would really turn into reality, but yeah, i guess we can never know. One thing i’m a little skeptical about though: i’m not sure they are so adept at figuring that kind of thing out, maybe you’re right and it’s true, but maybe they simply got lucky with Steam since the whole thing created a snow ball effect that gave PC a whole new dimension.

            Maybe it was foreseen, sure, but with a high degree of risk to it, much like they’re now trying to venture very heavily into hardware, except that is not entirely going as planned this time.

          • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

            To further iterate: Valve is quite naive when it comes to most things, like their steambox that has no defined specs, not even a tiered one, just like it’s produced by anyone and in the end it’s just a simple OS at the end of the day.

            By all means, they’re weird, which means that some times they get one thing incredibly right and the next one might be an extreme mess. I’m sure the Steambox ( as a sort of console ) could have worked better than just the OS if only there were some clear pointers and a modular form of upgrade that is “tested”, “supported” and documented. Then they could give out labels like “blackbox” “redbox” greenbox” and give out votes for various games tied to how they run with them, like optimal on “redbox” and above.

            But even this could potentially fail, the SteamBox afterall is incredibly dependant on the resurgence of OpenCL and the death of Windows as the primary desktop gaming choice. I hoped they could at least try and spearhead the change, at least a little, but the whole thing died well ahead of that.

          • Razumen says:

            If I recall correctly there were standardized tiers released awhile back for the Steambox, the highest I think actually had two Titans in it.

    • schlusenbach says:

      I would want to play HL3 as a fast shooter with mouse and keyboard. But fast first-person-movement is not advisable with a VR-headset, so that would be a very different game.

    • soopytwist says:

      Stick around for GDC on Thursday, Valve have something to announce. Oh and at EGX Rezzed on the 13th too.

  3. Carr0t says:

    15m square? Good God, my living room isn’t even *5*m square… I guess in the States houses are often a lot bigger? Still wonder what happens when you get to a wall. Surely it needs some kind of foot walking pad thing so you can walk endlessly?

    • Bodge says:

      It mentions 15 feet on the site rather than metres. Probably things getting lost in translation.

    • cafeoh says:

      This actually amounts to a bit over 20 m² if I’m not mistaken. And if your living room is less than 5 m² I’m not sure you can legally call it a living room, you couldn’t really fit more than a single sitting person in such a room. :)

      • Syra says:

        Why are you taking the piss out of his tiny house?

      • sarcinelli says:

        Nope, 15 ft² = 1.39355 m² that’s not that impressive…

        • ANeM says:

          It isn’t 15 ft², it is 15ft x 15ft, which is 225 ft² or close to 21m²

          • Asurmen says:

            Am I living in bizarro world here? The guy you’re replying to was wrong but 15 x 15 IS 15 squared.

          • Press X to Gary Busey says:

            15 x 15 = 15²
            1′ = 0,30480m (I reject sensible significant digit accuracy).
            1’² —> 0,09290304m² (it’s more fun to use ‘ instead of “ft” to add possible confusion with the prime symbol or exponent 1).
            15’² —> 0,09290304m² x 15 = 1,3935456m²
            I marked a 1,4m x 1,4m area on my floor and the tracking footprint is about one full step in any direction when standing in the center.
            Imaginary visual aid: About a virtual two-player Dance Dance Revolution mat if you allow shoving.

          • Koozer says:

            Asureman: 15×15 == 15^2, but that doesn’t apply as we’re converting from feet to square feet. It’s a room 15′ long by 15′ wide. One square foot is 1’x1′. A 2′ x 2′ room would be 4 square feet. To get a two dimensional unit you multiply the 2 one dimensional units, so 15′ by 15′ room gives 225 square feet.

          • Koozer says:

            More fun with maths:
            15′ = 4.572m

            4.472 x 4.572 = 20.903m^2

          • Asurmen says:

            Koozer, how does it not apply?

          • Asurmen says:

            NM. An edit button, an edit button, my non existent kingdom for an edit button.

  4. Ba5 says:

    This has to be compatible with Oculus Rift software to stand a chance. Noone is going to buy 2 VR headsets for their PC.

    • hamilcarp says:

      The idea here is to beat Oculus to the market.

    • fish99 says:

      Rift isn’t out yet though, just dev kits. If people have a choice which to buy this christmas, and the headsets are roughly as good, a lot of gamers will go with Valve, assuming Valve can catch up on the software and dev support side (which surely they can with Steam behind them). Also who is going to be more dedicated to making VR work for gaming – Valve or Facebook?

      • Mr Coot says:

        Mm. Quite. Valve will have this sewn up, if they are spot on with timing and supported titles. There is quite a bit of background aggression amongst enthusiast gamers for facebook. I’m quite excited for it, but I don’t think I’ll get one. Kind of feel too old for putting stuff on my head while playing games. Unless it’s a pair of pants. Steambox though, if they can come thru with something decent for that, I will be doing obeisance in the Temple of Gabe while handing over munnies and wiping the dust of evil MS OSes from my feet forever.

    • Clavus says:

      SteamVR actually sports a generic API for VR headsets to use. Both Oculus and Valve known that creating these open standards is what’s needed to grow a VR market in the first place. Valve won’t lock their VR apps to just the HTC headset. It wouldn’t surprise me if more manufactures announced they’re making a headset for SteamVR (somewhat like what they did with Steam Machines).

  5. liquidsoap89 says:

    Well if Valve actually does something Valvey with this (ie. something game related), then it’ll be huge. That’s pretty much a guarantee now. It’s good that the Rift will have some proper competition now, but of course the worry begins as to whether multiple headsets will end up being a good thing or not. If games can be made to work on whatever headset people buy, then cool, make millions of ’em. But if we start getting in to exclusive territory then things are going to start getting messy.

    I look forward to seeing more from this, and whatever Oculus can compete with.

    • Rindan says:

      I doubt people will do exclusives. I bet it will look more like graphics cards. Games might have glitches between one card or the other that they fix, but no one does an nVidia exclusive. I would be utterly shocked to see Valve try and do an exclusive. Their entire shtick is to spread all the PC games to all the things.

      I don’t think Valve even really has a dog in the fight. I have a feeling this is Valve just defending the PC market and their place in it. In the same way Steam box was a way to try and defend PC market from Windows 8 stupidity and the fear of a Windows app store (lol, some threat that turned out to be), I think this is just defending against Oculus going full Facebook stupid. If Oculus was alone on the field for PCs, they could try and leverage that power to make exclusives, bypass Valve, or focus too much on the dumb shit Facebook wants. In a world with a VR headset that works with Steam, Oculus really has no choice. They have to adhere to an open standard, they have to play nice with Steam, and if they try and make anything Facebook exclusive people (at least gamers) will just not use it. This is also a kick in Oculus’s ass to release something worthy, quicker.

      I have a feeling that Valve doesn’t give two shits if they make money on this so long as it protects the Steam store. A few bucks split with HTC on a consumer product that people are going to by at most once very couple of years is a rounding error for what Valve brings in with Steam. This is all about Valve defending themselves from a new technology trying cut them off from the market and making sure that there is no such thing as an Oculus Store, or if there is one, it is about as exciting for gamers as the Windows 8 store is.

      Nah, this is all good for the PC gamers of the world. Valve will force an open standard on all parties with an iron fist, clocked in a PC loving velvet glove. ALL HAIL GABE!

  6. Bodge says:

    from the site – “Couple the headset with a pair of Steam VR base stations to track your physical location (in spaces up to 15 feet by 15 feet)”

    Looks like feet, not metres. Not quite sure of the phrasing though “up to”, i guess the stations don’t work further apart than that?

  7. Rodman1_r2 says:

    It’s about time someone is actually firm on a release window, it’s been way too long for that to happen. It’ll finally force Oculus and others to get serious about moving forward and finalizing consumer versions.

  8. Danda says:

    HTC = Half-Life Three Confirmed.

    That’s some Master Level trolling right there :)

  9. ruaidhri.k says:

    thats a Chig at the 32 second mark right … basically i’m more hopeful of a space:above and beyond season 2 that HL3.

    • Osi says:

      hah I’m not the only one who picked up on the chig.
      I do wish they’d make another Space: Above and Beyond, but I suspect they’ve thoroughly put that one to rest :(
      Still cool that others picked up on it :)

    • Darkheart says:

      Damn! I knew I have seen that guy before. It’s been too long. Space is probably the best scifi series there ever was. The Christmas episode made me tear up… Huge bummer that it was canceled after just one season. I guess they just reused some Space material to safe monies. Sadly a season 2 of Space is just as likely as HL3 this year, I guess.

      • vlonk says:

        Good Scifi has the tendency to get canned prematurely. A last Hurrah! to this brilliant series.

    • Alien426 says:

      High 5!

      (It’s obviously set on Yavin 4. Therefore, Disney revivies S:AAB in a Star Wars crossover!)

    • Press X to Gary Busey says:

      Damn all good sci-fi getting canceled prematurely. :(
      I rewatched it a few years ago and it totally holds up. The space battle CG has aged as badly as I though.

      And Space IS an ocean: link to youtube.com

  10. TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

    One day… One day, i swear, they will give up with this VR nonsense.

    20 years later, they’ll resurrect it, and the cycle shall continue.

    • Asurmen says:

      And if it’s successful?

      • TormDK says:

        AR has a much better chance of being successful in this day and age, so I’ll have to go with HoloLens over this “Vive” thingy, if indeed we are forced to put things on our heads that ain’t headsets.

        • ResonanceCascade says:

          After the wild success of Google Glass, I think you must be right. Who would want to enter and explore stunningly-realized virtual worlds when you can check email and receive texts straight to your glasses?

          • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

            I’m already exploring such virtual worlds, with the exception that i’m doing so with a high quality monitor and hi-fi system.

            Maybe i’m not inside the thing as much as people addicted to VR are, but at least the colors are good.

          • Distec says:

            I’m not sure VR addiction is a real thing yet… but I hope to God it is in the near future.

        • cafeoh says:

          Hehe, I’m wondering if you’re being serious or not.
          I mean VR has been tried a couple of time (I wouldn’t call it cycle though, I think there’s been only 2 times where VR got taken seriously before this, at the very beginning with the first vector HMD when pixels didn’t even exist, and then a bit later with the virtual boy) but the technology wasn’t even close to being there. Today it’s pretty obvious the technology is there, and people are crazy excited about it after trying it out (unlike Hololens where Microsoft just puts a hypey trailer and makes some terribly stiff and unreassuring live demos).

          As John Carmack said, AR is awesome, but it’s way way too early for it, we’re not even close to having the technology for that kind of stuff. We’d need some crazy recognition technology, and the only thing looking even barely viable right now in the imaging research are neural networks. We need bigger, more sophisticated neural networks (which is a stretch), then make them work in real-time with very low latency (which is a huge stretch) and THEN embed all of that into lightweight gear (which is nothing short of science-fiction today).

          AR undoubtedly has a future but I’m afraid it might not be ours. In any case, VR and AR have two very distinct purposes as one replaces reality and the other supplement it. But if there’s one thing VR is perfect for, it’s video games.

          • Rodman1_r2 says:

            I take your point, and I’m a little skeptical about HoloLens until I hear more about it (or even get to try it myself), since I’ve listened to several of Carmack’s talks and like you said, the big problem is latency. I think he said even a lag of something like 4ms and the projected world isn’t stable on the real world, you can see it slightly lagging behind everything.

            What was surprising about the articles about the HoloLens from that first press event was that no one said anything about the world not being stable, about there being lag. People mentioned lag in the input method with your hands, typical of Kinect type hardware/software, but nothing about the visuals, which gives me hope. The lack of lag might be due to MS’s approach, said to be having a dedicated GPU and VR processor in the lenses themselves. I don’t believe I’ve heard of anyone else trying or developing a dedicated “VR acceleration” chip yet, and it seems like it’d be a good way to approach the problem.

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        3D has been succesfull aswell, for a time, now it’s already a tired old gimmick that depends on a trick, not an actual 3D plane.

        Virtual reality is a nice idea when it comes to the concept at large, but not when you’re supposed to glue a brick in your face and stare too closely to extremely low quality tiny monitors.

        The whole interface is a great problem, we want to bring a portion of future to the present ignoring the impossibility of having the entire package, which probably won’t be a brick in your face. I’m all for embracing the future, i’m simply against half assed attempts done when we still don’t have the means to get the real deal.

        I’m just saying that the icecream should be invented after the freezer, not before.

        • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

          Also, i’m a decent fan of Valve, and it already pains me enough to see them destroy a good chunk of their admittedly large pool of money on a Steam Box that is already dead, i don’t think they need another failed project.

        • fish99 says:

          How is 3D a trick? It renders two images of the virtual world from different perspectives and sends one to each eye. That’s exactly how you perceive depth in the real world. It’s using the same depth perception part of your brain. There’s no trick there.

          • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

            The real world is a 3d plane, it’s not a flat screen.

            Besides, you can’t compare the two things, if it’s true that you don’t have depth perception with just one eye, it’s also true that it’s still better than watching 3D content designed for glasses without glasses, and even if you use them you’re limited by other complex optic problems.

            That’s why it’s a trick, if you were watching a proper 3D holographic rendition if your movie/game you’d have a far different and better experience, but that would only happen assuming such technology reached an extremely high level of advancement.

            Our technology is not there, it’s barely fit to display a decent image 2D image with a flat panel as even the widespread LCD tech we use is a pathetic thing that needs a backlight and thus incapable of producing blacks. 3D can’t be had in a natural way, VR can’t be had without the need of strapping stuff in your face.

            Why do we need to be obsessed by the next big thing if what we currently have could already use various other levels of refinement? I’m not against progress, i just wish our culture focused less about features and more about quality.

          • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

            Want an example? going back to my comment about LCD and backlight, you know what happened with LEDs? Since people wanted the useless “feature” of an even slimmer screen, now most LED screens are not even backlit anymore, but EDGE lit. Hello bleeding!

            Now you’ll ask, how is this relevant? It is, because now we want VR, it’s a cool new thing, too bad it can’t be had with a decent quality level yet. But who cares! It’s a new exciting feature, that’s all that matters!

          • fish99 says:

            The world IS a plane when formed on the retina of your eyes. Nothing you said there is relevant to whether 3D is a trick. 3D only works because it uses the depth perception of your brain by sending 2 images of differing perspective to your visual cortex. Ergo it is not a trick. A trick would be to create the same effect using a different method than using your eyes and brain. if you don’t get that this is a pointless debate.

            Also glasses are irrelevant, that’s just the way you make sure the left image gets to only the left eye and vice versa. And glasses-free 3D looks exactly the same as 3D with glasses. I have 3D Vision, I have a 3DS, the 3D effect is identical. Neither look ‘more’ 3D.

          • Zaxwerks says:

            You are slightly misunderstanding how your eyes work. You have things called ciliary muscles around the lenses in your eyes. To focus light from close objects onto your retina those muscles have to contract to thicken the lens, to see far objects it has to flatten the lens to for us the light. With VR your eyes are trying to look at things they think are near or far, but your lens mustn’t distort even though it wants to but focus on a fixed distance of the VR screen…. which is an unnatural thing for your eyes to do, which leads to an unnatural straining of your eye muscles and is tiring and not healthy if done continuously.

          • Zaxwerks says:

            …plus when looking at things far away your eyes are virtually parallel but when looking a close objects they converge (put your finger on the end of your nose and try and look at it to see what I mean) again with a flat VR screen your eyes are unnaturally forced to stop doing that… again bad for the eyes if done continuously.

          • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

            All of the guy above me said plus this: it’s still a trick because for it to work the screen has to produce a weird image that is then realigned by your glasses, but this hampers image quality and creates halos around the object that are supposed to be 3D-ified, and i don’t believe you never noticed this effect.

            Our eyes are made to see depth that actually exists, not depth that is simulated inside a 2D plane, this is the same reason why a high refresh monitor looks smoother, because our eyes are still looking at something that has a discrete amount of refreshes, while the real world doesn’t do anything like that and the only limit is in our eyes.

          • cafeoh says:

            @Zaxwerks

            Your first point is true, our lens deform in real life to accommodate with the origin of the light, thus blurring everything too close or too far from that depth focus. Although this blurryness could be simulated with a depth of field effect and eye tracking, we still couldn’t easily force the user to bend their eye to focus on different point.
            This is not something frequently rose up by VR users because even if it takes a bit of the immersive experience, it incidentally is more a feature than a real problem. This lens bending thing is extremely straining to the eyes and older persons have a much more stiff lens making it very hard for them to switch focus easily. As a matter of fact, VR is a theoretical blessing (we don’t quite have the resolution right now) for people with visual impairement.

            Your second point is wrong though. “Eye crossing” is responsible for the fact that you see two images of whatever is behind or in front of your point of focus (while lens bending is responsible for these images being blurry). This is the main effect needed to be replicated for simulating 3D, without it there’s isn’t anything left but two identical images.

            All that being said, static 3D for movies, video games and such is very much gimmicky yes. I don’t believe VR is though.

        • Dave L. says:

          “I’m just saying that the icecream should be invented after the freezer, not before” Um… You know that ice cream was invented a thousand odd years before the freezer was, right?

          • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

            Nitpicking aside, you can hopefully still see the point.

        • Rodman1_r2 says:

          I can’t reply to your later comment, so replying to this earlier one.

          As far as 3d movies, I agree that they will probably never get bigger than they currently are, in their current form. I believe you’re alluding to the problem of how people’s eyes focus at a single distance (the theater screen, at some medium distance), but have to converge and different points, which causes eyestrain/headaches, etc
          link to rogerebert.com

          But from what I remember, Oculus’ approach is a little different in that the lenses in the device make it so that your eyes are always focused at ‘infinity’, and not some variable medium distance, which I think may solve the problem of eyestrain/headaches in the way that 3d movies cause this.

          • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

            Yeah but it’s not only that, you still need to give a sense of depth using something that is flat. VR might indeed have some form of advantage because it can better play with our eyes and brain, but doing so with optics and a screen right in front of your retina is still something not optimal.

            If we had the means to create a proper holographic field all around us we wouldn’t even need that brick and our brain would even be even more easily convinced.

            I can’t say if VR will die or not for the second or third time, all i can say is if that it reappears in another 20 years we might have the means to convince even stubborn-me for once.

          • CookPassBabtridge says:

            Hello mister penguin. Honest question, how much time have you spent with the DK2? A friend of mine had the same view, quite vehemently, until he tried it. He said “ooh I had no idea it was like THAT”. Now he wants one :) If you’ve got one or spent time with it and are honestly unimpressed fair enough, but the box on the face thing disappeared for me once the “wow” kicked in. Its not that heavy but does mess your hair up :)

          • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

            Uhm, but are you sure he actually had the same view or perhaps he was just skeptical about VR as a whole?

            I mean, i honestly think it’s exciting, i’m merely pointing out the various drawbacks of the current implementation. Surely some people are going to love it even now, much like i loved DA:I because i don’t mind some pointless padding here and there, which made other people not quite as resistant to it hate it.

            I’ll admit, i probably might enjoy the current VR, i just wish the gaming world didn’t focus so much on it right now with so little means to reach it’s fullest potential, much in the same way as i don’t like the race to 4k, 5k and 8k well before we first focus on bringing OLED and unlimited contrast to the masses ( and not the cheap smartphone version of it ), without it being locked like this thing to the professional market.

          • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

            Ultimately it’s just me having a different tastes and wishing the effort and budget of most companies to go towards different goals.

            Egoistic to an extent, yes, but at the same time the things i’m asking for are low risk and not going to be a dead end, but an increase in the quality of what we already use and known to work. VR might no be a dead end either, but it’s surely a higher risk, especially for Valve that already dropped so much on their steam boxes for little reason.

            I mean, i get it they’re rich, but still.

          • CookPassBabtridge says:

            I’d love to give you a go on my DK2, and I really hope you get a chance to try VR. Your arguments are all good, but actual contact with it is really its strongest defence and I’d love to see what you thought after a jaunt in it. As Carmack said, it makes converts on contact, and its very much a felt experience. Those nerd tears reported in elite dangerous VR are completely understandable :)

    • fish99 says:

      One day I swear they’ll give up on this colour TV thing and go back to black and white.

      • Synesthesia says:

        I mean, there are still a THOUSAND shades of gray we haven’t been able to reproduce on our tv’s… geez.

      • The_invalid says:

        Conversely, I find the idea that the future of TV is supposedly one which only you can see, have to strap directly to your face and means you can’t see anything else to be a bit of a fool’s errand, honestly.

        • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

          There, have a couple spare internets.

        • MrUnimport says:

          What a silly thing to say. 99% of the time the same is true of my computer monitor.

    • Osi says:

      I think VR has its niches.
      The first time I used it was in a Dual Amiga 400 mech simulator in the 90’s. It blew my mind.
      Today, using it in Elite Dangerous- similarly so.
      Would I use it in a shooter? probably not.

  11. Koshinator says:

    There is a slight possibility that this isn’t the only hmd valve will be announcing, and that valve is concentrating on the motion control interface and middleware for multiple hmds, from different manufacturers.

    • Axess Denyd says:

      That is a very pleasant thought.

    • Fatbubba says:

      I think that is indeed very likely. The goggles say HTC, not Valve. I reckon this is just one of those partnerships like Steam Machines and that they indeed work with multiple manufacturers while expanding Steamworks to incorporate a base for the VR systems.

      • Axess Denyd says:

        I would really like to see Oculus/OSVR join them too. A common SDK and such for all major headsets would definitely be preferable to fragmenting the market at this early stage.

  12. Monkeh says:

    In before the inevitable delay ’till 2016. :P

    • iniudan says:

      Well the dev version of the VR headset is announced for spring and the consumer version for the holiday.

  13. Stevostin says:

    Just read the specification and I am skeptical to say the least.
    – 1200*1080 is either way too square or those aren’t square pixels. Now if you remember than 3D will actually halve the vertical resolution it actually means 1200*540. Bye bye text.
    – 1/10th of degree tracking sensibility so for say one 100° sight cone I understand the thing will support 1000 view angle (horizontaly). By comparison to modern mouses, this doesn’t sound very accurate but maybe I am getting this wrong.
    – no headphones included. Very clumsy.
    – also need the extra controlers. Seems like a complicated device.
    – do I really see myself wearing this ? not sure :P

    For now Hollolens, while probably less developed industrially, sounds to me like a way more mature take on the topic of headsets.

    • liquidsoap89 says:

      The vertical resolution doesn’t get cut in half with these. The horizontal resolution is doubled between the two lenses.

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      The 1280 x 1080 number is per eye, which would mean that the nearly square shape would actually be perfect. I’m sure Valve has some software-side tricks for rendering at that insane level at 75+ fps. Non-native? New crazy optimizations? Sacrificing an orphan child to the graphics gods? Who can say.

      I’m far from sold on it, but the fact that Valve bothered to make it rather than just work with Oculus tells me that it’s probably going to be pretty interesting.

      • Wisq says:

        Decent modern video cards can do 1440p, and that’s 42% more pixels to push. So it doesn’t require an insane rig at all. I’ve got three-year-old graphics cards (albeit extremely high-end ones at the time) that can do smooth 1440p.

    • iniudan says:

      it is 1200 x 1080 for each eye, so 2400 x 1080 total resolution. And they don’t need to to interlay image for 3D, this is not shutter 3D glass tech, each eye get a different screen.

    • cafeoh says:

      – 2 screens, not a single one like the oculus
      – A tenth of an angle is plenty, but you’ll just have to believe me
      – If you have any interest in sound quality you’ll not ask VR developers to put a headset in for you. If you’re a VR developer and is an absolute master in sound restitution you’ll still refrain from putting one in because you know your audience will want their awesome unmatched Beats headsets. If you don’t care about sound quality then you might argue this product is not for you, but they will still have made the right choice considering you’d be a minority in that market.
      – I don’t understand, do you want a controller wired to your headset? If you just want a controller shipped with then that’s crazy, should they also ship a joystick, an arcade stick, a mouse and a keyboard with? I’m not being cynic here, there is not point to increase the price for something most people already have or won’t care about
      – You won’t see yourself wearing it, you’ll have a huge chunk of plastic on your head. If you care about your appearance while wearing a VR headset you’re in the wrong hobby buddy :P

  14. tehfish says:

    VRT: Virtual Reality Thinger

    Does sound a much better name than vive, it even has VR in the initials!

    Clearly we should get RPS to name all new technologies :D

  15. serioussgtstu says:

    I’m Skeptical. All of Valves forays into hardware have so far been half baked. I know they want people to get their hands dirty messing around with SteamOS and custom joy pads, but seriously, as a consumer I have no faith in Valve that they won’t just ditch the project on a whim like they did with the first batch of Steam machines.

    I am however happy to see that Oculus is no longer the only manufacturer putting out open source VR headsets, they need the competition.

  16. ThatFuzzyTiger says:

    Well, Oculus now has about 6-8 months to get their CV1 out into the wild, if they want to be first to market. But then I think this was well known. It’s been one of these things that’s been slowly rumbling and gathering up into a storm that’s due to break, and it seems like this year will be when we see everything happen. Oculus, Valve, probably Sony will decamp their project Morpheus stuff as well. Exciting times ahead.

  17. newc0253 says:

    A toilet attachment, you say?

    No worries. Just set up a MMORPG and eventually someone will craft one for you.

  18. jrodman says:

    I look forward to tripping over my coffee table on an alien planet.

  19. amateurviking says:

    I don’t have my specs on and I thought it was called the ‘Vlve’. Vive isn’t much of an improvement to be honest.

    WRT to the tech I have concerns. I have a 2.5k monitor that looks great from 3 feet away that my not exactly cheap 970 can hit 45-60 frames in most recent games with reasonable bell and whistlieness:

    Three things:

    2.5k 3 centimetres from my eyeballs is not going to be screendoorless.

    My computer, and I imagine the majority of the Steam install base, is not going to hit 90fps at 2.5k for these things – so what’s the point?

    I still worry that the only games this is going to be good for are games where your avatar is sitting down, so hardly the revolution that’s being predicted.

  20. Koinzellgaming says:

    Competition~~! God, gotta love dat competition.. I really hope that all the VR providers will go tooth for nail against each other, so that the “Plug-in VR” would become a reality quicker! Though tbh it needs to do evolve multiple times before it becomes something that would have complete immersion without having to play with a controller or keyboard.

  21. racccoon says:

    Optometrists DREAM!… the VI-VE or vifth or vfive
    GIMME money now you fucked your vision.
    If you don’t have a nose like MOther big conker!! we build you one!
    An added bonus! your neck’s going to slip some discs & you can see yourself on operating table!
    so lets see the specs….
    A loss of vision & loss of movement in your neck through fusion! NICE ONE!

  22. SAM-site says:

    Pretty sure it’s called the Re-vive, not just “vive”. They used a swanky font in the video, and the HTC site seems to be on a similar page. Happy to be wrong…

  23. Spacewalk says:

    It sounds more like a shampoo than a sex toy if you ask me. One of those ones with fruit or vegetable extract in it.

  24. TheTurkeyDrumstick says:

    If they are going to release the dev-kit [i]after[/i] the consumer product, I certainly hope that it is more or less compatible with the Oculus SDK. Otherwise it is going to be one long heck of a while before there actually is any software to use with the thing.

    • Rodman1_r2 says:

      Assumedly since this is ‘Valve’s’ VR headset, it’ll be compatible with all of Valve’s Source engine games, and I’m actually really looking forward to playing a VR version of Half-Life 2. I assume they’re working on such a version.

      Or maybe, Valve will make HL3 (when they eventually do make it) tailored for VR…. one can hope.

      • CookPassBabtridge says:

        There is already VR mode built into half life 2. If you have an oculus you can play it :) Its awesome and the first time I met Barney I nearly shat. The movement sadly makes you feel very ill, a problem with shooters.

  25. celticdr says:

    This is all very exciting stuff if they can get the resolution sharper I’m in – having played around with the DK2 I can see that VR won’t be at an acceptable resolution until it’s about 4k per eye… but yeah great to see some competition now in the VR market.

  26. PancreaticDefect says:

    Of course it sounds dildo-y. What? You think the main application for VR headsets is going to be games? You sweet innocent journalist.

  27. Stinkfinger75 says:

    While all this VR stuff is great, I’m more interested in Valve and their eye tracking hardware. To me that is the true next level tech, surely the Vive can handle this.

  28. Synesthesia says:

    oo, nice. Competition was sorely needed, specially after the old dark ones bought oculus. Between this, the microsoft AR glasses, and OR… it’s kinda happening, right? Is it happening? I hope it happens.

  29. Don Reba says:

    So… basically living inside videogames, then? I mean, they don’t mention a toilet attachment, but I’m sure someone will mod one in before long.

    They are called diapers.

  30. Thirdrail says:

    You know, if Valve refuses to allow Oculus Rift games on Steam, Oculus Rift is pretty much dead on arrival. I suspect this VR headset is going to win.

    • Don Reba says:

      More likely Valve will make sure that Rift and Vive are interoperable.

  31. Morcane says:

    A bit of competition is always a good thing, since it’ll make parties hurry the hell up instead of all this talk (Hey Palmer Lucky!)

  32. Nemon says:

    The trailer is 1:11 long. Three one’s. Amount three. This doesn’t mean anything at all :/

    • jezcentral says:

      Is it true they are giving a presentation on the third of March, at 3pm? ;)

  33. spacejumbo says:

    No one seems to like the name vive, so good thing it’s not called that.

    Try watching the end of the video again. Silly fonts, but like like revive to me.

    • Don Reba says:

      I like vive. It must be better if you speak Spanish.

    • YoYo says:

      The title of the youtube video is “HTC RE Vive”, the title on their webpage is the same (well, I know…, who looks at the webpage titles anymore…)

      • spacejumbo says:

        Yes, so maybe spelt ‘RE Vive’, but definitely not just the dildo like vive.

    • fylth says:

      Apparently “Re” is a new line of HTC hardware, so this is the HTC Re – Vive, I imagine there will be a bunch of tech with names that make sense with Re- added to the beginning

  34. Scumbag says:

    “And out by this Christmas.”

    Translation via google translate set to “Valve time”: Christmas 2025.

  35. trjp says:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – VR is a dead-end and the combination of Valve and HTC only confirms that in my mind (a software company known for never finishing stuff and a hardware company in serious decline) – Nokia will be in next ;0

    The only thing I saw over the weekend which was VR-related and made me think “well at least that makes sense” was the headset which takes the new Samsung Phone as it’s screen – the idea of a headset which does the tracking whilst you use the phone you already have as a screen at least cuts the money you’ll be wasting.

    Seriously tho – nowhere near enough people want to wear something like that just to play a game – it as actually hard to get people to wear 3D glasses (another tech dead end)!!

  36. drewski says:

    This is going to be the best time in history to play mech games, sims,and space games.

    Not sure what’s going to be in it for the rest of us though.

  37. Press X to Gary Busey says:

    I hope one of the steamboxes will be a cyberdeck with combined hardware and keyboard like the old VICs/Commodores/Amigas, complete with a shoulder strap and a (Shadowrun, not Keanu) matrix version of Big Screen mode.

  38. RayEllis says:

    I think VR has its place in gaming but I’m not sure full VR (i.e. walking around the real world whilst moving in a VR one) is the way to go. Who has that much empty space to devote in their house? Some sort of walking machine would be better, I think, that lets you rotate and move in any direction without moving. That all sounds kind of expensive to me.

    Walking around your own home whilst not actually being able to see where you are going sounds like a recipe for injury to me.

    Injury… and the inevitable law suit that would follow.

    • Don Reba says:

      I think a spinal plug with motor function bypass and direct sensor input is ultimately the way to go.

    • Razumen says:

      I think the walking aspect would be used mostly for positional movement, ie ducking, leaning around corners, etc. You’re not going to be walking around whole levels in your living room.

  39. iRaphi says:

    i see sao coming ever closer ;)

  40. DanMan says:

    Interesting. Who knew they were still working on something after handing all their stuff to Oculus?

  41. Gordon Shock says:

    ‘Vive’ though? Really? It sounds a bit dildo-y, let’s be honest.

    “Vive” is actually a French word that is a bit hard to translate because it has several meanings. The best way to describe it would be to say that it is the word equivalent of an exclamation point.

    • Don Reba says:

      Or the imperative form of Spanish “vivir” — to live.

  42. Gordon Shock says:

    Strange because intuitively people would think that “Vivre (“to live” in French) would be the imperative of “Vive” but it is not. I think that the Spanish equivalent to “Vive” would be “Viva”…as in Viva la revolution!

    • Don Reba says:

      “Viva” is the third-person imperative form of “vivir”. Long live the revolution!