One of the bigger challenges with virtual reality is getting a PC capable of running it. Right now, VR is developed to run on GPUs like the GTX 970 and R9 290 but not everyone likes to upgrade every generation, which is why Valve is working on lowering the barrier to entry by trying to get VR running on 2012-era graphics cards like the GTX 680.
Speaking about advanced rendering at the Game Developers Conference last week, Valve's Alex Vlachos talked about an upcoming rendering plugin for the Unity Engine that will allow scenes to be rendered more efficiently in VR.
Speaking with UploadVR after his presentation, Vlachos said: “As long as the GPU can hit 45 HZ we want for people to be able to run VR. We’ve said the recommended spec is a 970, same as Oculus, but we do want lesser GPUs to work. We’re trying to reduce the cost of VR.”
“I can run Aperture on a 680 without dropping frames at a lower quality, and, for me, that’s enough of a proof of concept. Most art we’re seeing in VR isn’t as dense as that. So we should be pretty good to go…everything should be able to support that low-end hardware. But we need the right safety nets in place.”
KitGuru Says: According to the Steam hardware survey, only around 15 percent of users actually meet VR requirements right now so lowering that barrier to entry could greatly increase that number. However, there are standards that still need to be maintained, like higher frame rates to avoid things like motion sickness.