HTC Vive: The VR Headset Valve And HTC Built

Sound the alarm: Valve is getting into the virtual reality business with the help of HTC. Meet the Vive headset: the most ambitious VR project to date.

It's only a developer pilot right now, but HTC wants to have this thing under your Christmas tree by the end of 2015.

Designed in tandem with Valve, the HTC Vive aims to push the envelope when it comes to virtual reality.

While other headsets like the Oculus Rift and the Samsung Gear VR feature head-tracking in a static environment (positional VR), the Vive is designed to let the user move around a virtual environment and interact with it by simply walking around a room.

It's what HTC is calling Full Room Scale. It wants you to stand anywhere in the room and look at a virtual object through the head-mounted display at any angle. The device knows where you are in relation to the object and renders it appropriately based on your position.

The Vive will also support what HTC is calling Tracked Controllers so you can simulate your hands in the virtual environment to hold, touch and interact with various objects. Feel like crouching down behind a box in Counter Strike and leaning out to take a shot with the gun you're fake-holding? You got it.

HTC says that Valve has been key in the development of the Vive, adding that it runs on SteamOS. It has to be tethered to a Mac or PC to run in the initial stages, and features a stereoscopic display inside the unit, similar to the Oculus Rift.

It's not a phone-based solution simply because HTC doesn't believe that dropping a device in front of your face is "true VR". "We're talking about having a sensory experience that's beyond just your eyes," HTC told us at a briefing last night.

Valve will be releasing software to developers that allow them to build games for VR environments, and HTC has been queueing up partners to work with the Vive. Partners include HBO, Lionsgate, Fireproof Games, Bossa Studios, Cloudhead, Owlchemy, Vertigo Games, Google, Skillman and Hackett, Dovetail and Steel Wool Games.

Valve will also announce more in relation to the Vive at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco this month, with developers expected to get their hands on the device soon ahead of a consumer launch by year's end.

WATCH MORE: PC Gaming News


Comments

    Yay Occulus. Go Morpheus. Woohoo Gear. Hooray Vive.

    The VR waters are warm now Valve, time to throw in those chips you've been sitting on. All this competition will just drive prices down for us, the consumer.

    Hopefully all these proprietary SDK's don't splinter the market.

      Nah, they'll just make Half-Life 3 exclusive to the Vive. Market conquered.

      Last edited 02/03/15 4:56 am

    "Feel like crouching down behind a box in Counter Strike and leaning out to take a shot with the gun you’re fake-holding?"

    Erm... no. While I'm interested to see where VR goes, I am convinced that it is being over-hyped and that it will be a commercial fizzer. Do we even have any idea what sort of numbers the manufacturers are projecting to sell?

      Yeah, my room layout looks nothing like a counter strike map.

      I also play games specifically when I don't want to do physical things. Things like a billion squats to avoid being shot.

    The headset has three inputs at the top of the device HALF LIFE 3 VR EDITION CONFIRMED

      HTC has three letters in its name. Double confirmed.

        The letter C in HTC is the 3rd letter in the alphabet. HL3 quadfirmed.

        Last edited 02/03/15 8:31 am

          4 Halflife confirmations means Gabe is secretly telling us Halflife 4 has been delayed :(

      Actually I've been convinced for quite a while that Valve have been holding HL3 back to release it alongside a VR solution.

    So is this going to be like those Steam Machines thatc were going to revolutionize console gaming?

    I'm worried that so many companies releasing so many devices will cause them all to lack content. If each device has their own set of exclusives and deals it could leave none of them as a must buy.

      It's my understanding that they run off a similar code base.
      Carmack was apparently very big on ensuring it.

      Which ever works better with porn will win and the others will all fall away like a betamax

    I can't see how this would work. You are expected to physically move around a room with something strapped to your face. How can that end well?

      That was my question...

      Perhaps there's some level of transparency, or the positional sensors give off some kind of alarm.

      maybe it maps your room out? or you create a 'play area' and it warns you when you exit that space?

      or maybe it doesn't and you have to clean your room up and be extra careful.

      personally, I think it's just there way of saying that it will have full head tracking without the use of external tracking cameras. which is neat.

        I think it was Wired, but there was a story about the lab having QR codes stuck to walls that the headset focused on.

          I wouldn't be surprised, hopefully you only need them to calibrate the room and don't need them up all the time.

    If it works, I will dedicate a padded room in my house to have my own holodeck.

    Forget all the gimmicky stuff, someone just build one with a decent resolution and field of view.

    Now with more features I want it to have but will really barely use!

    Really though, the only feature I want if for one of these is a consumer model. Being excited for VR is now like being excited for science research equipment, or pro sports equipment: it's cool somebody has it, but somebody's not you.

    I have been expecting Microsoft make a VR headset since Morpheus was announced, but we still haven't heard anything from them. I seems like pretty much everyone is getting into VR except Microsoft.

    So given that they're following tech trends, I guess next year they'll announce a smart watch? Maybe a self driving car?

    Last edited 02/03/15 5:08 pm

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