Valve not releasing VR hardware, will work with Oculus to "drive PC VR forward"
Okay, this makes more sense. Last November, eyebrows were cocked when Valve announced the session names and descriptions for this week's Steam Developer Days conference. At the time, when describing their VR session, Valve revealed that they'd "assembled a prototype," which would show what VR hardware could be capable of within two years. The question then became what they planned to do with this prototype, and whether their VR expertise would lead to an Oculus rival.
Quite the opposite, as it turns out. During the session, presented by Valve's VR virtuoso Michael Abrash, it was confirmed that the company have no current plans to release VR - at least, not yet. As a result, it's Oculus VR that are their most obvious choice as to who will ship a quality consumer headset. What's more, Valve say they're "continuing to work with Oculus to drive PC VR forward".
Valve hired the out-of-work Half-Life 2 Striders to keep press away from the event, meaning we're turning to the world of Twitter to steal away its precious revelations. Through pictures taken of slides presented during the talk, we know that Valve expect an HD VR set to be available to consumers by 2015. Typically, Abrash remains realistic about the difficulties that manufacturers face. He's identified a set of key features that need to be in place for that consumer unit, and list off what needs to be done between now and then, (a summary that includes the caveat, "improve every key element").
Despite the work that's to come, it's clear Valve have high hopes for the potential of VR - going so far as to say that it "could be the best online social experience yet". The takeaway, then, remains optimistic: Valve expect that a competitively priced VR unit will be available to customers in 2015, or soon after.