We know that Valve is planning for a virtual reality future courtesy of its Oculus Rift-friendly SteamVR mode, but it turns out the company is also developing its own VR headset – and according to some early users, it’s even better than Oculus Rift.
Via Twitter, developer David Hensley described Valve’s prototype headset as a “generational leap forward” over Oculus, saying his one-on-one demo felt “very much like a holo deck”. He said motion sickness wasn’t an issue, and there’s positional tracking – much like the mind-blowing prototype Crystal Cove version of Oculus Rift we tried at CES – which allowed him to crouch.
A taste of the future
He said Valve’s positional tracking system uses markers dotted around the room, unlike the headset-based trackers on Crystal Cove. He also revealed that Valve’s headset was not wireless.
Hensley said he would still be buying Oculus Rift because it’s out this year and affordable, while he sees Valve’s headset as more a glimpse of what home VR can offer in a couple of years. We’re inclined to agree with him: Oculus has made a fantastic product, Crystal Cove will make it even better – and the company probably has internal prototypes that are even more accurate than that. Valve's prototype may be on a par – but it's merely a prototype, not a product.
One thing’s for certain: from being a written-off gimmick a few years ago, virtual reality has rapidly become one of the most exciting areas in gaming.