Valve has added the first wave of SteamVR Collectibles to SteamVR Home, unlockable rewards which can be used to decorate your virtual Home space or modify your avatar. This new feature further expands the rich customisation and interactivity found in the SteamVR Home Beta, the recent major advancement to the SteamVR launch interface, and is a vision of what ‘achievements’ might look like in the future.
Announced via the SteamVR News page, Valve says the first wave of items are awarded based on ‘ownership or playtime’ of a selection of VR titles, but it seems likely that this could grow to support more skill-based unlocks or integrate with Steam’s existing Achievement and Trading Card systems, offering a much more tangible reward for specific challenges within Steam games.
Valve’s real money Community Market already features items for sale that have been unlocked for SteamVR Home, such as this AirMech model. It seems likely that Sony are paying close attention to Valve’s progress here, as PSVR would be the logical way to revive some elements of the PS3-based social platform PlayStation Home, which was also stacked full of virtual items and avatar customisation.
Virtual items have been a feature of Valve’s VR developments since the launch of the HTC Vive, demonstrated with various props found in The Lab, some of which made the transition to SteamVR Home. The first selection of Collectibles are mostly static, but it is possible for them to be interactive, such as the farting Neko toy from Fantastic Contraption.
Tangible collectibles in virtual reality is a very interesting idea for showing off one’s gaming achievements. Valve’s real-money take on trading compounds this interest; some of the most coveted and interesting items could be exceedingly rare based on how difficult they are to unlock, though those not wanting to spend the time (but with available means) could choose to purchase the item at a market-determined rate. That’s further down the road, but certainly spurs interesting questions about what a future virtual reality economy might look like, like how to retain reasonable value in digital goods when they can technically be copied indefinitely.
for now Valve has initially partnered with select developers to create virtual items based on characters and props from the following VR-enabled titles:
- Job Simulator
- Fantastic Contraption
- Space Pirate Trainer
- The Gallery – Episode 1: Call of the Starseed
- Arizona Sunshine
- AirMech Command
- Serious Sam: The Last Hope
- Hover Junkers
- The Lab
- Dota 2