Update: We now know that Steam VR will be known as the HTC Vive, and more details will be revealed at GDC 2015. You can find out everything we know about the HTC Vive right here.
Valve, known for changing the face of PC gaming and distribution while keeping its innovations close to its chest, has announced that its SteamVR headset will be unveiled at the Game Developers Conference 2015 next week.
But, wait a minute, we didn’t see an early prototype of SteamVR at Valve’s Dev Days in January 2014, so what is it revealing?
A SteamVR developer signup page says that what we’ll see at GDC 2015 is “previously unannounced” hardware, which suggests that what we’ve seen before has been scrapped and this is something completely new.
It’s not hard to imagine Valve scrapping SteamVR and starting over, given how much the virtual reality landscape has changed since its debut.
Since January, Facebook has joined the market by buying Oculus VR, Sony has released its ambitious Project Morpheus VR headset, Samsung has released its Oculus-powered Gear VR, LG has put Google Cardboard technology in its G3 phone, and Microsoft has joined the fight with its strange Hololens device.
Right now, all we can say about SteamVR is that Valve knows exactly what it’s doing.
Valve has always succeeded by enlisting the help of content creators in its innovations pushed through its digital distribution platform Steam. SteamVR is no exception, which is why it is already inviting developers to participate. People want their games on Steam, and if SteamVR is a sure-fire way to get content up there, people will take advantage of the opportunity.
It will be interesting to see where SteamVR fits in the current VR landscape, as it is clearly geared towards the VR games market above all else. But since Valve is trying to get computers into the living room with small Steam Machine PCs, it’s possible that Steam VR will focus on making experiences that are more popular with the general public and that are centered on the main screen in the house.
Still, Valve has yet to deliver on its promise of Steam Machines or even Half-Life 3, so having an active developer community behind the project could mean that SteamVR actually sees the light of day. However, don’t expect it anytime soon because Valve is known for not rushing things and only releasing a product when it’s completely ready.
While Valve is hosting live SteamVR demos at GDC 2015, which runs from March 4 to 6, it is also showcasing a “refined” Steam Controller for its Steam Machines, as well as a glimpse into the future of virtual reality devices.