Unity and Valve have jointly announced that in addition to bringing native support for SteamVR to Unity, Valve will be sending every developer home with an HTC Vive Pre development kit.

So now we know why Valve’s Gabe Newell decided to make an appearance at the Vision Summit.

Announced during the keynote via video, Valve chief Gabe Newell’s brief appearance consisted of three simple announcements:

  •  Native support for SteamVR and the HTC Vive in Unity
  • An “advanced SteamVR rendering plugin for Unity that allows for enhanced fidelity and performance”
  • And, that every developer at Vision Summit would walk home with the HTC Vive Pre, the latest development kit for the SteamVR platform

“We made many of our Vive demos using Unity, and continue to use it today in VR development”, says Newell. “Through that process, and in working with VR developers, we found some opportunities to make Unity even more robust and powerful for us and really want to share those benefits with all VR content creators.”

See Also: Hands-on: HTC Vive Pre Brings Notable Improvements to Visuals, Tracking, and Ergonomics

Native SteamVR support for Unity means a plug-and-play experience for VR developers using the HTC Vive, with no need to download additional plugins or tools.

It seems that Valve has also bestowed some major rendering optimizations that Unity will be integrating for big performance gains in future versions.

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  • Alan Smithson


  • Andrew Jakobs

    Damn, lucky bastards ;)

    • Not if they paid more than device cost to get in :)

      • Andrew Jakobs

        I see the entryfee was between $190 and $650 or $50 early bird.. So in all cases you where a lucky bastard, as the vive will certainly be much more than $650 I guarantee you that, AND they already paid the entry fee anyway before they even knew they would get a vive..

        • MasterElwood

          It was a good guess. HTC told us weeks ago that they were planning to get Vives in the hands of developers till mid feb. So…

  • Good ol’ JS

    I wonder how much these will go for on Ebay

  • James Shannon Brooks

    Well it cost 1500$ to go so not that lucky

    • portersraygun51

      no it isn’t the hardware doesnt cost THAT much i think its gonna be $800

    • Full_Name

      hehe, every time someone opens their mouth, the rumor price goes up. How about just waiting a couple of weeks and find out what it will REALLY cost..

      • crim3

        He’s talking about the ticket’s price.

        • James Shannon Brooks

          Thank you someone for actually reading it

          • Full_Name

            Sorry, the $1500 is the latest round of stupid guesses going around the internet, so I clearly did not read what you said carefully enough.

          • James Shannon Brooks

            Do you even fucking read, that was the cost of the damn convention….j fucking christ

          • Full_Name

            OK…… wasn’t that was I responded? I apologized for misreading your comment and that is your response??

    • Andrew Jakobs

      huh? I see in an announcement, $190-$650 and $450 early bird.. and it’s not a consumer summit, so ‘high’ prices is far from uncommon.. Just check out microsoft Techdays..

  • MasterElwood

    Wow. Looks like HTC/VALVE are in full panic mode! Holy Shit…

    • DougP

      Yeah…panic’d so bad that they might not be able to fulfill all the orders from Facebook customers cancelling their Rifts & ordering Vives.

      • CURTROCK

        Not so fast….lets see what the cost of the VIVE is. People were crying over $599 for the Rift. Any guesses on VIVE price?

        • DougP

          Not so fast –
          How much does a Rift cost WITH the motion controllers, WITH the 2nd sensor (required)…and to be fair WITH a usb camera attachment. Then you’d have a comparable package.

          Once we know how much like-for-like costs we can talk “not so fast” comparisons.

          • CURTROCK

            You can get a Rift package for $599, today. The issue is what will the VIVE package cost day 1. This WILL be a factor for many consumers.

          • Full_Name

            A large percentage of the people who were upset with the Rift price was upset because Oculus (as they since admitted), hinted strongly at a $350 or “slightly higher” price point. On top of that, the $599 does not include shipping. As Doug also mentioned, it does not come with the controllers included.

          • CURTROCK

            I agree. I was upset too, considering I was on the Oculus website watching the countdown with credit card in hand. Imagine my surprise as a resident of Canada when I realized that the Rift will cost me almost $1200 after tax, shipping, duties, and exchange rate.

          • DougP

            Ok…so they’re interested in splitting up their cost before they have a fully usable system.
            Fine – they can put their $599 deposit down on the Vive & then pay the rest later.
            Or, pay the $599 for the Rift & then sit & wait until they have the $ for the motion controllers/complete solution.
            What’s the difference?

          • CURTROCK

            The difference from the perspective of the average consumer will be: I can buy a Rift for $599, or I can buy a VIVE for $$$. I know the touch controllers aren’t included, and will ultimately add to the cost of the Rift. That doesn’t change the fact that it will be a less expensive VR solution than the VIVE, in the beginning. This WILL be a factor. You stated that Facebook customers would be cancelling their orders to get the VIVE instead….I think that’s highly unlikely. BTW, I love the VIVE, and I plan on getting one. I’m also getting PSVR. But I’m a VR nerd, not a typical consumer. I want both the VIVE & Rift to succeed. They are both amazing.

          • DougP

            We don’t know what the Vive will cost. That’s a cost.
            We don’t know what a comparable Facebook system will cost.
            Period. Full stop. Can’t compare them, on price, until we know.

            Yes, we can & should expect the Vive will cost more – it comes with more! (tech/features/etc)
            Better tracking, motion controllers, & forward facing cameras.

            I agree there’s room for multiple products to succeed & that’s a great thing!
            I just hope that Facebook’s decision to hobble the Rift by not including motion controllers & better full body tracking, doesn’t affect the dev uptake of true VR experiences.
            Instead of being able to focus on knowing a game can (& should!) be written to support motion control for hands & interaction & the body standing, turning & perhaps limited movement – they’re gonna instead design for an xbox controller, less interaction via motion, and less movement.

            Re: cancelling their orders
            If Facebook users knew what their system would cost, comparably equipped – they’d likely cancel.
            But Facebook isn’t being honest & is instead fooling them into thinking they’ll only spend $600.
            Add full body/room tracking (2nd sensor), motion controllers, and perhaps even usb mount camera so you can see what’s around you….tell the people interested in buying it what those will cost. Then they can make an educated decision.

            For the complete solution, I don’t think they’ll be very far off on price is not equal. Heck, the Vive could even wind up costing less.

          • CURTROCK

            Your opinions on what a “true” VR experience is, are just that. Opinions. You are certainly entitled to them. The room scale experience of the VIVE is awesome, but it will not be practical for everybody. You have clearly decided that the VIVE is the best solution for you. Congrats, but I think you are mistaken in thinking the Rift is a lesser solution. We will know soon enough.

          • FloridaOJ

            As much of an Oculus fanboy as I am… I’m probably going to cancel my Oculus Preorder and switch to HTC as soon as the price is announced

          • DougP

            I hear ya. Same w/some other people I know. My buddy’s been on board since getting his DK1 but disappointed.
            Honestly I can’t imagine even the risk being high if say the Vive isn’t a hit, reasons:
            1) Valve’s keen on the full room scanning (whether seated/standing or moving, just better 360 capture w/less occlusion issues) & enabling motion control be default. SteamVR & their design open to other manufacturers.
            2) If HTC themselves implode – others will take up mantle, so still compatible
            3) Assuming SteamVR / standards easy to support either – with VR being such a small market, even if HTC went “bye bye” I can’t imagine developers *not* wanting to enable support for both (identical res, refresh, so just diff api calls for positional/controllers). Heck, with Oculus only being guaranteed to have an xbox controller….meaning, unfortunately(!!) devs will support controllers quite a bit/by default/as option – worse case is an xbox controller w/Vive.
            [ Don’t see #3 as likely & absolute worse case ]
            So any which way… it’s a better all-encompassing package that will be supported as long, or possibly much better than, Rift for the foreseeable ( gen1 VR ) future.

            Note: I’d expect the API calls for gaming to track motion/controllers will be identical for both, at least for games on SteamVR. Heck, Valve’s the de facto distribution platform with lots of experience supporting gaming, so I think Rift will have to stick with supporting this (as much as Facebook wants to own+control distribution with the Oculus store – I’ve seen this 1st hand with my GearVR – trying to lock-out use of Google cardboard & playstore purchases).

            I like the recent news with SteamVR supporting “direct mode”, which also seems to put to rest so much of the annoyances of the past – treating the headset as a 2nd “desktop” display. That will go a long way to smoothing & supporting the headsets.

            February 29th can’t come soon enough for me! :)

          • FloridaOJ

            I wish I could try them both… and make my own opinion. I don’t see Facebook allowing the VIVE to occupy the room-scale space without intrusion for very long.

          • DougP

            I hear ya. It is a bummer w/VR, being already initially a niche market, where it’s not easy to just “go try it” & compare.
            However, I’m trusting the reviewers & have seen universal praise of the Vive package.

            [ Side note: I had a demo setup in Seattle but Valve/HTC changed the date so had a conflict & couldn’t go ]

            I’m very disappointed Oculus didn’t go all-in with motion controllers & dual cameras/sensors, reasons:
            1) Hobbles devs – no going for “lowest common denominator” & writing apps for xbox controller instead of motion (possibly/like? changing design of games)
            2) less focus on room-scale (whether people want it or not, it’s a good thing to have enthusiastic dev in this area)
            3) issues/concerns with heck – 360 movement (swivel chair VR), due to occlusion concerns with single front sensor. Oculus is now really 180-degree coverage until 2nd sensor added
            4) camera – I think that’s a very good idea! Even if not for room-scale/standing/walking/turning, heck…even seated I think people will want to take a drink/eat/re-orient themselves/grab something on desk in front. Particularly, as the bundled controller isn’t motion nor tracked – you can’t even put on headset & then *find* your controller.

            Not really trying to bash here…just think it was a bad move for Oculus & wished they’d waited longer, if need be, to ship a complete solution.

            Lastly, Valve is behind the Vive’s design. It’s positioned as premium product. Heck, Valve helped Oculus by convincing them they needed to switch to external sensor/input for head tracking. So I do trust in them producing a quality & superior product.

          • DougP

            FloridaOJ, another thing I was upset with, and I’ve been completely open on hardware (used/owned – DK1, 2x diff Google cardboard, & Oculus GearVR)… I hate how Oculus store takes over the GearVR – removing the ability to use Google cardboard apps. They increase the price, or charge for games that were free in Play store, etc. As well they’ve made a push for *exclusives* ( Facebook = deep pockets, will pay for this ), which isn’t good for VR in general in these early stages.
            SteamVR instead has focused on being open. I’m worried about Oculus pushing everyone into their store for purchase & trying to *own* VR market.

          • Mateusz

            People often go for the lowest common denominator, $599 will be the price benchmark not $800 or $900 or whatever

          • DougP

            I’ll agree that sometimes people are fooled into thinking half of a solution is a complete solution.
            Like some sells a “computer system” that’s only a case…then you buy the keyboard+mouse & monitor to have the “complete system”(/solution).
            That doesn’t mean it makes sense comparing a system that’s a case only vs a system that comes with keyboard+mouse & monitor.

        • Andrew Jakobs

          at least $800 is my expectation, but I wouldn’t be suprised if it were up to $1000..

      • MasterElwood

        Ha! Good one. I give you that. :-)

        Have you seen the polls? How many people know what a Vive is vs a rift? How many developers are developing for Vive? How many are planning to develop for the Vive? Every of that polls shows the Rift way way ahead.

        It does NOT looks good…

        • Full_Name

          Jeeze, Fan-Boy much??

          You do know that if you attend conferences for Google, Microsoft etc, you tend to get some really cool tech, right? This is pretty common in the business…

          • MasterElwood

            Yup. I want the best. Rift is far superior = i love Rift.

          • FloridaOJ

            Some serious trolling going on in here, I see.

          • MasterElwood

            Some serious FACTS going on ;-)

            If you don´t care about roomscale tracking, and can live with the fact that you get your motion controller later – there is no question that the RIFT is the superior hardware.

            Also: virtually (haha) everyone who had the chance to try both states that touch controllers are also superior to the vive controllers.

          • Full_Name

            “Clearly” must be something in your mind only. I have tried the various Oculus Rift versions as well as the Vive Pre, which is still a developer kit. The image quality is very close on the Pre and the release Rift, and that does not take into account that HTC and Valve can make further adjustments before they ship the consumer version. Same goes for design.

            The only thing the Rift really has going for it is the fact that there will at least initially be some more exclusive titles for the Rift, mostly because Oculus sponsored some of the development cost with some studios.

            You might want to research, and ideally TRY the various headsets before coming to such conclusions….

          • FloridaOJ


          • DougP

            Re: “I want the best.”
            Better order your Vive then?

            Or…try to quantify you “best” claim.

            Best = doesn’t come with motion controllers (=hobbles+fragments developers), comes with a controller many don’t wan’t/don’t need (thus pay for something no desired), no room scale tracking, no front facing camera.

            Yup – that sure sounds like *best* to me!


          • MasterElwood

            “BEST” in terms of creating presence.

            1. Better screen
            2. complete and FAR better audio solution
            3. Lighter and way more comfortable (extreme important for presence).

            Also: touch controller are far superior. Granted: you get them a few months later – but they are better in any way.

            If you don’t need RST – the RIFT is the more presence-creating HMD.

            BTW: it was the DEVELOPERS who demanded a “normal” controller in the box…

          • DougP

            You made all of that up.
            No one has seen the production Vive.
            Nearly everyone’s who’s used the Vive & compared it says it’s better.

            *Presence* – the most important thing experts have said creates presence is the tracking, movement & having your hands/body tracking inside the VR scene – ALL things the Vive does better.

            Look…we’ve known since the start that the Vive has been designed and positioned as the premium, no holding back, immersive (presence!) experience.
            Sure it’s premium & will cost more. I get that – you can’t afford the better solution. A lot of people own a Corolla instead of a Tesla. It’s alright to have tiers of entry & best.
            I’m fortunate enough to afford the premium solution, and everything that’s been released about the products (as well as the up-tick in premium games/experiences now being made for the Vive 1st, Rift…eh, maybe if get around to it & enough people decide to buy the touch)… so the decision is easy for me.
            I suggest you save your money up & don’t think about the big $ all-at-once. Put your $600 aside now, then put aside the $ the Touch controllers will cost, & you’ll be most the way there to owning the premium experience & you won’t have regrets later.

          • FloridaOJ

            You guys are all new to the internet. He’s not even a good troll. It’s so very forced. I wish he’d practice more… somewhere else, though.

          • EhsanS

            have you tried them both?
            Vive tracking is seriously ahead. although I loved how Oculus touch felt in hand but I found Vive more interesting and promising.

        • DougP

          Are you kidding?
          All I’ve seen is all of the most interesting & impressive, truly utilizing VR for full immersion, apps/games are being developed 1st for the Vive & then a “we’ll add Rift support later once the motion controls & secondary sensors are out”.

          Re: “How many people know what a Vive is vs a rift? ”
          Wrong question to see about VR.
          The vast *minority* of the audience is what you’re talking about…those who already know anything about VR. Who would know a Rift from a Vive.

          The correct & pertinent question is once these technologies are shipping & available to the general population of people/gamers.
          So a much better question will be:
          How many PC gamers know that a Valve Steam Store is?
          Care to answer that?
          Because THAT is who’s going to know immediately about the Vive & who will be marketed to.

          Just about every single PC gamer out there.

          The sad thing is… The Facebook-Rift really shot themselves in the foot & really hindered themselves. Them might just fall completely by the wayside & miss the boat here.
          By decoupling the motion controllers, which by virtually EVERYONE who has used motion control in VR has raved about as a necessity, they’ve already hobbled & fragmented their market.

          Even your Prince-Luckey, before his big Facebook payday, used to speak honestly about how a traditional controller was a horrible way to experience VR.
          For true immersion you want motion control:
          1) Is included std with the Vive system
          2) All of the best experiences will be made for
          Facebook-Rift has did a terrible disservice to the VR developers by now having them have to write for controller support instead, as they’ll want to market to the vast majority of Rift users (if at all).

          You’re right…it doesn’t look good for Facebook on this one.
          Valve’s gonna be the platform of choice…but FB will let the kiddies friend each other on a screen strapped to their face whilst truly immersion VR experiences move on without them.

          • MasterElwood

            Are you serious bro? Are you living in Vive-lalalula land? Come back to reality *facepalm*

    • Dr. James Rustles

      You’ll have to forgive me if I’m skeptical about Valve being in full panic mode, as they rake in ridiculous sums of money on the largest digital game platform and basically generate free money through their auction house and items made by the community.

      It’s just a move to try to get developers in their corner. Kind of like how the Playstation 3 was unfeasible, price wise, but solidified the BluRay as the next generation of disc format and allowing it to beat out HD DVD.

  • Full_Name

    Good strategy. We are not attending Vision, but will be developing VR in Unity. The Vive is on top of the list of systems to support due to the room-tracking out of the box.