Valve CEO Gabe Newell and members of the company’s virtual reality developmental team sat down recently with the Valve News Network to talk about what it’s been working on lately and what we can expect in the future. During it they discussed the idea of content before price cuts, newer, higher resolution displays and the potential for native wireless VR.
“It’s not about building better hardware, it’s about building better games,” said Newell during the chat, where he said that Valve’s hardware development was really to facilitate the creation of new content, rather than a sign that Valve would be looking to make more money from a new, hardware-focused side to the business. Indeed the fact that it partnered with HTC for its Vive headset should highlight that it’s not looking to be a mass-manufacturer.
What it is looking to do though, is help build the next-generation of headset. We can likely expect a new-generation of headset within the next couple of years, with a much higher-resolution display screen and a 200Hz refresh rate. We should also see new basestation sensors and those knuckle controllers that were seen prototyped last year.
It’s possible the new controller standard will arrive before a second generation Vive headset, but Gabe and Valve were not forthcoming about exactly when we can expect them.
When asked why VR wasn’t taking off quite as quickly as some might have expected, Newell said that he thinks it’s less to do with the price and more to do with available software. If VR hardware was 80 per cent cheaper, he doesn’t think it would be more successful than it is and in-fact that could hurt the platform. Instead Valve wants to see killer applications released for virtual reality and that’s what will aid user growth.
That’s not to say that Valve is unhappy with the current state of VR. Valve’s DJ Powers said during the chat that 30 VR apps had earned more than $250,000 so far, showing that games and content are being successful in VR and suggests that the market is going to grow and lead to bigger titles over the coming years.
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KitGuru Says: I like that Valve is taking its time with a second generation Vive release. While I wouldn’t be surprised to see a third party competitor arrive before then, it means those with Vive’s now can get their money’s worth.
[Thanks to Reddit for the heads up]