HTC, Valve Team Up To Announce The HTC VIVE VR Headset

👤by Tim Harmer Comments 📅02.03.2015 10:52:33


A large portion of the Mobile World Congress, a tech event highlighting the new technologies and trends in the mobile computing and telephony space for the coming year, took place over the weekend and what you judge to be the biggest news will largely depend on your own area of interest. Without a doubt the Samsung S6 was the start of the show, but for us at Vortez the really big news was the first public outing of a new Virtual Reality headset, this time not from establish brands Sony or Oculus.

Last night we learned that mobile manufacturers HTC have teamed up with gaming giants Valve to create the HTC VIVE, a new VR headset based on Valve's SteamVR project. At this time HTC are announcing a developer version, but anticipate that a consumer variant will be a available by the end of 2015. Given how far along the headset appears to be it's no surprise that they've also revealed some of the specifications of the device:

THE VISUALS

A 1,200 by 1,080 pixel screen in front of each eye, with refresh rates of a blistering 90 frames per second, displays photorealistic imagery that fills your field of vision in all directions, eliminating the jitter common to previous VR technologies and transporting you to another world.

TRACKING AND ROOM SCALE

A gyrosensor, accelerometer, and laser position sensor combine to precisely track the rotation of your head on both axes to an accuracy of 1/10th of a degree, allowing you to look around the virtual environment naturally. Couple the headset with a pair of Steam VR base stations to track your physical location (in spaces up to 15 feet by 15 feet) get up and walk around inisde the virtual world!

CUSTOM GAME CONTROLLER

Ergonomic VR game controllers in each hand allow you to use virtual objects and interact with the virtual world. The position of each controller is tracked in space, allowing developers to simulate a wide range of activities and interactions.

THE AUDIO

Plug your favorite set of headphones into a jack located on the side of the Developer Edition headset.




News of a custom game controller is somewhat surprising, but realise that HTC would want any VR device to be able to operate independent of static PC hardware, which means that a free-space controller device would be necessary.

Critically Valve and HTC already have content partners on board, from studios such as Lionsgate through to Fireproof Games and other game developers. As with any new platform content is critical, and Valve want to hit the ground running rather than fall flat or rely on homebrew projects to stimulate demand.

In common with SteamBox PCs it seems likely that the VIVE is of many headsets powered by SteamVR. If this is the case and hardware competing with the Oculus Rift becomes commonplace we could see a standards battle between Facebook and Valve, not to mention the Razer-backed Open Source VR. If that doesn't whet your apetite... well, you've probably seen the outcome of too many standards battles.

For more information on the HTC VIVE visit the official website.

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