Valve to demo VR prototype at next January's Steam Dev Days conference
Valve recently announced Steam Dev Days, a two-day developer only conference designed to let game creationists "meet in a relaxed, off the record environment". Naturally topics will run the expected gamut of weird Steam projects, with sessions covering everything from the Workshop, the in-game economies of TF2 and Dota 2, the future of Steam Machines, and the production of Gabe Newell's Power Owl. But also listed on the conference's sessions page is a talk titled "What VR Could, Should, and Almost Certainly Will Be within Two Years," the brief of which reveals the existence of a Valve-assembled VR prototype.
Here's the description for the talk, which will be presented by Valve's Michael Abrash:
"We've figured out what affordable Virtual Reality (VR) hardware will be capable of within a couple of years, and assembled a prototype which demonstrates that such VR hardware is capable of stunning experiences. This type of hardware is almost certainly going to appear in short order, and the time to starting developing for it is now. This talk will discuss what the hardware is like, and the kinds of experiences it makes possible. A few attendees will be randomly selected to try out the prototype following the talk."
It's a surprising development. Previously, on his Ramblings in Valve Time blog, Abrash has displayed what has, at times, seemed like a frustration at how far off a proper high-resolution, low-latency VR solution is. He's written in detail about the problem of resolution, and, at this year's GDC, he presented a talk that outlined just how hard a true VR experience would be to achieve.
Then, of course, there's the question of the Oculus Rift, and whether Valve's prototype is specifically aiming at that device's audience. On the face of it, you'd think not. Valve themselves have added Oculus support to a number of their games, and Oculus VR's Palmer Luckey will also be presenting a Dev Days session, talking about the process of porting to the Rift.
All of which leaves many questions about the form this reveal will take. We'll hopefully find out more on January 15th, when the Dev Days conference begins.