When revealing the upcoming Index headset, Valve was clear that their goal was to move the bar forward for VR fidelity, even if that meant a premium pricetag. The company said that its internal game developers working on “AAA VR content” pushed to VR hardware team to reach the fidelity they wanted.

Valve’s Index headset was fully revealed at the end of April. And while the $1,000 full kit is more than twice as much as the Rift S ($400), the company believes the headset will offer the best experience for its upcoming “flagship VR game,” which hasn’t been revealed yet but is confirmed to launch later this year.

SEE ALSO
Oculus Explains Why It Doesn't Think the Time is Right for 'Rift 2' or 'Rift Pro'

And that certainly makes sense, as Valve says that its VR game teams were pushing for greater capabilities from the hardware.

“Valve game teams requested increased fidelity to support AAA VR content development, which in turn drove Index’s specific technical innovations,” the company wrote in press materials shared with Road to VR.

Those “technical innovations” likely refer to Index’s dual-element optics, super low-persistence display, class leading refresh rates, and the headset’s unique and surprisingly good ‘off-ear’ headphone design.

Image courtesy Valve

It isn’t just specs and performance that Valve’s game teams were looking for though; during a press reveal of the headset last month, the company’s VR hardware team said that the internal teams building VR content kept talking about creating “full length” experiences, and needed a headset which had long term comfort to match.

“There isn’t one single factor that makes this HMD great, it’s all of these things together that contribute,” a member of the VR hardware team said.

Meeting those performance and ergonomic needs—”fidelity first” as the VR hardware team said—was priority number one for Valve, even knowing that it would necessitate a premium price tag. The company was clear about who the headset is positioned for.

“Valve index is for experienced, existing VR customers who want more [fidelity] and don’t want to wait,” the VR hardware team said.

And that fits the bill for VR’s early adopters, many of which bought into the PC VR space at $800 for a Vive or Rift—not because it was cheap, but because of the promise of immersion. Index represents a real step forward in fidelity over first-gen VR headsets, while other soon to launch headsets like Rift S and Quest primarily focus on low cost and ease of use.

– – — – –

Valve Index began pre-orders in limited regions on April 30th, and the first headsets are due to ship on June 28th, though it’s already backordered by two months or more. The Index ‘full kit’, which includes the headset, controllers, and tracking base stations, is priced at $1,000, while the headset and controllers can be bought without base stations for $750, and the headset by itself for $500.

This article may contain affiliate links. If you click an affiliate link and buy a product we may receive a small commission which helps support the publication. See here for more information.


  • Michael Hoffmann

    I preferred the Oculus Rift S and the Quest and will have a lot of fun. And if the first real VR 2.0 glasses at a consumer friendly price, I am back again. Maybe Pimax will make it.

    • Zpfunk

      What exactly is it you prefer about Quest over Index, or Rift S for that matter. The fact that you called them “Glasses” lets me know you’re fairly new to the VR scene. I’m interested to hear other people opinions of the different tech.

      • Skyfire

        I would have liked to see a higher resolution and maybe eye-tracking. The slight change in FOV is great, but not that big as hoped.
        I too think about the Rift S, as it makes the change of play area much more easier. Grab you toy and switch the room without having to remove the lighthouses also. The not so perfect tracking compared to what Index delivers is just good enough for the applications I’m using.

        • MOT

          Rift S has lower resolution than the current windows MR headsets which have been out for 2 years. Rift s is already old tech spec rise. In a year it is going to be miles behind other vr headsets.

          • Jeremiah

            Not to mention its cheap Chinese crap now, the standard Rift was at least well made.

          • callen

            Well made? Tell that to my headphones that died in 14 months…

          • Jeremiah

            Well, relatively well made, compared to the Rift S and the usual junk puts out anyway. The headphones did feel and sound a bit cheap though, strange considering so many raved about them.

            To me the PSVR felt a lot more premium though (not including the PS3 tracking…) , despite being cheaper. I’d put that down to Sony’s experience mind.

      • Rosko

        One of the main issues with the rift s is the ridiculous sound solution. Anyone who has tried VR by knows that audio is a major factor in immersion. Everything else about it seems good for the money.

        • daveinpublic

          One of the great things about the Rift is the price. That’s an important ‘spec’. You can buy a Rift headset and 2 controllers and have $350 to throw down on a pair of headphones (if you already own lighthouse tracking).

          I think Index is the high end of the market, the best you can get. But Rift is one the best headsets. With some of the most advanced tech available. 5 camera tracking is best in class for inside-out, you get accurate tracking anywhere you can take your gaming laptop.

          • Rosko

            It’s not so much the extra cost of the headphones but just messy using external headphones with a VR headset. Hopefully they release a version with decent built in sound & the option to upgrade.

    • Adrian Meredith

      Of course it’s real next gen, it’s like people expecting the original iPhone to go from the first one straight to the iPhone X

      • Sam Illingworth

        It’s not really comparable. iPhones have a yearly upgrade cycle, we don’t really think of them as “generations” in the same we do consoles. If we’re calling VR headset updates generations then it suggests people are looking for big leap advancements rather than small incremental changes.

        That said, I think the change from the original iPhone to iPhone 3G was probably significant enough to warrant the Generation label. 3G connectivity made a huge difference, and iPhone OS 3 (can’t remember when that came out, might have been the same time) came out that was big too.

        The Index sounds like it’s more or a small incremental improvement.

        • jj

          -” iPhones have a yearly upgrade cycle, we don’t really think of them as “generations””

          -“The Index sounds like it’s more or a small incremental improvement.”

          thats the same thing

          • DeAndre Enrico

            …except 3 years after the Vive was released, not one year. That was kinda the point.

          • Cl

            Vive and index are from different companies, but Vive came out 2016, vive pro 2018, index 2019, vive pro eye later this year? You cant really expect them to reiterate as often as smartphones tho.

          • jj

            and we wouldnt want them to kick them out that fast, it would cost a fortune just to keep pace with changes

          • Sam Illingworth

            Yeah, that’s my point

      • Caven

        It’s more like people expecting to go from the Motorola DynaTAC straight to the iPhone X. VR is not big enough yet to get the really good economies of scale.

    • Jarilo

      There is no such thing as 2.0. VR HMDs will continually get face-lifts as things progress so to speak, improvement on this and that , here and there.

  • Andrew McEvoy

    Well that sounds very promising for the game that will release later this year.

  • M0rph3u5

    Nothing reaaly new in this article about the index. I am following the index news solely for the hope of an earlier shipping date :-/

    • Trip

      Did you get your order in for the first batch? I was really glad I got my order in early when I saw the ship date changing!

      • M0rph3u5

        Lol..same here.. I got it within 30min and it would’ve been within 3minutes if it wasn’t for PayPal’s massive screwup .. but I still feel that the end of June is too long a wait!
        I am however continuing to build my VR library :)

        • Kasper S. Olesen

          I thought I placed the order and then thankfully double checked. Seems I had only accepted it in paypal but not in Steam, so I had to do it again. So it was 20 minutes after the pre-orders opened I placed the order.

          If I lived in the US, being more than 15 minutes late would mean to get it at least a week later, because they ran out of units that fast.

          • M0rph3u5

            PayPal nearly screwed me over, had to spend nearly 15min over the phone with a clueless customer service agent who eventually blamed my bank. The latter denied any attempts from PayPal to request the transaction..etc eventually I just used my card to pay for it. All that was while I was still at my workplace using my phone to place the order. I didn’t want to wait till I got home in case it sold out.. which did! Phew!!

          • Kasper Olesen

            Wow… that must have been annoying. Nice that you got it done in time.

          • Trip

            My issues for much of the first fifteen minutes were also payment related, and I don’t remember for certain but I think I wound up doing the same, using the card directly instead of via PayPal.

        • Trip

          I’d have had it in the first 30 seconds if the store page hadn’t gone flaky from the surge of orders! I think I completed the order at about 16 minutes after orders went live, and probably took half the life off my left mouse button in the 15 minutes leading up to that! I did get the June ship date.

        • Etailer

          I was on it the first 10 minutes it went live. My PayPal went smoothly. I’m getting the Index headset and knuckles since I already have the lighthouses from my Vive. Oculus Quest will be in my hands in the morning and will be playing with that tomorrow.

    • Luke Finnigan

      There is 0 chance of getting an official earlier release before 28th June… if we are really lucky it might arrive a few days earlier because I imagine Valve will be aiming for it to arrive 28th June. I’m the same though… can’t wait.

  • Trip

    Clearly there is a market for high end VR hardware, and though it’d be more exciting if the FOV was larger and the resolution higher I think I’m going to be very satisfied with the upgrade I chose from my CV1 and Orig. Vive. I also am a BIG fan of lighthouse tracking. Don’t know what the fuss is about, you can set it up in about two minutes and it usually gives perfect tracking.

    • Jeremiah

      Can you set it up without drilling though? For that price, there should be ultra slim, lightweight tripods included for each lighthouse.

      • Luke Finnigan

        You can get good adjustable tripods off ebay that work really well for about £8 each

        • Jeremiah

          That’s great, then Valve should include some, they must be cheap to make and bespoke tripods would look nice. Even if they mass bought the ebay ones and stuck a Valve logo on them, it would be something, anything to make setup easier.

          Also have Valve standardised “second screen” support across all vr steam games yet? It really is a basic requirement, Sony had the right idea in having dedicated hardware and ui for it, as the social aspect is a giant part of what makes VR so engaging.

          The last time I tried it, it was horrible, every game had their own solution and most were just bad. Putting aside the missed opportunity for asymmetrical coop or pvp, it’s yet another area where PC VR falls short right now.

          If the PSVR’s tracking and controllers weren’t so weak, then they would be in a different league than the competition and I say that as someone that is not a Sony fan. If they fix those issues (and others, like resolution and fps, important, but not life changing) in the PS5’s VR, then lookout, they might just dominate.

          • jj

            you’re askign for things that valve has no control over… every game has to make those implementations and they simply cannot force them all to use it. also there are asymmetrical coop and pvp experiences but again thats all game dev side and not valves bidding.

            not everyone uses tripods so that would be massive waste of resources and money.

          • Rosko

            The problem with including tripods is they may not be the best solution for your space. For those of us who bought Rifts & vives know there is very little inconvenience setting these up, in fact the biggest problem with external tracking is they don’t exactly match the decor.

          • Jarilo

            I know man, they didn’t match my drapes so F VR I’m going to pancake gaming. :P

          • Trip

            Disagree on Rift setup! Maybe using just two cameras is easy enough but I started with three and went to four and damn the setup program was constantly complaining about bad communication from the (included) USB extensions. That was a real issue since it wouldn’t let you advance through the setup if it was returning a sensor warning. There’s also the fact that I needed five USB ports just for the VR setup! I had to buy a USB expansion card so I wasn’t constantly plugging and unplugging my various peripherals.

            My only bitch about SteamVR tracking is a simple software thing… if the system momentarily loses tracking why the hells does it have to switch to seeing the SteamVR environment instead of continuing to display the game with briefly interrupted head tracking like Oculus does? That’s one place Oculus’ solution is far, far better IMO. Under normal circumstances of course Lighthouse doesn’t lose tracking but in X-Plane 11 with high end settings sometimes there are momentary frame rate issues that cause SteamVR to do this and it’s very irritating because it’s totally unnecessary.

          • bmichaelb

            You really want everything just given to you. Not everyone has the same needs, so why should Valve or anyone else include things that won’t get used by everyone who buys their product? Good grief. o.O

          • Jeremiah

            For that price I do. Maybe they could give a choice, depending on what’s needed, or sell them separately, if that raises the price to much.

          • bmichaelb

            Good grief. Show some initiative in life.

          • Jeremiah

            Man you need to chill out, I’m not even getting a VR headset, just making conversation, as VR is fascinating to me and I want it to succeed, hence why I’m focusing on done of its shortcomings. You really need to learn how to talk to people.

          • bmichaelb

            You’re talking about VR, yet you’ve never even set a system up to begin with, so you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. As for ‘just making conversation’…you are arguing with everybody in this thread, not knowing a damn thing about VR to begin with. Some would say that’s trolling.

          • Jeremiah

            I’m a troll? I think you’re projecting. I’m genuinely curious about VR and if I could own any VR HMD right now it would be the Index, but fanboying about is not helpful to anyone.

            I’ve used VR before, PSVR and the Rift among others, I helped setup the Rift. I do hope to own one, one day, I’ve wanted to since the eighties.

            Its you doing the arguing, you seem like a very angry individual, you need some Jesus in your life!

            I’m going to have to block you now, as I haven’t got time for toxic people in my life.

        • Oracle

          Oh, boy! More “stuff” cluttering up the room to have to walk around and maybe knock over, or, conversely, repeatedly set up, and take down, set up, and take down, and repeat ad naseum. Sounds like fun!
          /sarc

          • Jeppe

            You realize his reply was for a dude requesting tripods right?
            You mock him for recommending tripods to someone requesting tripods?

          • Jistuce

            Internet comments in a nutshell.

      • Gonzax

        You can place them on a shelf if you want, no need for drilling as far as I know.

        • Jeremiah

          But I have no shelves, now I have to set up a bunch of shelves…

          • jj

            should valve include those too?

          • Jistuce

            Yes.

          • Jerald Doerr

            Lol crap now the shelves don’t match the drapes….. Uggg…

          • Jeppe

            You are one of those people who like to look for problems rather than solutions.

            Valve can’t cater to every singular situation. They are including everything that’s needed to mount them on a wall, or a flat surface. They can’t include every mounting method in existence because some people might have some specific situations where the included solution doesn’t work.

            You mentioned PSVR. The lighthouse can be mounted in exactly the same way as the PSVR cam, just expect the same small tracking area as you get with PSVR if you do that.

          • Jeremiah

            Oh I’m aware the tracking on the PSVR is horrible, it’s the true achilles heel of that particular headset.

            Someone has to ask these questions, it’s called objectivity.

            Valve should include two tripods in the box considering how cheap they are to manufacture, for $1000, they should offer to fit the lighthouses for us! Ok that last part was me being facetious, but you get my point.

          • Jarilo

            Damn dude, if you have nothing anywhere nowhere at anytime how you wanna do VR? Do you have a floor to stand on ?

          • Jeremiah

            Well the landlord doesn’t allow drilling, so…

          • bmichaelb

            3M sticky tape made specifically to mount things on walls where drilling is not allowed/preferred. Seriously dude…is this your fist time out of the house living on your own?

          • Jarilo

            Does he allow shelves? Can you own furniture? rough rules man. I know I’m being sarcastic but it’s seriously two tiny little boxes that just go opposite of each other anywhere.

          • Jeremiah

            Well they are more of an estate agent tbh and they are quite particular yes. It’s my brothers place actually. I’m planning on moving to the Lake District myself ;)

          • Trip

            There’s a million solutions available, get creative.

      • dinkster

        Sure, buy some 3m command strips

        • Jeremiah

          Great, Valve should include in the box if they’re reliable.

          • jj

            theyd have to have those, the tripod and what else according toy uo because the price tag is climbing with every accessory you suggest adding when you alone are only going to need one of the solutions. so youre saying we should all pay for 3X mounting accessories when we all on average will only use one of the options. waste of money and resources

      • bmichaelb

        I made my own sensor stands for my Rift, using cheap $10 Ikea floor lamps, and $10 camera mounts epoxied on top. The lamps are the type that have multiple pieces of tubing that screw together to make a longer pole. I used 2 lamps per stand, to make an 89″ stand…91″ with the camera mount. It’s a bit more than tripods, but most tripods only go 5′ high, and take up to 2 to 3 square feet. My DIY stand is nearly 8′ tall, and the base is only 10″, so it fits tight in corners. And being made from Ikea lamps…they actually look fashionable. Better than a tripod, anyway.

        • Jeremiah

          I applaud your resourcefulness,
          but there has to be a better solution though, something which Valve could include in every box.

          Maybe this will all be a Moot point when all headsets go with inside-out tracking mind, which I suspect they all will once it hits a certain level of quality.

          • bmichaelb

            The companies are not going to include 8′ tall stands, or even 5′ tall tripods. Everyone has different needs…they give you the parts to mount on walls or on shelves. If you want taller, then you buy them afterwords. As for going inside-out…I don’t want it…it’s too limited, and can’t do full body tracking. You can’t even use gunstocks with the Quest/Rift-S controllers, as the controller closest to the trigger will block out the controller further down the barrel. It may be good enough for some, but not me.

          • Jeremiah

            Well I mean when inside-out tracking is good enough, it may have to be coupled with a single external camera, it’s gonna happen eventually.

            Perhaps they could include camera on the peripherals, the price will eventually come down on the tech and be miniaturised to the point its feasible. Until then VR is clunky at best if we’re honest.

          • bmichaelb

            What is a single external camera going to do in a 360 roomscale environment? That only works in standing front-facing. As for coupling internal and external…Norm from Tested already asked Nate Mitchell if they’d allow users to use the external Rift sensors with the internal camera Rift-S…seeing as they use the same Constellation tracking system. He said they’d listen to what the user’s wanted, but Hugo Barra said in another interview…no, that’s not the direction they want to go.

      • Christian Schildwaechter

        You can set it up without drilling, but it probably isn’t the best idea. I have the lighthouse stations attached to the wall, sitting on the mounts supplied by HTC. I also had them sitting on existing shelves using 3rd party camera mounts with clamps (and sometimes just books) and on large tripods during public demonstrations. The tripods are the worst solution, as they take up a lot of space and people run into them all the time. The shelves aren’t flexible, so you often end up with a suboptimal positioning for the lighthouse stations.

        Which is probably why HTC doesn’t (and shouldn’t) provide tripods, sticky tape or similar situations, instead only mounts that require drilling: it is the best solution.

        The stations use standard 1/4″ camera mounts, so they are compatible to pretty much any tripod, and you can easily get adapters for microphone mounts. I bought a couple of 1/4″ screws on ebay (not available ubiquitously in metric countries) to build a couple of custom stands myself, simply because there is no “one size fits all” solution.

        The idea that Valve should add some type of tripod assumes that such a singular solution exists. I personally prefer Valves approach: include the equipment for the best solution (adapters for wall mount), but make it compatible enough so it is easy to use with 3rd party products for slightly inferior, but more flexible setups.

        This is less about price and more about avoiding bad compromises. Had they included wobbly tripods, a lot of users would have used them, wasting space and getting worse tracking, even in situations where wall mounting was an option. You can still do this, but at least you are aware that this is not the solution recommend by HTC and have to decide yourself what you are willing to sacrifice: price of small/large/cheap/expensive tripods, space required during use and transport, stability of tracking or walls without holes. And based on your use case that best solution will vary.

        • Suzanne Lyons

          I bought a 3rd lighthouse to use in a seated setup. I had it resting on speakers tilted down (large speakers!). It tracked great, BUT when I went to do a driving game using a wheel, every time I crashed/bumped I lost tracking for a second, it took me a minute to realise it was because the vibrations from the wheel were making its way to the lighthouse! Oops!

          Bought a simple camera mount from amazon for a few quid, screwed it in to door frame – works great, took a minute.

        • Immersive_Computing

          This was my solution for “Roomscale Plus” experiments.

          //uploads.disquscdn.com/images/af66072861d3db44368cd526c3dccf01a7d5fe51834b0980eb67e67cdc43c3e9.jpg

        • Jeremiah

          Thanks for your insight, I appreciate that.

          Maybe Valve could include some kind of flexible arm that can grip onto most objects and be twisted into any direction you choose, to maximise what people already have available to them. Obviously the lighthouses would connect onto the end of them.

          It would surprise me if they aren’t researching that very thing tbh.

          • Christian Schildwaechter

            Search for “camera mini c-clamp tripod swiveling” on amazon.com. I have two of these, they are a sort of rotating camera mount that can be clamped to anything that is up to about 2 inches wide, the mount itself can be rotated about 120° in any direction and it has two fold-in legs that turn it into a small tripod, adjustable with the large screw that is also used to tighten it to other objects. Not perfect, I had to modify the rather slippery screw, but they are light at 125g/4.4oz and small at 150mm x 80mm x 30mm / 6″ x 3″ x 1″ for less than USD 10.

            I wouldn’t recommend them as a permanent solution, as the screw can losen over time, dropping your rather expensive lighthouse stations to the ground, so I’m not sure if it would be a good idea to include them with the Vive by default. But they are great for demonstrating the Vive in different locations due to their flexibility and negligible size and weight.

          • Jeremiah

            Again you’re a gentleman and a scholar, thank you for your kind and insightful replies. I’m telling you that there is an elegant solution, it’s just that no one has though of it yet, maybe you could be the one ;)

            Awesome name BTW!

          • Trip

            They’ve been supplying one of the best solutions. Anyone who wants an alternative can easily and cheaply find something to suit them. Valve seriously can’t cater to every possibility, if they included two options there’d still be people wanting a third. If they included three some people would still need a fourth, and so on. Provide one good option, let people create their own solution if they want/need to do so. This is perfectly normal and reasonable.

          • Jeremiah

            Yeah it’s never going to be more niche though for those reasons and more, as much as I dislike Facebook, they seemed to have nailed a good tracking system in the Rift S and Quest.

            Yes there are compromises some are unwilling to make tracking wise, but for VR to make it as a viable mainstream business, it needs to lose a lot of its current clunkiness.

            I appreciate Valve aren’t aiming for the mainstream and I applaud them for what they doing, but I have to imagine even they realise their current solution is a temporary stop gap. Ten-twenty years from now we’ll all look back and cringe at how unintuitive and amateur it all was.

            Here’s to Valve pushing the envelope though and to Oculus for recognising what will actually sell to the average Joe.

        • Trip

          Something to consider: Using the existing lighthouse mounts with appropriate tape is an excellent option for those who don’t want to make holes.

      • Gerald Terveen

        I just put them on furniture with little boxes underneath. Originally had them on tripods, but that let to too much vibration (it was DK1 lighthouses … not final ones). Now I am using Vive-Pre Lighthouses and it works great without any serious setup issues aside from the power cables being a bit too short.

      • Suzanne Lyons

        I *think* there are tripods included with the complete bundle from Valve.

      • Trip

        A number of times I’ve set my lighthouses up temporarily in a new room by just setting them on top of existing furniture, shelves, etc. Less than a minute total setup time for lighthouses for me, and calibration is a cinch. Setting up my CV1 with three or four sensors, that was a NIGHTMARE every time.

        • Jarilo

          Yea, but like for that you need furniture, and a place to live. Damn it stupid Valve, I need a place to live to do VR? I’m homeless, assholes don’t ever think about everyone. /sarcasm

      • Jarilo

        I put my lighthouses on a book shelf once and it worked, that’s how dope they are.

      • Trip

        They are just little cubes that you can set up however you want. If you put it on a shelf, you just have to make sure it’s close enough to the edge that the shelf itself won’t occlude any of your play area. I have walked into a room plenty of times and plopped the lighthouses down wherever there was a spot and an outlet available, did a quick calibrate, and used the system without any issues. I’ve even done so with just one lighthouse if all I was going to run was “Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes” as a party game.

    • Because they had 3 years to make it smooth since 2016

      • Christian Schildwaechter

        “People expect too much in one year and not enough in ten years” Peter Molyneux (attributed)

        The first HMD was Ivan Sutherland’s “Sword of Damocles” in 1968. Two small, black and white high resolution cathode ray tubes suspended from the ceiling, with mechanical positional and rotational tracking. 40° FoV, 30fps (for very simple wireframe objects). That’s 51 years ago.

        I’ve tried VR HMDs based on small LCD in the early 90s (“Flight Helmet”, 240*120 pixels per eye). 6DoF wireless tracking with magnetic sensors costing > USD 1000 for the sensor alone. That’s about 25 years ago.

        The DK1 was a huge jump. It uses a standard 1280*800@60z LCD. The 5x lenses were the same as those from a magnifying glass available on Amazon. The 3DoF sensor was a readily available micro controller board with an IMU and custom software to reduce latency. That’s about seven years ago.

        The DK2 used a complete Samsung Galaxy Note 3 display unit. Not sure about the lenses and sensors, but they are similar to the DK1. The external IR camera for 6DoF was an existing model too. That’s about five years ago.

        The CV1 and HTC Vive pretty much were the first of HMDs with custom developed lenses and (for the Vive) a tracking system. They still use displays that were initially developed for mobile phones. The main reason why we see such a dramatic jump in development pace starting with the DK1 is that most of the parts existed: fast graphics cards, high resolution displays, small sensors, cheap cameras. Combine these with a lot of very clever software, and you get a decent HMD. That was three years ago.

        People forget that all this took a lot of time, and most of the development came long before the DK1. We now have the problem that we pretty much maxed out the existing GPUs, that we need displays with resolutions that make no sense in mobile phones and 6DoF tracking that has little use outside of VR/AR. VR can no longer simply reuse existing developments from other areas, genuine new research and production is necessary without a mass market to pay for it.

        So three years isn’t a lot. And in reality counting doesn’t start three years ago, but 50, and we actually got a jumpstart from the mobile industry worth about a decade. In a way we have won the technology lottery, but people forget that things looked pretty bleak just a few years ago, and instead expect even higher lottery winnings next year.

        • Was talking about SteamVR

          • Christian Schildwaechter

            So was I. A lot of the research and development of SteamVR can be attributed to Michael Abrash, whom Valve hired in 2011 (after stints as graphics research guru at Microsoft, id Software and Intel and trying to hire him many times) to head their VR development. Between 2012 and 2016 there was a lot of cooperation and shared research between Oculus and Valve, and today Abrash is Chief Scientist at Oculus. As mentioned most of the work has been going on for a while at different places, VR HMDs didn’t just pop into existence in 2016.

            If you want an perspective on “three years” I recommend watching the Abrash Keynote from Oculus Connect 3 in 2016, after the release of Vive and CV1. He makes some educated predictions for VR technology five years into the future aka 2021, which addresses pretty much everything people now demand, incl. higher resolutions, large field of view, improved lenses etc., and explains why all of these are pretty hard problem, e.g. limits of lens technology making it hard to go far above 100° FoV.

            Very informative talk, about 30min. And few people on the planet are more qualified to explain why it takes so long than the guy who provided much of the research groundwork for both of the main companies driving VR today.

          • Vive popped into bedrooms in 2016 w/ beta testing software

          • Christian Schildwaechter

            Maybe I am misunderstanding what you are trying to say, but that Valve was developing the VR HMD that would later be called Vive and produced/sold by HTC was well known. They demonstrated the “SteamSight” HMD at the Steam Dev Days in January 2014 with apps developed by Owlchemy (Job Simulator etc.), and presented a “History of VR at Vive” mini exhibition at GDC 2015 with prototypes reaching back to 2012. The HTC Vive is just the polished SteamSight running SteamVR, and the only thing that “popped up” in 2016 was that Valve choose HTC as their hardware partner to bring it to the market.

          • Immersive_Computing

            Steamsight did not use lighthouse tracking? It had an onboard camera tracking fiducial markers which had been printed (A4 size) and stuck all over the walls and ceiling.

            Valve said it worked well but consumers would not wallpaper a room for VR

          • Christian Schildwaechter

            I’m not sure if all the prototypes were publicly called SteamSight, as they used different names internally. If they switched the name with each prototype like Oculus did, you are right. The SteamSight first shown to the public in January 2014 used fiducial marker tracking, but they had already started working on a laser tracking system in 2013, which was integrated into the HMD in May 2014.

            The first small batch of prototypes with more than just one sample being produced in late 2014 used early versions of the lighthouse stations. These were actually given to a few select developers, so they are kind of the pre-alpha dev kits. There is also an internal version of the SteamSight from late 2013 which uses IR camera based outside-in tracking similar to the Oculus constellation tracking, only replacing the IR LED on the HMD with reflective dots and a stationary IR floodlight.

          • Immersive_Computing

            You can see steamsight with onboard camera in the secret room in “The Lab”. Walls and ceiling covered with fiducial markers. I believe this was the room at Valve HQ, they then built a replica at Oculus, this was what Zuckerberg tested and made his decision on, not realising it was valve’s tech.

            If you put that headset on it takes you to the second secret room with the lighthouse prototype headset and you can see the prototype base stations in the two corners. It was very cool for Valve to include these historical references inside “The Lab”.

          • Trip

            This is really interesting stuff @christianschildwaechter:disqus thank you for posting! Is there someplace I can read about all this stuff? This is the kind of thing I like to ‘sperg out on. =)

    • Oracle

      I found the orig Vive “lighthouses” to be a royal PITA. After repeated failures, returns, and replacements, I gave up on the VIVE altogether and got a refund on the POS. Those “lighthouses” left a permanent stain in my memory, and I’ll avoid any future VR products that include them. The original Rift, which I still own, didn’t, and doesn’t suffer anything without them. This “Index” thing falls in my “avoid” category for this very reason.

      • Jeppe

        You must have been extremely unlucky then. The lighthouse technology is very reliable in general, and offers the most precise tracking for VR to date.

      • Bryan Ischo

        I would expect that you already know that you are in the vast, vast minority here and that you are using this little soapbox to try to make your experience seem more relevant.

        You are literally the very first person I have heard of, in three years of reading articles and posts about the Vive, that had that problem.

        • Oracle

          Well, Vive sure know about it, because they replaced my “lighthouses”, and the replacements failed too. Resolution was return for refund. Lesson learned.

      • jj

        just chiming in to agree that youre the only one with this issue.

      • Trip

        That’s odd. I wonder if there were environmental issues… windows or reflective surfaces? My experience has always been extremely positive with them but any time I was in a room with windows I had heavy curtains covering them during VR use.

        • Zantetsu

          I can second this. I actually first used my Vive in a room with full-length mirrors all along the wall nearest the play space (it was a Tai Chi studio). I had to put bed sheets up over the mirrors or else tracking was very, very wrong. The lighthouse system cannot handle large reflective surfaces, so be sure you cover them up when you use your Vive.

          I can also point out a minor additional issue: the lighthouses can often interfere with other IR based equipment like remote controls. Now my lighthouses are mounted in my living room and they wreak havoc with my TV remote so I have to turn them off when I am not using the Vive.

          • Trip

            Out of curiosity because I think it would be an interesting data point: Given the complications you suffered what is your overall opinion of Lighthouse tracking? Do you think it was a really good choice for a true enthusiast system like Index?

            For me, my personal needs aside, I think that the accuracy and (comparatively) occlusion free tracking weighed against the need to set up the base stations is an excellent trade-off for the target consumers of Index. I wouldn’t want to see Lighthouse go away until another simpler setup becomes equally capable.

          • Zantetsu

            I think lighthouse is an excellent tracking system and I have no complaints about it. Yes, I had a few minor issues when getting things set up but the tracking is very reliable after correct set-up.

            I do think that the inside-out tracking of WMR headsets is compelling though only because it’s so portable. If they can get a few more cameras onto the headsets (including one or two rear facing) to increase the tracking volume to include all hand/arm positions, and can get them close to the tracking fidelity of lighthouse, then I think they will be the better consumer choice.

            That being said, I think the accuracy and reliability of lighthouse will always have a place in high-end and industrial/professional VR.

            To more directly answer your question: I think lighthouse was a great choice for Index.

      • bmichaelb

        Your issues with the lighthouses were probably due to where you had them mounted, and whatever reflective surfaces surrounding the play area. Rift uses infrared cameras, that pick up infrared LEDs in the controllers and headsets. Vive and all other SteamVR headsets use lighthouses…that flood the play area with an infrared grid, that gets picked up by infrared sensors in both the controllers and headsets. They work the same, but opposite.

        If your lighthouses aren’t positioned properly, you may not be tracking the lower part of the play area closest to the lighthouses. And depending on the angle, you may not be tracking the top part of the play area…ie: the space above the player. If you have a linoleum floor, picture frames on walls, or glass tables nearby…then the infrared being beamed into the play area will bounce all over the place…screwing up the tracking. I get the same with my Rift sensors…reflecting the LEDs in the controllers. I also found that warm white fluorescents have enough infrared in them to screw up tracking during the initial Rift setup. A screen tells you to stand in the middle of the play area, hold the controller up to eye level, then hold the trigger button until the green circle completes. With the fluorescents…the green circle completes, but it errors out and won’t let me continue. Turn the warm white lights off, using cool whites instead…the circle completes, and lets me continue with the setup. Even sunshine through the window screws up tracking.

        • Oracle

          I can’t/won’t remodel my “play area” to suit the Vive’s lighthouses. It’s up to the VR manufacturers to offer equipment people can use without having to resort to draconian measures to accomodate them. It IS, what it IS, and either the lighthouses can deal with it, or I can’t deal with the lighthouses.

          • bmichaelb

            I guess you’re S.O.L. then.

    • Maxime Pare

      My opinion is that inside out tracking is the future, VR will never progress as long as you need external peripherals to track it, that’s one thing that Oculus got right in their new iteration. Sure some occasional occlusion can occur but it’s so minor that it’s now a non factor

      • Gerald Terveen

        I agree that it is likely the future … but as long as external tracking solutions do offer better quality of tracking there is no reason to switch when gameplay, especially competitive gameplay, still benefits from it.

        Might be irrelevant to the content you consume, but to say it is a non factor is dismissing all content where it still matters.

        • Maxime Pare

          Not many competitive vr gaming at the moment no? Only one I know is echo arena, and the tested guys said it worked fine. I also saw some French video showing the inside out tracking on the Rift S works fine with a gunstock.

        • dsadas

          that’s is FACTUALLY the future, not likely.

      • david vincent

        Sure, when we’ll have cameras & VPU on the controllers themselves, and so basically no more occlusion.

        • mirak

          The wiimote has a camera, but it require IR leds on the outside.

          Cameras would make the controller price explode though

          • dsadas

            dumbass then you won’t need as many cameras on the headsets.. And it will still be way cheaper than outside tracking.

          • mirak

            Idiot, you don’t even realise how much processing power and energy is needed to analyse the camera feed.

      • Ringooooooo

        With inside out tracking though you through out the ability to track your whole body. It is a niche thing atm but in experiences like VRChat it completely changes the experience. Inside out tracking will only ever work with stuff that guesstimates your lower body stuff based on your head and controller data.

        • Maxime Pare

          I never experimented full body tracking but it something that will also be limited unless you are walking on a threadmill what’s the purpose of tracking your legs?

          • Hivemind9000

            what’s the purpose of tracking your legs

            Dance Moves? Kung Fu kicks?

          • Maxime Pare

            Haha kudos for dance move, kung fu kicks are a bad idea waiting to happen lol

          • Jistuce

            Everybody was kung-fu fighting, those kicks were fast as lightning.

          • Hivemind9000

            In fact it was a little bit frightening…

          • Jistuce

            How they fought with expert timing.

      • Trip

        My opinion is that Lighthouse is best for enthusiast VR, inside out is for the filthy casuals. =P

        I’m biased though, SteamVR + Lighthouse tracking is the only setup that allows me to properly compensate for the movements of my 6DOF motion sim so Lighthouse going away would make me cry.

    • Jarilo

      Agreed, and two minutes to set up light houses is if I’m drunk. Usually 30 seconds if you’ve got stands.

      • Trip

        Thirty seconds is probably more accurate but I didn’t want people to think I was exaggerating! And the calibration is so easy.. especially quick calibrate if you aren’t setting up room scale.

  • judgeman

    ZERO innovation with pathetic lenses low FOV from a Billion dollar company. At the very least FFS, do custom NON-fresnel lenses. The FOV should be minimum 140+ and not faked by changing the design slightly so the eye relief is closer.

    • kuhpunkt

      Don’t judge, man.

      • judgeman

        why not, it’s not like i’m wrong am I. Don’t you want a better VR headset instead of the crap these companies are pedaling…

        • Sam Illingworth

          I want better VR headsets. I also want flying cars, but unless I have an idea how to make them practical I’m not going to have a go at car manufacturers for not making them.

          • judgeman

            xtal vr, a small romanian company manages to manufacture custom non-fresnel lenses so I think valve can to. Also you don’t know SHIT! so shut the F up

          • Sam Illingworth

            Woah dude, calm down! Is everything OK?

          • Simple O’Rourke

            He can’t get laid IRL so VR Porn is all he has. He wants lifelike NOW! Can’t blame the poor guy.

          • judgeman

            ohhhh so funny, welldone! Retards the lot of you. It’s because of morons like you guys these companies are producing shit and literally killing VR slowly. Valve Index is crap, period.

          • jj

            you are clearly new to vr, so let us welcome you to the process of evolving technology and the fact that it DOES take time. we cant go straight to the end…. have patients little ass hat, or be willing to spend 6k+ because those are the features youre asking for

          • daveinpublic

            ‘literally killing VR slowly’

          • Sam Illingworth

            How do you actually get VR porn anyway? Is there a special VR web browser you could use?

          • jj

            you reek of noob

          • Sam Illingworth

            I am! I tried once but it wasn’t immediately obvious how to do it so I got bored and gave up. That’s just who I am! I’d appreciate some hints though!

          • Luke Finnigan

            Buy XTAL headset then c*ck sucker.

            You’re the one who doesn’t know what they’re talking about.

            They’ve made various improvements and overcome issues that no other headsets have done yet in this price range.

            The tested reviews so far look promising.

          • Luke Finnigan

            XTAL headset = $6000. So the fact you’re using them as a reference point for what Valve should be doing with their $500 headset puts your comment into perspective.

          • judgeman

            Hey Dick Head, custom lenses cost $20-$40 max, do you have any manufacturing experience.. No, so go F your self, Xtal is also a major ripoff.

          • VR-Astro

            You are a complete moron if you think lenses cost that amount. Your VR credibility just went into the negative.

          • Luke Finnigan

            Yep… Judgeman is a clueless idiot.

            “xtal vr, a small romanian company manages to manufacture custom non-fresnel lenses”
            Then says
            “Xtal is also a major ripoff.”

            It sounds like he has all the answers to the biggest problems that the biggest VR manufacturers in the world have been facing.

        • kuhpunkt

          Did you even try it yet?

        • Bryan Ischo

          Hi – your comments are uninteresting and insulting. So welcome to my blocklist! You can enjoy trading insults with the other losers in there.

        • Hivemind9000

          He was punning your name dude. Someone might be taking themselves too seriously perhaps?

        • Sal Al

          You really can’t get a joke… Don’t “Judgeman”

    • Sam Illingworth

      What’s the right kind of lens?

      • Jeremiah

        The ones in the PSVR, were for me, much better than the competitions.

        • kontis

          It’s difficult to get a wider FOV with them and they have much worse pupil swim, which makes many opticians afraid of giving people headaches, but you are not the only one who prefers them. I think even Carmack agrees.

          • Jeremiah

            No doubt they are the best solution so far this gen.

        • Jarilo

          Their advantage was RGB that made up for the low resolution, these new flood of headsets for the PC are all RGB.

          • Jeremiah

            Yeah but Sony’s was an rgb OLED, clearly the best of both worlds (for the most part), I was shocked at how much of a downgrade the Rift felt after using a PSVR tbh. Not to mention the lack of glare, the superior comfort, ergonomics and offscreen support of the PSVR.

            If its true from the rumours that the Index has even worse glare than the Rift, then for me it’s dead on arrival. That was the single biggest immersion breaking foible of the majority of the current gen VR headsets and Sony averted it altogether.

            Like ice said elsewhere, I’m not a Sony fan, in fact I don’t like them really. But they clearly understand consumer hardware a lot better than the competition, at least in regards to gaming.

    • Cybis Z

      It was clear from the get-go that Valve designed this for high fidelity. Why do you think they went with Fresnel? To be cheap? LOL. You think they don’t know what they’re doing?

      From what other reviewers have said, the sweet spot is large on the Index – perfectly crisp with no distortion from edge to edge, unlike Pimax headsets which have a lot of distortion in their periphery. After all, what’s the point of a large field of view if you’re still limited to keeping your eyes fixed forward to maintain clarity?

    • Jo Toku

      You are welcome to make your ideal headset, let us know when is ready for purchase

    • kontis

      Size/weight/pupil swim factor of fresnel lenses is the best in the world of any lenses currently available for manufacturing for ANY price. There are some interesting alternatives in the labs (pancake lenses, waveguides), but it’s future tech, not current tech.

      The resolution is too low to really push FOV further. Index keeps a reasonable balance here.

    • Logic and Reason

      Sounds great should around in 2-3 years lol

    • duplissi

      So much salt…

      The index is a good all round headset. It excels in a couple of areas, refresh rate, pixel persistence, and potentially audio?.

      Also, no current headset on the market has lenses like the index. Fresnel was probably chosen for weight reasons.

      I was disappointed that the FOV wasn’t higher, but it is still going to be better than everything under the pimax.

      my last point, people keep dismissing the refresh rate. I do not understand why. a high refresh rate is going to be a HUGE difference… Perhaps these people have never tried a high refresh rate monitor, or if they have they never set it above 60? lol…

    • Jarilo

      Damn, if only they hired you.

    • Ringoooooo

      What do you expect though? The companies that have made super wide FOV HMDs all have issues with distortion (Pimax being the big one). The ones that haven’t have headsets that cost OVER 2k. Valve made a HMD that has more FOV than the Vive, a higher refresh rate, and new controllers that better fit what people want out of a VR controller; all for under 1k. It’s a high end (but not out of the stratosphere enterprise pricing) HMD that improves in all areas except color/darkness reproduction due to the switch to LCD.

      The product you want would cost over 2k. The market is not ready for that yet.

    • dsadas

      I kind of agree with you. They focused on stuff like Hz, instead of resolution which is a huge joke. More so the godrays they say are even worse than on rift, which everyone bitched about yet nobody bitched about Hz, but we get more hz instead. They were too lazy and cheap to design new lenses from the ground up and instead they basically went with those from the vive. And why is it so hard for them to include foveated rendering already? A few years ago gabe said we will have it by the end of 2018. Where the fuck is it? How about making your own inside out tracking so you can cut costs and then include foveated rendering and higher resolution all in this price, but with real second gen specs. I’m very sure rift s tracking is good enough.

  • Sam Illingworth

    Surprising that their devs didn’t want eye tracking so they could produce better graphics on more machines. Is there some problem with foveated rendering that’s putting people off using it?

    • Jeremiah

      That would probably double the price.

      • jj

        no it wouldnt

    • Luke Finnigan

      I would imagine it has it’s problems… peoples eyes are different… why make the image clearer on one part of the screen when they can just produce a good image on the whole screen.

      • VR-Astro

        Yeah that makes a lot of sense. Rolls eyes.

    • wheeler

      It’s a shit load of work to implement foveated rendering without hardware features like nvidia’s variable rate shading (or AMD’s counterpart). Right now only nvidia’s 20 series GPUs have that feature. And all of that work would go to waste once VRS-like tech is well established in a few years. So even with eyetracking, the vast majority of developers would just wait for more widespread hardware support anyway.

      However there are many more uses for eyetracking than just foveated rendering. I would’ve liked to see it included as well

      • Sam Illingworth

        Yeah but someone buying this headset would hope it would last a good few years (and is more likely than most to own a 20 series GPU I suspect). Plus there’s the chicken and the egg – having hardware out there that supports foveated rendering would encourage devs to include it in their engines (and of course Valve could do so).

      • bmichaelb

        The GTX 16 series also has it. It’s a Turing feature, but not specifically RTX.

    • Rudl Za Vedno

      Real time Tobii eye tracking is not there yet. It can track around 2/3 of eyes perfectly, but it has been total mess for remaining 1/3 of tested subjects. That’s not nearly good enough for broad adaptation outside of enterprise market. Tobii is doing lots of R&D (probably also other companies like Sony, but I only know what’s happening at Tobii) to find new common denominator to eye’s light reflection problem which would work on +90% of population. It’s hard to believe how different our eyes reflect light back to the sensors.

      • jj

        I use tobii eye tracking all the time, I have terrible eye control with a lazy eye and all and can 100% argue that the tobiis work great and a lot more then what you presented them to be. We have clients come in all the time, sit down and use it WITHOUT calibrating, and it still works nearly perfect. So i have a lot of doubt in your reasoning as to why the valve doesnt include tobbi.

        • Rudl Za Vedno

          What are you using tobii eye tracking for? It’s one thing to use it for mostly static/prerendered content and tabs choosing and something completely else when you need to track sub 12 ms latency content needed for comfortable gaming. That’s why you see HTC PRO EYE targeting enterprise not retail market.

          • jj

            gaming and interactive experiences, havent been able to test it at 12 ms speeds but thats a big difference then saying it doesnt work for 1/3 of testers because it clearly works for 99% of people.

          • Rudl Za Vedno

            It wouldn’t work for one third of the people if used in retail market (retail gaming VR market if you wish). Anything above 12 ms pupil tracking lag becomes quite noticeable with foveated rendering as our brain can notice frame changes at very, very high frequencies (between 2000-3000Hz is when human brain motion smoothing kicks in). It’s not that today’s Tobii eye tracking doesn’t work, it’s a matter of how much input lag is needed to track your eyes correctly. It can track 2/3 of human eyes under 12 ms but it needs more time with 1/3 of human population. And that’s where the problem lies.

          • jj

            cool nice explanation

          • Bryan Ischo

            That’s fine but for the purposes of foveated rendering, does it matter? You can just render a larger area at full resolution assuming that the ‘slop’ will catch the inaccuracies in measurement. You might even have some kind of confidence value coming out of the eye tracking software and if the eye tracking confidence is low enough at any moment, you can just render one or two frames full resolution.

          • jj

            you just nailed it on the head, thats exactly how it could work to find the best optimal use as processing increases. Id say its less of a tobii issue and more of a computers processing abilities at this point

          • Dsadsa

            That would produce flickering and artifacts. Downscaling graphics to low quality internally in an engine does not guarantee being imperceptible from high quality. Not to mention that would also cause framerate spikes which causes all sorts of annoyances with engines and debugging.

          • Zantetsu

            Yeah I guess you didn’t understand my suggestion? My suggestion is to render a *larger* area around the tracked foveal region than you would normally, in order to allow for some lag or errors in the tracking to be “hidden”. The effect would be that you would render *more* high resolution outside of the foveal region than you would normally need to do, except sometimes where tracking inaccuracies mean that the user is gazing offset from where the tracking believes they are, in which case they will be reduced to having the rendered region having no “run-off” into the periphery.

            Completely blown tracking would generally be uncommon would it not? So the very occasional “framerate spike” would I think be an acceptable price to pay for having foveated rendering that works well even with some minor inaccuracies in tracking.

            Now if the tracking is so bad that it loses the plot often or is often wildly inaccurate, then nothing is going to help, and you shouldn’t be doing foveated rendering in the first place because your tracking solution is not good enough.

      • Jerald Doerr

        Some people just don’t get it…. Or understand wtf your asking for… People actually think (cuz they read shit) that eye tracking is going to save on GPU power…. If you believe that you’re fucking retarded… You can do foveated rendering. Without eye tracking… And when it gets down to it… Eye tracking is going to use more possessing power…… To do what it’s really used for…. Simulation of real life..
        End of story!

        • jj

          Everything you just said was wrong…

          • Jerald Doerr

            The only part that could sound wrong is that eye tracking is going to use more GPU… So I’ll rephrase it for you jj… Eye tracking will be used to calculate DOF at the end of its life and this will take more GPU to process the post effect.

            Let me know what I’m wrong about?

      • WyrdestGeek

        Maybe they could release the feature with a little switch to toggle it on or off.

      • Sam Illingworth

        I see. I’d still like to have it even with a 66% chance of it working, but maybe it does cost an awful lot to include (though I’d be surprised). They could have designed an optional solution, that would have been nice.

      • bmichaelb

        “Real time Tobii eye tracking is not there yet. It can track around 2/3 of eyes perfectly, but it has been total mess for remaining 1/3 of tested subjects.”

        Do you have a source for this info? They showcased Vive Pro Eye at CES…never heard a bad thing about them from anybody. StarVR also showcased their headset with eye tracking/foveated rendering, and again…nobody said anything about limited functionality.

    • kontis

      – eye tracking still expensive and not as reliable as it should be
      – foveated rendering requires native in-engine implementation and even the fixed one is used only in a few games
      – foveated rendering tends to have significant overhead on GPUs without VRS (RTX) resulting in degraded performance in some scenes

      People get excited about its potential but the challenges are still significant and its not a solved problem.

      • Sam Illingworth

        I thought the point was it *reduces* load on the GPU? Haven’t there been lots of tests and demos showing that?

      • bmichaelb

        Oculus Go uses fixed foveated rendering, and Pimax currently has the option in it’s own software. As for having significant overhead in non-Turing cards…it works with variable rate shading…won’t work with Pascal. It doesn’t need to be RTX either…just Turing…ie: GTX 1660/Ti works as well, and hopefully GTX 1680/Ti will also be released. At the same time…AMD’s next GPU supposedly has their own version of variable rate shading as well.

        HTC showcased Vive Pro Eye at CES…increases resolution 9x, then reduces clarity to everything outside the user’s focal point, resulting in an incredibly crisp image. Even without the supersampling, foveated rendering can lower GPU usage by as much as 50%. As for implementing in games…devs have already stated it’s pretty easy on their end…it’s already built into the shaders.

        • Trip

          Foveated rendering with eye tracking sounds fantastic, and if all you say is accurate it sounds like it probably won’t be terribly long until we see consumer grade HMD’s finally getting it. As for Index, maybe they’ll be able to sell an add-on down the road when the time is right.

          • bmichaelb

            That’s what I’m hoping…Pimax’s eye tracking module looks like it’s attached to the facial interface, so it just snaps in place. Hopefully Index can do the same thing.

    • Suzanne Lyons

      Im more surprised by the absence of a wireless solution. Especially given Valves own comments in years past about it.

      • Andrew Jakobs

        Wireless solution will just add another couple of $100 to the already high price..

        • Suzanne Lyons

          I dont expect it for nothing. So sign me up please!

          • Andrew Jakobs

            But if it’s targeted at consumer prices, than it’s unrealistic to expect it to have wireless (connection to PC) and or eyetracking.. Those are features for higher-end VR headsets which are at the moment only interesting for people who want to spend A LOT of money $1000+ at least..

          • Suzanne Lyons

            This is a high end product, which costs $1000. I would bet large that if there was a wireless option at $1,200, it would sell out first.

            Eye tracking, while very interesting, isnt ready for the prime time yet. Wireless solutions exist now and work. I can only guess that the WiGig solution that was developed between HTC and Intel were either asking too much from Valve to use, or Valve didnt even try – perhaps thinking about selling a Mk2 version without needing to bump any other specs, who knows.

          • Andrew Jakobs

            Or they didn’t go for it as it also needs extra batteries for operation, and in reality it also is still in early development, there are still a lot of problems with wireless solutions, especially if you want to have 120hz..
            This kind of wireless is still not really ready, and I don’t even want to know what kind of health problems it might produce having such transmitter so close to your brain.. (there still aren’t even decent studies (especially long term effects) done on the effect of Wifi and 4g/5g). if you want wireless, you’ll just have to opt for a third party addon. Which IMHO is also better, in that it is better to have a modular design.

          • Suzanne Lyons

            Oh you are one of those dont sit too close to the TV or you will go blind people. Ya know, if space cancer was a concern, you would think you might lead with that! Instead, your first remark was it could cost a couple of hundred bucks lol. Even on your next comment there was no mention of space cancer, again you just mention cost. Only on this last reply do you get around to bringing up a concern over possible space cancer, but not before expressing how inconvenient batteries are, or that there is still work to be done with wireless (source?). Only after all that does space cancer get a mention, which doesnt seem to bother you that much since you finish up by suggesting going with a better (!?) third party addon.

            Probably not much use in talking to you (obviously I couldnt resist poking fun at all this absurdity at least once tho). I mean, why would a third party addon be best? Modular? You know they could offer that too, right? :O I could quote Gabe from 2017 on his own first hand experiences with wireless even back then, or an engineer who worked on the WiGig addon for the Vive with regards to its bandwidth, but by all means look that up yourself.

            Now, you will understand why I wont be able to reply further. It has occurred to me that I could drop at any moment from the space cancer, as I type this on an iPad, the dresser on my left has a lamp and 2 controllers, immediately beside me is my phone, I have airpods in, towards the end of the bed to the left is a heater, at the end of the bed there is a TV on a unit which also contains an array of consoles, a Wifi booster, a lamp, below the bed is a sub, a streaming PC, on a shelf to the right of me is a fan, on the locker opposite is my husbands laptop, another lamp… are you counting? I have literally run out of fingers counting items in just this room with either wifi, bt, or other radio wave connectivity. So I should really get my affairs in order!! But good for you, staying loyal to that curly cord on your phone. Anyway, bye!

          • Andrew Jakobs

            Hmmm.. I guess you should actually look into studies about mobilephone usage up to your ear for long periodes….. There has actually already been established that it induced braintumors.. But hee, be my guest to use it for long periods of time, maybe a tumor will actually fill that empty skull of yours..
            And yes, we are surrounded by wireless devices, and yet we don’t know the effects of those devices on long term.. It’s already been proven that living under a mobile transmitter has a higher sickness rate than further away from it.. But heee, long ago nobody thought asbestos was a problem, or smoking, or hell, even xrays, or living under powerlines, but decades later we know better..

      • Sam Illingworth

        Super expensive though those solutions aren’t they? Also reasonably easy to do as an optional extra perhaps? Do we know if the cable is removable?

    • KOSTANTINOS KOD

      Cost ,they dont use neither good screens nor lenses in 1000$ devices atm…

    • Trip

      I’ll fanboi away again here. =P I think that the fact that eye tracking isn’t included means that Valve weighed the benefits and practicality of eye tracking for an enthusiast gaming headset against the cost and taking into account the current realities such as implementation by third parties and decided that it wasn’t the way to go. I also believe based on multiple reviews of Index that Valve chose the displays on the same basis, but that’s off topic here.

      • Sam Illingworth

        Yeah, I agree. I’d be very surprised if Valve didn’t consider eye tracking and decided against it for a good reason, I’m just curious what that reason is. From what I’d seen it didn’t look like the technology would be a significant portion of the price of the headset but presumably that’s not so. I wonder why.

  • ‘fidelity first’ yeah right that’s why they didn’t use next gen resolution panels but 2016 resolution instead

    • Rudl Za Vedno

      I’d love to see 2x 2560x1440px RGB OLED panels in Valve Index with 100% pixel implementation 170 H FOV distortion free optics, the same as XTAL uses, but lets face it current production costs of such headset are north of 3K. Even Acer’s StarVR One’s production costs are around 3K regardless of targeting larger production numbers. You can’t expect $500 headset to be able to deliver the same visual fidelity as $3K headset. Maybe in 5-10 years time but who knows. High quality optics doesn’t get any cheaper. If you expect Zeiss like quality optics, you need to pay for it.

      • jj

        yeah and good luck running the equivalent of 4k at a fast enough refresh rate not to get sick. its literally impossible at this moment. So anyone asking for higher res HMD’s has literally no idea what theyre asking for.

        • Rudl Za Vedno

          2x 2560x1440px = 7.3 million pixels.
          4K = 8.3 million pixels.
          GTX 1080TI and RTX 2080 (TI) can run it at 12ms or lower with SS at 100 % or lower and lowering some graphics settings in games. Look at the video of Sweviwer reviewing XTAL HMD. You can also use motion smoothing if you can’t hit 80 or 90 Hz natively.

          • Logic and Reason

            Thats an incredibly poor comparison.

          • jj

            those are literally the BEST cards you can get and was the point i was making. Unless you have the best gear out there, its not going to be a smooth experience. And thats basic 100% SS and also sounds like people are still struggling to get 90 unless using the motion smoothing.

          • Immersive_Computing

            I bought my 2080Ti just for PC VR. Since my Rift broke in February, and Lenovo turned up with stuck pixels, it’s been patiently waiting…for Index, roll on early July

          • New frame rate amplification technologies come to the rescue for high framerates at high resolutions.

            Over the next ten years, research is being worked on for 5:1 and 10:1 frame rate amplification ratios — e.g. multiplying framerates by 5x to 10x without needing to reduce detail levels.

            This will require a small bit of GPU silicon, but this is amazing technology that will solve the “retina resolution” + “retina refresh rate” performance problem.

          • Cybis Z

            The GTX 1080ti isn’t for sale anymore. The RTX 2080ti is a $1400 graphics card and the absolute *best* you can possibly get. You really expect companies to make consumer-oriented VR headsets that require one?

      • While OLED is great, LCD can do less motion blur than OLED.

        The Talbot-Plateau Law is less of a barrier with LCD (outsourced light) than OLED (tiny pixels) allowing brighter low-persistence modes. Flashing twice as bright for shorter time periods is easier with that outsourced light, lowering persistence. There has been difficulties brightly achieving distortion-free sub-1ms persistence with OLEDs.

        The newly released LCD-based Valve Index VR headset to achieve as low as 0.3ms MPRT persistence, less than one-quarter the display motion blur of the OLED-based Oculus Rift VR headset.

        Also, at DisplayWeek 2019, Japan Display demonstrated local-dimming for VR LCDs, so the good blacks should be able to arrive with VR LCDs in the coming years (2020+).

        I anticipate the LCD horse will still be major in 10 years from now because the engineering challenges of LCD are easier to overcome.

        I prefer OLEDs at the moment but temporally, the best LCDs I have seen surpass OLED motion clarity. LCD is capable of bottomless motion clarity once the GtG elephant is squeezed into the VBI, and thus GtG completely hidden by eyes; and motion blur fully controlled by how brief you can flash a light on a fully-refreshed LCD frame.

        Chief Blur Buster / Inventor of TestUFO

        • Immersive_Computing

          A question for you. What effect do you think the 120/144hz display modes for Index will have for achieving presence?

          • 120Hz will be huge improvement over Rift’s 80Hz. There’s a comfort index with stroboscopics.

            The comfort of 120Hz is much higher than the comfort of 80Hz. For example, while 90% can tolerate 80Hz, that leaps to roughly 98% when you use 120Hz instead. Some people need even higher refresh rates — people get PWM-dimming eyestrain at 864Hz for example.

            Unfortunately, the Phantom Array Effect is still visible even at 480Hz, as seen in this photographic proof of my 480Hz tests:
            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f54e48b22f9a70d38e642d4a700a6badb9142d693aaeda7c6a3b95bead723d51.jpg

            You can easily see this with head-turning or eye-rolling in high-contrast screens like the loading screens of Robo Ready — black text on white backgrounds.

            You can add GPU blurring to hide the phantom array, but then that is unwanted motion blur. The only way to be blurless+strobosopicless is ultra high Hz (>1000Hz+)

            Retina refresh rate requires going well beyond 1000Hz, as seen in Blur Buster Law: The Amazing Journey To Future 1000Hz Displays.

            Getting there will take quite some time, including the use of future Frame Rate Amplification Technologies to achieve retina refresh rates at retina resolutions.

            Real life doesn’t flicker. Real-life doesn’t strobe. Strobing is a great humankind bandaid, but by 2030-2100, retina refresh rates (>1000fps @ >1000Hz) will be the preferred method of motion blur reduction to more successfully five-sigma pass the Holodeck Turning Test.

          • Immersive_Computing

            Thanks for your detailed response. My understanding of the increased frame rate, display optics and wider FOV on Index is the effect on the subconscious “lizard brain” that should create ideal conditions for presence.

            I enjoyed the increased clarity of Rift CV1 but never had the same feelings of presence that I had using Vive, Rift always felt like the FOV was slightly too narrow and square sided, my Vive with 4mm face cushion was more “open”.

          • FOV increase will be huge improvement, though may exacerbate discomfort with low-Hz flicker-based motion blur reduction.

            Wide FOV retina displays demands higher refresh rate (due to the Vicious Cycle Effect), so I’m very glad 120Hz is a great incremental step concurrent with the increase in resolution and FOV.

        • david vincent

          Interesting. Funny how we thought OLED would be the future of VR (at least for some time), and now already, good old LCD is back again.

          • In 10 years I anticipate OLED & LCD will still be leapfrogging — in certain display industries — because of a variety of factors.

            There’s enough pros and improvement-room of both to co-exist for the foreseeable future in this refresh rate race to retina refresh rates.

    • Cybis Z

      2016 resolution? I don’t know of any headset earlier than the Vive Pro (released 2018) at the same resolution. Additionally, RGB panels do give a higher perceived resolution than pentile panels.

      Do you want this to be a headset that *requires* an RTX 2080/2080ti to power?

      • Rudl Za Vedno

        Samsung Odyssey and Samsung Odyssey+ also have 1440×1600 Pentile AMOLED panels. Granted it has 1/3 less subpixels than RGB matrix and black smearing, but perfect blacks. Best panels would be RGB OLED used in XTAL and ACERVR ONE.

        • Jo Toku

          but are they at 120-144hz?

          • Rudl Za Vedno

            No and neither will be Index without Motion Smoothing turned on or RTX 2080TI in your PC. GPU will render 60-72FPS and double it to get to 120-144hz, producing artefacts as a byproduct.

          • daveinpublic

            You have pretty picky taste for the year 2019.

          • Rudl Za Vedno

            It’s been 3 years since VR hit the market and look at the progress. two steps forward, one backward at best.

          • Zantetsu

            This is because you didn’t join a VR development company and help push headset development forwards. It’s all your fault, really.

          • Jo Toku

            and you are basing this one what exactly? Are you a development team for Valve?

        • Cybis Z

          You’re right. The Samsung Odyssey was released about 3 months earlier than the Vive Pro (Oct 2017 vs. Jan 2018). Still, OP called this a 2016 resolution.

      • You’re right it is 2017 resolution. Still I was hoping to see next gen panels in this hmd.

    • Jo Toku

      Pretty sure they meants higher frame rate, and larger FOV

    • geff

      You would need a 2080ti to run a VR HMD with the resolution you want at 90fps. The computer hardware is not there yet. That or a widely accepted foveated rendering setup with eyetracking to lessen the GPU load.

  • MW

    Blah blah blah… Too high price is too high price. As for device for masses (with main destination as game device) is just too expensive to have any sense.
    Cost more than entire PC rig of average gamer, Index is pretty pointless (small group of rich enthusiasts will not support this AAA content -and the circle is closed).

    • Rudl Za Vedno

      Valve has said they’re targeting enthusiasts willing to pay premium. That being said, I’d gladly pay north of 1K for next gen experience, but not for visual experience I could get for $299 with Samsung Odyssey+ just a month ago. Not worth it, if you’re in sim games only.

      • MW

        They also said, that they want: to support AAA VR content development.

        What AAA content? Enterprise? Ok. consumer (entertainment) content? That content doesn’t exist- because too few people have HMD. So… tell me, where’s the logic?
        There WILL be place for hi-end hardware, when this hardware will be justified by avalible content. Now I can play beat Sabre on Quest, and for those 600bucks buy something much more important.

        • Logic and Reason

          Too few people have HMD? Not the case, clearly the fact this thing wont even be available on shelves until August knocks that arguement out of the water. Same went for the Oddyssey+ over the holidays. If your assumption is off the number of steam adopters, thats a terrible basis. Valve isnt targeting the 95% of pc gamers still playing on Emachine potatoes across the globe.

          • Immersive_Computing

            As a long time enthusiast of PC VR with a high end machine (8-Pack 8086K ~ RTX2080Ti), the Index is a very good value for what it is. Its certainly more accessible than StarVR or similar commercial headsets.

            I had no issue paying £970 or whatever my pre-order cost with the VirtuaLink cable.

            There are people who want the best gear and are pleased to support these companies. I expect this to be the best balanced performance headset system of this generation, guess I’ll find out at start of July.

          • MW

            Too few people have HMD to make it profitable to make AAA content. Are you disagree with that?

            If someone want to spend 1k+ for Index, great, go nuts… For average user it has completely no sense. It would make sense, if there were games that would look better on the index.

          • Zantetsu

            Hi, can you please post your full hands-on review of the Index, because clearly with your well-informed opinion you must have lots of experience with the headset by now. And I would be curious to know what you like and don’t like about the hardware. Thanks!

          • MW

            Don’t be sarcastic. I have right, because I’m talking about facts- high prices, low sales, no content. Problems of hi end VR. You want to buy it to play smartphone-games?Good for you.

          • Zantetsu

            I must have misread your comments, because I recall you writing about the quality of the index displays, but I see now that you are really talking about the quality of the games. My apologies for misunderstanding and misconstruing your comments.

          • Cl

            Seeing how youre interested in the quest… every game will look better on the index. Every single one of them.

        • Cl

          Well they have quest for people with your logic and index for people who want a different experience. I do wish they charged less for the lighthouses, but I’ll be getting the index because none of the other headsets appeal to me atm. If you only care about beat saber then I can see why youd want the quest.

        • Jarilo

          “What AAA content?”

          The three they are making themselves.

    • kontis

      Good think the exact same content that runs on Index also runs on $250 headsets and on the Rift S.

      With your logic there shouldn’t be expensive gaming mice, headphones or RGB mechanical keyboards for those who can afford them, because the vast majority of users do NOT buy them.

      Heck, even 4K monitors are still a tiny niche of gamers (look at Steam stats, not much different from VR) – why do these monitors even exists? Huh?

    • Logic and Reason

      Average gaming PC lol. Are you basing that off the crazy expectation a “gaming PC” costs around 650 according to google? Cause you are wasting your time getting into VR on anything less then $1500. I would spend your headset budget on getting an actual PC that wont melt down booting up steamVR.

    • Jack Liddon

      If cost was so important, then the Windows MR headsets should have flown off the shelves.

    • Jarilo

      Found the google cardboard user.

    • gothicvillas

      Good stuff cost money. And besides, decent PC starts from usd1000, anything vr worthy 1500 and above which for a working individual is not that much. Cost less than a wasted week on holidays. It’s a one month salary for an average worker. Save up buddy! Good shit cost money.

    • Etailer

      I think the Index is priced perfectly for the quality headset that it is. Buy a Rift S if you can’t afford the Index.

    • Paul Ryan

      Index is sold out for months so clearly the price isn’t too high for a lot of people. Not to mention that you can buy cheaper headsets which play the exact same games rendering you argument moot.

      • Sion12

        being sold out doesn’t mean anything until we get definite number. hell its used as a marketing tactic to generate artificial scarcity and hype and iirc most VR headset is touted as “sold out”

        And to the main point of MW, to support typical AAA games, you need million plus sale, and i dont think index is selling even remotely close to a million.

        • Paul Ryan

          Most headsets are sold out because it takes time to manufacture them in suficiant quantities to meet demand, it has nothing to do with artificial scarcity.

          Again, Valve games aren’t going to be exclusive to the Index, you will be able to use any steamVR compatible headset to play them.

        • Jarilo

          Who cares about sales? Since when do top tier high end products do that? I wonder, does Ferrari and Lamborghini sit around worrying about why the Honda Civic out-sold their 250k car cause Sion12 can’t afford it ?

  • Santiago Draco

    Not sure why this keeps getting reported as some kind of special news. Why is this surprising? I’d strongly bet that Valves “gaming dev teams” had input on the HTC Vive also. I’m sure other gaming development persons provided input on other headsets also. I’m sure VR headset companies talked to gamers also, to varying degrees.

    I realize that the implication here is that the Index might be “better” since Valve produces games and is a major player in the industry but to imply others didn’t is incorrect and misleading.

    • jj

      To imply others didnt to this full scale degree is true. No other game/hardware company has done this. What game has worked side by side with tech within the company that released a console or hardware that was successful? Only nintendo, so valves strategy is a known winning strategy if they have the resources, which they do have.

  • KOSTANTINOS KOD

    What fidelity means? lcd and fresnel`s? .This is just more advertising.

    • Trip

      Check other reviews as well as Ben’s. When specs were revealed I thought what you said here and I decided not to order. After exhaustively examining all the available reviews I could find and I came to the conclusion that Index looks a whole lot better when you are wearing it than it looks on paper. I got my order in for the first ship date so I’ll find out soon enough whether or not I made the right call. I’m pretty confident I did.

      • KOSTANTINOS KOD

        Idd we really need to see the lenses to judge them,i cant go to an lcd ,i will wait for the cosmos spec first,nothing really good under 2k to buy.
        I dont like all this advertising of hz..not with this gpu gen .. looking what an actual good headset like xtall utilise it tells that what we get its not fidelity..its just a cheap solution.

  • brandon9271

    I must have some sort of rare, mutant eyeballs because leading VR companies are like, “Our HMDs with fresnel lenses are state of the art!” and I f*cking HATE fresnel lenses. They must not bother most folks the way they do me because I can’t imagine them being used if they did.

    • Jarilo

      I’m fine with them, don’t seem to bother me that much. Have you tried the gear VR lens mod ?

      • brandon9271

        I have a Rift and a Samsung Odyssey. There’s no mod for either one. The Samsung I can actually tolerate but the Rift is horrible. The god rays are horrendous. I’ll just have to wait until something else comes out that’s non-fresnel or that somehow can great reduce the issue. Maybe they can combine refractive and fresnel in a dual element. I saw where somebody patented a hybrid lens that was only fresnel at the edges. Maybe something will come out soon.

      • Zantetsu

        Fresnel lenses have some terrible qualities. The difference in color reproduction, clarity, and black levels/contrast with a real lens (the latter due to Fresnel’s tendency to scatter light, reducing black levels and contrast and washing everything out) compared to a Fresnel can be stunning. The DK2 lenses, within the framework of their lower FOV, looked much better than the Vive’s did. I side-by-side compared Lucky’s Tale and the difference was very apparent.

        Now, there are definitely better fresnel lenses than the bottom-of-the-barrel ones in the Vive, and fresnel has advantages in some areas over ‘real’ lenses, but I still prefer real lenses, and hope companies have not given up on making really good actual lenses in future headset iterations.

        • Jarilo

          I’m defending them, but they never seem to have bothered me.

  • Jarilo

    That’s what I said before, their game dev team and their hardware team are working hand in hand to release these products. Their AAA games are probably gonna suck on anything but the Index+Knuckles.

    • Trip

      I really don’t think they are going to suck on Touch (or the new Rift S/Quest version). Vive wands… those things we’ve all been waiting to ditch for years LOL. I’ll probably still use them for Beat Saber though.

      • Jarilo

        It’s funny but I ditched the touch controllers and went back to Wands when I went vive wireless and do not regret it, Only miss the analog stick once in a while and that’s it. I think they will not be as good of an experience since the games are built along side the Knuckles, meaning full finger interaction crap is gonna be in full force on anything they can use it on lol

        • Trip

          I think you are in the minority there LOL! Most of us agree that Vive wands grip buttons are hard to push on purpose and easy to push by accident, wands are uncomfortable in the hand because they are too wide from side to side, and don’t have adequate number of buttons up top. That’s all aside from the worst thing.. the track pads instead of thumb stick! I found Moss essentially unplayable on the wands and just stopped trying to play the game until I get knuckles. They do feel ok as a sword though!

          • Jarilo

            Why you telling me shit I’ve all heard before, I this and I that, everybody this and everybody that. We’re all in the minority, we’re doing VR. lol

  • Jarilo

    They want inside out tracking, but outside ( judging by the quest ads ) playing. lol

  • fuyou2

    GET BETTER FUCKING LENSES…

  • oompah

    Its ok with WMR headsets @250$
    In times like these no one wants to part with 1000$

    • BonWOLF

      “headsets are due to ship on June 28th, though it’s already backordered by two months or more.” Ok kid! lol

    • gothicvillas

      Times like what?

  • Gaben said that his dream was developing hardware and software at the same time and the Index and Knuckles are the product of this. While you develop content, you know how the hardware and the SDK should be and so you create a better solution

  • TheOneDemon

    For fidelity… Yeah right, if they really were aiming for that, they’d have followed in the likes of Pimax (in some ways), XTAL (very impressive), and StarVR…. This is another 1.5 gen VR Headset…

    It isn’t impressive at all, barely improved resolution, looks like still using Fresnel lenses and not much better FOV… The only good thing is it isn’t as hard to run as the Pimax or XTAL headsets.

    Also as a guy said below, WHY THE HELL DON’T THEY HAVE EYE TRACKING?? This would allow them to utilise foveated rendering and raise the resolution without a detriment to performance……….

  • slipdippity

    already pre-ordered. oculus has been gutted and ruined by facebook.