Well that was fast! Seems like I just heard about Valve (Steam)’s announcement of getting into the VR game and now we see that HTC has already made one for them!
If you’re as old as me, you probably remember in the 90s how so many movies and TV shows were featuring VR like it was something we were going to be getting in our living room by the year 2000, yet it didn’t happen. Turns out computers just weren’t up to the task yet, or at least computers that normal people could afford weren’t.
Well those days may finally be over, or very close to it. Seems like now everyone is talking about VR again, from Samsung, to Oculus, and even Bjork is supposedly making a video to be released in VR! I’m super excited about a Steam VR and all the possibilities this could hold! I would love to see some social and music related software coming out with this technology!
Currently, the HTC Vive is the only virtual reality headset that’s part of Valve’s Steam VR push. That’s not because it’s the only one, but because it’s the only one we know about thus far. “You should think of the Vive as the first in the same way there are multiple Steam Machines,” Valve president Gabe Newell told me this morning. In other words, Steam VR is an open platform supported by Valve. “We’re building tools and hopefully they’re valuable to hardware partners who want to do it. In some cases, we’ll take the leadership role in shipping stuff. But we’re really just building tools for other people to continue. So you’ll see more headsets.”
That’s an important distinction. Valve handed off the announcement of its VR headset to HTC, a company known for making phones and a bizarre, strangely attractive camera. But Valve also undercut HTC’s news by announcing its own VR initiative a week earlier. It’s become clearer across the past two weeks that, while the HTC Vive is a big push for Valve, the bigger picture of SteamVR involves Valve setting up an ecosystem with free tools for any company to use. “Build it and they will come,” in so many words.