Watch your back, Oculus. Valve and HTC are about to take the plunge into the virtual reality market with a futuristic headset called Vive.
Last week, Valve announced that it would unveil a brand new virtual-reality headset during the 2015 Game Developers Conference. Well, the conference doesn't start until tomorrow, but we're already getting a peak at Valve's newest piece of hardware: The Vive.
Vive is the result of a partnership between Valve and HTC, one of the biggest smart phone manufacturers on the planet. HTC used the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona as the platform for its reveal, narrowly beating Valve's GCD announcement.
Valve's SteamVR tracking technology is the powerplant behind Vive's inner workings. The headset comes with two base stations that track your movement in real time. This is a more elegant solution than the pasted QR codes that Valve was originally using. It will also include a gyroscope, accelerometer, and laser positioning system.
Compared to the Oculus Rift, the Vive is a powerhouse. The Rift's current incarnation supports 1080p output and can handle around 75 frames per second. The Vive, on the other hand, has a pair of beefy 1200 x 1080 displays, which support 90 FPS. HTC insists that this frame rate will reduce the nausea problems that have become associated with virtual-reality tech.
Controlling a virtual reality game has always been a huge problem for VR developers. Last year, Oculus VR's Chief Scientist Michael Abrash admitted that none of the standard input technologies are up to snuff, and they're not really sure how to solve the problem:
"There's no clear way to do that right now with any technology that we see."
But Valve and HTC may have found a solution. Nothing's been officially revealed—that'll probably happen during GDC—but HTC did say that The Vive includes a "pair" of controllers. To me, it sounds like Valve is ditching the standard gamepad setup for gloves or some other kind of hand-mounted controller.
Long live the PowerGlove.
We'll know more after Valve steps up to the mic, but this is definitely an exciting piece of news. Until today, Oculus VR hasn't had a genuine competitor, and it sounds like The Vive may actually beat the Oculus Rift into the mainstream market. HTC says the Vive will be available by Christmas.
Your move, Oculus.
Check out the Vive's unveiling in the video below: