Today Valve formally announced Vive, its virtual reality headset, to the world and delivered details on how the Steam-powered hardware will impact the world of VR.
To make its peripheral a reality, Valve has tapped Taiwainese smartphone maker HTC (TPE: 2498) to manufacture the hardware.
Originally prototyped at ValveVR, Vive is the finalized form of the company’s virtual reality hardware. Vive will make use of Steam VR’s tracking technology as well as tap into the platform’s array of games–but Valve has plans to embrace a wide scope beyond gaming.
With Vive, the partners claim that users will be able to literally be able to seamlessly walk around and explore the VR space thanks to the Full Room Scale 360 Degree Solution, “inspect objects from all angles and truly interact with your surroundings”.
“A gyrosensor, accelerometer, and laser position sensor combine to precisely track the rotation of your head on both axes to an accuracy of 1/10th of a degree, allowing you to look around the virtual environment naturally.”
To tap into the full potential of Vive you’ll need to hook up a pair of SteamVR “base stations” to track your movement, pretty much giving a motion capture effect within a limited 15 feet x 15 feet space.
As for visuals, Vive VR headset will simulate 1200 x 1080 high-definition images at 90 frames-per-second on two screens over each eye, promising to fill your field of vision “in all directions”.
But you’ll need to hook up your own headphones for audio immersion, as the Vive is an eyes-only experience.
As for input, HTC is creating specially designed “simple and intuitive” wireless controllers to interface with Vive, which will be fully tracked to simulate user input within the virtual space. The HTC VR Controllers will be sold and packaged in pairs.
What kind of games can Vive VR host?
A recent thread on NeoGAF showcases a very such game that could fully tap into the potential of the Vive headset. The Gallery, and upcoming project from from Cloudhead Games, looks to be a leading example as to what developers can pull off on the platform.
Below we a quote from the game’s press release that talks about what Vive means for the dev team:
“We now have a hardware target that matches the original vision for The Gallery: Six Elements. To unleash the user into full, volumetric, 360 roomscale experiences with motion control!
“The HTC and Valve VR experience offers hardware so precise and exacting that we now have the fidelity in our mechanics that we did not have access to before. You will not believe this tech until you get a chance to use it yourself. This is something to be excited about!”
But it’s not all about gaming. Valve wants to help bridge the gap between virtual reality and actual reality to change our lives.
Vive can be used to aid in communication between people across the world, simulate travel to foreign countries, and a million other possibilities.
The company is also partnering with entertainment producers like HBO and Lionsgate Films to bring immersive video experiences to the device.
Valve has already shipped out Beta versions of the Vive Developer Editions out to a variety of game devs including Vertigo Games, Bossa, Cloudhead Games, Dovetail Games, Wemo Labs, and more.
“HTC Vive is real, it’s here and it’ll be ready to go before the start of 2016,” Cher Wang, Chairwoman of HTC, said in the official press release.
Be sure to drop by the Vive VR homesite for more information or to sign-up for e-mail announcements.