Vive; Virtual Reality From HTC And Valve Coming This Year


It looks like today is the day Valve finally reveals the extent of what they’ve been working on within virtual reality. The digital distribution and, now, hardware company is teaming up with HTC to create Vive; a SteamVR-powered virtual reality headset designed for the PC. What makes the announcement so surreal is that developers will have their hands on the product this Spring, while HTC and Valve intend on selling Vive to consumers by the holidays this year.

Vive Hardware Specifications:

  • 1200 x 1080 per eye
  • 90 hz refresh rate
  • 110 degrees FOV
  • 3 ms pixel persistence
  • 360 inside-out audio tracking
  • Wireless hand-tracking hardware
  • Headphone jacks on either ear side
  • Laser positioning for head position accuracy down to 1/10 degree accuracy
  • VR base stations for 15 x 15 feet tracking for VR world movement
  • Controller for each hand, allowing for interactivity within the virtual world.

As The Verge reports, while gaming is certainly a focus (with having Valve and the Steam network on hand, it makes sense), Vive has a multimedia angle driving development, as well. HBO and Google are the high-profile partners onboard with the VR device right now, as well as the company that recently invested in Telltale Games to create Super Shows: Lionsgate. There was no price point announced at this time, yet there will be more details ahead at GDC 2015.

It should be noted that at 1200×1080 pixels per eye, the technical specifications of the Vive and its visual resolution outshines that of the Oculus Rift, which sports 960x1080p per eye with the Dev II kit and just 75 hz refresh rate in comparison to the Vive’s 90 hz. More importantly, we’re starting to see multiple developers take non-standard gaming reality seriously. Sony has Project Morpheus for PS4, Microsoft has Hololens augmented reality for Windows 10 and Oculus Rift will face off against HTC’s Vive within the PC realm.

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Competition is good, even if it means an ever-expanding market that appears to be crowding tighter by the month. As long as we don’t enter a new patent troll era within virtual reality, the tech specifications for Vive should have Oculus working to improve their product ahead of its release. Letting one company dictate the future of an important field such as virtual reality could stifle innovation that comes true when trying to outwit, out create and outlast your opponents.

Here’s hoping the future of gaming has space for what’s standard now and the virtual/augmented reality vision that so many share. As much as I’m interested to see how Valve and HTC can make Vive work, the way gaming is played now shouldn’t be forced to adapt these types of gameplay experiences. The option to play either/or style at launch, however, would be quite interesting.

We’ll be on the lookout for more information about Vive in the days ahead, leading up to GDC 2015.

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