Following last month's tease, today Valve officially announced the Valve Index, a "high-fidelity" virtual reality headset with impressive specs, cool new controllers and a $US1,000 ($1,421) price tag. This title was demonstrated to outlets like UploadVR at a recent hands-on event, and it looks like a follow-up to The Lab - the Portal-themed VR collection that came alongside the HTC Vive. Now, Valve is jumping into the game with its Knuckles controller.
There are two 960×960 full colour cameras on the front of the Index, in addition to an add-on space that Valve refers to as the "Frunk". The headset also offers a slew of customizable fit features mentioned on its store page, like the ability to adjust the headset's fit for head size, FOV, face angle, interpupillary distance, and speaker position in addition to some moddable features built into the headset itself.
However, for those of us just jumping into VR, the full bundle - with upgraded base stations and controllers - will cost $1,000 all in, and that's not including a Windows 10 PC with at least a GTX 970 or AMD RX480. Picking things up, pinching, signalling and so on are said to be natural with these controllers. Called the Valve Index, in many ways this headset is even more compelling than the HTCVive Pro. The difference between the Index and other VR headsets, Valve claims, is in its "optimized pixel layout", which serves up 50% more subpixels than OLED.
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If we take Valve at its word, the Index will be the most advanced mainstream consumer headset available, and its controllers, if they work as advertised, will be significantly more advanced than the Oculus Touch controllers. It's a fantastic-sounding VR system that I look forward to trying, though certainly not a VR system for the masses.
As for games, we didn't hear anything about the three "big" VR games Valve has been working on, except that a "flagship" Valve VR game is coming later this year.
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But the new game won't be exclusive to the Index headset. We'll find out soon enough, as pre-orders open up tomorrow on Steam and the headset begins shipping out on June 28th.
The first Valve VR game is expected to arrive later in 2019.
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