Valve’s first ‘Vive’ Developer Edition VR headsets and controllers are now shipping and some lucky devs already have them. We take an early look inside the box.

Announced at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona back in March this year, Valve and HTC surprised the VR industry and enthusiasts alike by announcing a joint project in the form of the ‘Vive’ a VR headset built for Steam VR. Later we were told that developers would be able to sign up for initial ‘Developer Editions’ of the kits, to be shipped in Spring.

The following week at GDC they proceeded to quietly, but very effectively, hijack the entire conference with hands-on sessions with the new systems. It transpired that, not only had Valve collaborated with HTC on a flagship headset, they had a unique form of precise, room-scale tracking known as ‘Lighthouse’. Arguably, the system stole the show.

It seems Valve were (almost) as good as their word as a post from Chet Faliszek, Writer at Valve Software, on the Steam community forums confirm that Valve has now begun shipped Developer Editions to those selected to receive them and confirmed the contents of the boxes:

In the box is a headset, 2 Lighthouse base stations, 2 wireless Steam VR controllers, various cables, instructions, and everything else needed to get started. This will allow developers to target the same system consumers will have in their homes later this year.

Devin Reimer of Owlchemy Labs, who were one of the lucky few developers to be selected to produce early software to be used to demonstrate the system at GDC 2015, has tweeted unboxing pictures of the new systems.

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Valve says that the first shipments went out to “a wide range of developers from major movie studios, triple A developers, to small indie teams working on their first title,” and that they will “continue to ship to additional developers through the spring and summer.”

Devs hoping to be selected to receive the HTC Vive Developer Edition can still sign up through an official form. As for the rest of us, the companys says the consumer version of the headset will begin shipping holiday 2015.

How many other developers have received their own kits isn’t yet clear, but it doesn’t sounds like they’ll have long to wait. The question is, with the consumer edition due to ship before the end of this year, what can developers come up with in terms of content before release? We can’t wait to find out.

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Based in the UK, Paul has been immersed in interactive entertainment for the best part of 27 years and has followed advances in gaming with a passionate fervour. His obsession with graphical fidelity over the years has had him branded a ‘graphics whore’ (which he views as the highest compliment) more than once and he holds a particular candle for the dream of the ultimate immersive gaming experience. Having followed and been disappointed by the original VR explosion of the 90s, he then founded to follow the new and exciting prospect of the rebirth of VR in products like the Oculus Rift. Paul joined forces with Ben to help build the new Road to VR in preparation for what he sees as VR’s coming of age over the next few years.
  • I really didn’t picture the market being so flooded with HMD’s like this. It seems a new HMD is created every month or so! 2016 will be a revolutionary year.