Valve recently threw their hat into the VR ring by unveiling the Dota 2 VR Headset, which hopefully will do more than just play Dota2. Apparently the Dota 2 is simply a codename for the device, as a reddit user named “jonomf” got to toy around with the newfangled device, which he described as offering “low persistence, perfect tracking” and “very high frame rate”. The only issue the user had with the device was the feeling of dizziness after taking the headset off every time.
Granted this is simply one individual’s playthrough with Valve’s new software and hardware, the Bellevue, Washington developer throwing resources into this device only bodes well for the future of VR gaming. Granted it’s no measure of absolute success, or devices such as this or the Oculus Rift becoming mainstays in the public eye as more in depth ways to play games. There’s much more that needs to be proven with these devices, especially for those with depth perception issues or atrocious eyesight or if people such as these will be left out in the cold.
Valve has money and lots of it, with not many public deadlines and constant revenue streams generated from their Steam marketplace they have the capability of offering a more focused approach and perhaps even a better product than Facebook’s recently bought Oculus Rift. While there’s no guarantee that the VR headsets are a fad much like 3D TVs, Valve must have seen potential if they stapled their name on these demos and device. Considering Valve’s FPS and perennial testing ground Team Fortress 2 already has Oculus Rift support, Valve must have been working on the VR tech for quite some time, and at the very least has working software history for their own development.
If anything can be taken away from this, it’s that a VR arms race between Facebook and Valve is only going to entertain. Both are billion dollar companies, though it remains to be seen if Facebook is willing to take the risks Valve is. The Oculus Rift already has years of R&D behind their own product, as well as developer units being used by studios and enthusiasts alike. Though if Valve wants something, they have the capabilities of simply taking it, and with Valve being a public friendly entity could have an upper hand in a head-to-head fight before leaving the starting gate.