Probably some of the biggest news to hit VR in a while, Valve has decided to throw their hat into the ring with their own virtual reality and all signs are pointing to a pretty revolutionary bit of kit.
Produced in coordination with HTC as part of the company’s SteamVR push, the aptly named Index headset.
An earlier tease from UploadVR described a unit with two sensors and a 135 degree field of view (as opposed to the 110 degrees found on competing headsets from Oculus and HTC).
Interestingly, the teaser image for the Index only reveals a date: May 2019.
We don’t have any information on the technology or the hardware specs, but that’s not stopped people from speculating about it.
Many analysts think that we will see a lineup of headset while a dedicated few think that Valve is going to put all of its efforts behind one, very capable device.
The Valve Index VR headset isn’t the only thing that has garnered a lot of attention as far as SteamVR is concerned.
The controllers for the headset – the so-called Knuckles controllers – are also the subject of a lot of speculation from industry analysts.
But that’s not all that is missing from the rather vague announcement page.
It is also rumored that Valve themselves are deeply involved in creating unique content for their headset.
Yet there is absolutely no mention whatsoever of any of the alleged three games currently in development for SteamVR.
Ars Technica has not let a lack of information stop them from speculating just using the released image.
What the headset does indicate is that it seems to have two outside tracking sensors which would allow inside-out tracking to be managed entirely by the headset rather than needing extra sensors or webcams.
The Valve Index isn’t the only new VR headset on the way.
Oculus is bringing its high-powered, PC-free Quest headset as well as next iteration in the Oculus Rift family, the Rift S.
As Ars Technica points out, both of these new devices are expected to come out in Spring 2019.
Valve’s entry into the dedicated VR headset arena could be a bigger deal for virtual reality than most people realize.
If any company has the resources to challenge Sony’s early dominance in VR, Valve has the capabilities to do just that.
Above all, it signals an underlying confidence in VR as a segment that many people are trying to downplay for one reason or another.
Sure, predictions of doom often do better than stories of success, but it seems like VR is not only growing and thriving but is going to continue to do so for the foreseeable future.