Valve’s long rumoured VR headset is real and will be released on 15 June. A couple of leaks, that may have been deliberate, reveal an image of the headset, along with key technical details.
The Valve Index will be the first VR headset Valve has created themselves. Previously Valve partnered with HTC, who created and sold the hardware using Valve’s technology. If you haven’t heard of Valve, they are the company behind Steam, a digital distribution platform for purchasing and playing video games launched in 2003 .
Along with the 15 June release date, a placeholder page that came and went on Valve’s Steam website listed a 90hz refresh rate, display port 1.2 cabling (rather than HDMI), and a single USB 3 connection. Unfortunately, there was no sign of a single virtual link connection – a VR connection standard that most manufactures are now supporting but have yet to implement.
The two cameras you can see on the front suggest the headset may feature inside out tracking, like Microsoft’s Mixed Reality headsets and the upcoming Oculus Quest. The cameras could also be used for augmented reality or hand tracking, although this seems less likely. The shape of the headset also appears to confirm a rumour about the headset’s expanded field of view, possibly between 130 or 140 degrees. There are clear bumps on either side of the headset, as if they needed extra room for larger lenses. This was suggested in one of the original Valve headset rumours from almost a year ago.
The new “knuckles” controllers Valve has been working were also mentioned on the page. I tried a developer version of these out recently and can report that they’re a step up from Oculus touch controllers, and a massive improvement compared to the cumbersome HTC wands. They appear to have been renamed “Valve Index Controllers” and will sell them separately,
In the original rumour about Valve’s headset, it was also suggested a VR version of Valve’s iconic Half Life PC game would ship with the Vive headset. There’s no mention of this in the leaks, but keep your fingers crossed.
No doubt we’ll hear a great deal more about the headset and possible bundles when Valve officially starts pre-orders on 1 May.