Valve's Virtual Reality headset: Developers react

Valve's Virtual Reality headset: Developers react
Seth Tipps

By Seth Tipps

January 17th 2014 at 7:59AM

Steam Dev Days attendees wowed by 'holodeck' head mounted display

Developers at the Steam Dev Days conference in Seattle got a chance to get their hands on Valve's prototype virtual reality headset and if the noise on Twitter is an accurate judge, it's quite a piece of technology.

Comparisons with science fiction were the most common reaction; one developer said it was like being in Stark Trek's Holodeck, another said Valve was clearly “building the matrix”.

While details are scarce, it's clear the company isn't going to stop here. The conference slide pictured above suggests that Valve is targeting a 2015 release for a consumer device with 1k resolution per eye and 20ms of 'motion-to-last-photon' latency.

David Hensley of Tripwire was particularly hyperbolic, and said that going back to his Oculus Rift dev kit would be like switching from an Xbox to an 8-bit Nintendo.

“Valve’s VR demo at SteamDevDays felt like being in a lucid dream state and very much like a holo deck,” he told Twitter followers.

Compared to the Rift, Valve's device's “resolution is way higher, super low latency and accurate position/rotation head tracking. I was able to physically walk around.”

This should be taken with a few grains of salt: the tech demo reportedly took place in a room with wall markers to aid in head-tracking and, while most comparisons to the Rift are talking about a device that's about a year old, Valve's prototype certainly represents the latest stable model from the company's workshop.

Even Hensley admitted that the wall markers weren't really a viable end-user solution, and he says that no matter how excited he is about Valve's prototype, it won't stop him buying a Rift when the final product is released.

“I’m a big fan of Oculus, and will buy one :) but the valve demo really blew me away. VR is going to be amazing,” he said.

Update: Valve has said it will not be releasing its own virtual reality hardware, and will be collaborating with Oculus on the Rift headset.