“We make games, Steam, and hardware. Join us,” says the first line of Valve’s newly redesigned website—in big bold red letters—bringing its look more in line with 2010’s design language than the previous version that screamed ‘late 2000’s’. Along with the new look is a clear emphasis on hardware as a central part of Valve’s future, with VR positioned as the cutting edge of the company’s work.

For those not paying attention to the emergence of consumer VR over the last five years, you should know that Valve has played a key role. While HTC makes and markets the Vive, many of the headset’s foundational technologies were created at Valve. Meanwhile, the company’s open SteamVR platform has become a leading marketplace for VR content, serving the Vive, Rift, and other headsets too.

And while the company has seemed at times gung-ho about VR, their infamous ‘done when it’s ready’ approach has perhaps made it seem from the outside like their interest in the tech is waning, especially after the departure of one of Valve’s most publicly active VR evangelists, Chet Faliszek, back in 2017. And then there’s the hotly anticipated ‘Knuckles’ controllers, which the company showed off more than a year and a half ago but has yet to launch.

But Valve’s revamped website, launched this week, offers fresh insight into the company’s focus and mission, including their dedication to building hardware, VR and otherwise. Seen on the new About page, a large section dedicated to the company’s hardware efforts highlights the Steam Controller and Steam Link. Below that we get a strong hint that the company sees VR as a central tenet of their future hardware work; a section is headlined: ‘We’re just getting started,’ and is accompanied by a GIF showing a progression of prototype VR hardware leading up to the Vive, including images of Valve head Gabe Newell wearing a particularly massive prototype that we haven’t seen before.

Beyond hardware, there’s also those three VR games the company has said they’re building, but has remained extremely tight-lipped on since. Those ostensibly get a mention too. Closer to the top of the page the company deservedly touts their blockbuster game library, and teases: “We have some new games in the works, too. A couple have been announced, while others remain top secret.”

The landing page of the site puts hiring front and center, and if you dig into the available roles, you won’t get far before bumping into some directly involving the company’s ongoing VR research and development.

Image courtesy Valve

In the background of the main page, VR is treated prominently in a video montage of the companies endeavors—we see a shot of what looks like a playtest session with a user wearing a Vive Pro and using Valve’s Knuckles controllers.

Image courtesy Valve

Another clip with some funny looking spinning discs appears to be a motion tracking test in front of a SteamVR Tracking base station.

There’s hardly a place you can go on the company’s new site without seeing some mention of VR. Even browsing through the site’s ‘People’ page, you’ll find plenty of bios mentioning work on VR.

SEE ALSO
HTC: Valve is Still "very committed" to Making its Three Full VR Games

While Valve has traditionally been a software company, they have in recent years become a quite competent hardware creator too, and their revamped website makes it clear that they believe this is their long-term future. But they hope to do more than just make hardware and software—they want to meld their design processes to create something more than the sum of its parts, as Valve head Gabe Newell said recently at a press gathering, reported by PC Gamer:

“We’ve always been a little bit jealous of companies like Nintendo,” Newell said. “When Miyamoto is sitting down and thinking about the next version of Zelda or Mario, he’s thinking what is the controller going to look like, what sort of graphics and other capabilities. He can introduce new capabilities like motion input because he controls both of those things. And he can make the hardware look as good as possible because he’s designing the software at the same time that’s really going to take advantage of it. So that is something we’ve been jealous of, and that’s something that you’ll see us taking advantage of subsequently.”

Valve is in the rather unique position of being willing to delay or cancel projects rather than release something that doesn’t meet their internal quality bar. And while that sometimes means they take their time compared to others, it also means that what comes out the end has a good chance of being a hit. With that in mind, Valve’s reaffirmed commitment to VR only heightens my belief that they have a better shot than anyone else at creating VR’s first true killer app.

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  • Jistuce

    In before someone makes a joke about Half-Life sequels.

    • NooYawker

      I truly thought HL3 would be released with the Vive. I don’t make jokes about HL anymore… hurts too much.

    • Adrian Jakubiak

      HL3 confirmed

    • Damn, halfway through writing Half….then spotted your comment lol

  • ummm…

    I’m getting fatigued from the VR killer app discussion. I mean, is the killer app the thing the FORCES everyone to buy VR? That won’t happen with the price we’re it is at. It’s still for the hobbyist, it’s still for the techie. At least for PC.

    • It depends on what you class as a techie. I know plenty of people that can just do emails and the odd word document buy into VR on a PC. Including my sister on the other side of the world after chatting to her son who tried it at my place. VR is exciting when a newbie rants about how they actually felt terror in a VR game or traveled the world while inside Google Earth.

      • ummm…

        yeah and we have both of those apps already. those arent likely considered killer apps. also, did your sister buy it for her son, or for herself? and what does she use it for?

        • She bought it for herself /as a party piece based on watching skype videos of people across the world at my house play on it. She was playing BoxVR last night and said it was knackering but good fun. She is not a gamer at all but it would appear she loves the social implications of VR. She also said in another text that she couldn’t find the bomb never mind diffuse it in that Keep Talking game so still has some way to go lol.

          • ummm…

            Haha. I was never somebody for multiplayer, but be changed my mind.

        • You know, I would say Beat Saber is almost a killer app. I don’t think something has to be complex to be a success, it just has to be addictive, look at Tetris, Tamagotchi etc. Simple concepts done well. That “just one more go” is what will do it. Beat Saber makes me put the HMD on more than any of my 40 VR games I own. When friends come over it is the first thing my partner says “Have you tried VR? Put Beat Saber On!” she says it to almost everybody who comes around and she is also not a gamer. When she tried it she said “Finally you have converted me”.

          The only issue we have now is people who sweat into my HMD. Urgh!

          • ummm…

            ha! well give it a couple of weeks that beat saber will be uninstalled. and your partner will leave your for somebody that has it installed. bet

      • MosBen

        I think that now that we’re seeing more and more laptops with built in VR-capable GPUs that the techie requirement is lowering a bit, but we’ll see what happens when the next generation HMDs come down the road. Contrary to what some people think, I’m expecting that the system requirements for the second generation will only be a small bump from this generation, if there’s any increase at all. VR can’t grow if it requires a $500 graphics card.

    • Doctor Bambi

      Correct, the true killer app would be mandated by law, otherwise risk being detained and then executed.

      • Martin355

        I have something in the works with my government contacts that’s very close to this. That’s all I can say at the moment. #vr2019

        • Doctor Bambi

          I’m dying to learn more!

      • ummm…

        oh, id go for that. but lets hope it has an option for slide motion – i cant do teleportation.

        • dogtato

          sure, it’ll do slide. head-oriented only

          • ummm…

            ……..i hate head oriented lol. controller oriented!!

    • Robert Silva

      I agree. whats the “killer app” for the smartphone. not one but many or none really

      • NooYawker

        Porn is always the killer app.

        • Jeff Recobs

          People have been saying that since forever, but people (Obviously not the Japanese) who just wanna jerk off, want it cheap and simple. Not flopping down 2K minimum.

          • Raphael

            A friend a mine exposed to VR porn said it makes pancake porn look boring. So no… not everyone wants to stare at a tiny 2d rectangle when they wank. Some want a life-size 3d girl up close.

      • FloridaOJ

        Facebook. Angry Birds. Facetime. These sorts of things made EVERYONE switch to Smartphones.

        • elev8d

          Nah. Safari and Google Maps on the first iPhone were the game changing apps. Before the first iPhone, surfing the web was pretty much a terrible experience, and there was nothing remotely close to the quality of Google Maps on the first iPhone.

        • jordon321 .

          Not me, Facebook has always been around on phones and angry birds isn’t that great either, that’s like calling flappy bird the best game of all time. Everyone switched to smart phones because they were better than the previous phones…

    • MosBen

      I agree to a point. There’s no great game that will suddenly make people super excited to build an expensive gaming PC, buy an expensive piece of VR tech, and figure out how to set it all up. That said, it’s less about looking for some white knight piece of software and hoping/expecting that VR software develops a language all its own to make VR experiences intuitive, engaging, and fun. This is similar to how film developed its own language as a medium over the course of the 20th Century.

      But you’re right that right now the big barriers to VR adoption are related to price, and I’d add comfort and ease of setup. But around here lots of people seem to think that the answer is “need moar resolution!”

      • ummm…

        hahaha if i thought i needed more rez, and that there was ROI, I would have upgraded to the vive pro…….i didnt, and dont plan on it.

        can you give me an example in the film industry so i can better understand your point. Do you mean to say a unified movement solution, etc? there certainly wont be unification of hardware the way the big players are going right now. ive got the vive because its go roomscale and is good for developers, also the ethic of valve. but, when shared “language” could bring us closer – is it en engine, is it a hardware architecture, etc.?

        • MosBen

          When we talk about the language of film, we’re talking about the techniques used by the filmmakers to allow a viewer to follow the through line of the work, rather than simply seeing a bunch of disconnected pieces. So, for example, when you have a close up of one character talking and then cut to another character talking, and then back and forth, audiences understand that as two characters being in the same place and at the same time and having a conversation. That can be enhanced with other things, like including establishing shots showing them next to each other, or filming one character facing to the right and the other facing to the left. But importantly, audiences have been so well-trained by decades of exposure to film that you can usually get away with just cutting back and forth and people will get it. Even if the characters aren’t in the same location and are instead holding phones to their ears, people will assume that they’re talking to each other, even if you don’t take the extra step of having one of the character’s lines played over the other character’s face with an effect applied to make it sound like it’s being produced by a phone speaker (note, of course that’s something that’s added entirely in post-production). Another example, the dutch angle, is when the camera is tilted off level from the subject being filmed. This imparts some level of madness, a lack of rationality, or just that something is very not normal.

          When film was invented it was an entirely new medium, therefore there was no established language. Generations of film makers made creative choices in how to best present the works in ways that the audience would understand, and techniques which were once challenging and novel to audiences are now both well understood and maybe a bit cliche. The smash cut from someone being gruesomely killed to a shot of someone in a kitchen working with raw meat probably imparted a visceral reaction when it was invented, but now we’re all accustomed to it, and understand what the filmmaker is trying to get across.

          Similarly, people working in VR and making VR experiences will develop techniques for that medium which define how audiences absorb the content. Maybe the user’s gaze is guided to where the creator wants it to be by having other characters look in that direction. Or maybe they’ll come up with interesting uses of sound cues. We really don’t know yet because we’re like the people seeing that film of a train coming at the screen. We don’t have an understanding of the medium sufficient to have an established language. That will just come with time, and yes, some “killer apps” (in movie terms, “Best Pictures”) that help define for the audience how the medium interacts with the audience.

          But if you’ve never read about film theory, I’d highly recommend it. It’s a great chance to take a step back and think about why things that we’ve just internalized as audiences work.

        • “need moar resolution!” is the answer to immersion, realism, etc. So
          more resolution is needed for that alone. Very much needed to actually
          feel like you’re there. Far more immersion especially w/ more FOV.

      • nipple_pinchy

        YES

        • “need moar resolution!” is the answer to immersion, realism, etc. So
          more resolution is needed for that alone. Very much needed to actually
          feel like you’re there. Far more immersion especially w/ more FOV..

          • nipple_pinchy

            More resolution is what enthusiasts want. It would be nice, but it’s not what will push VR into the mainstream. I have an Odyssey and 1600p is already impressive. I’d like more FOV but 110 is passable for now.

            However, a standalone, wireless, self-contained 6DOF HMD with inside-out tracking, has eye-tracking that utilizes foveated rendering and 6DOF controllers that casuals can buy, take out of a box, put on and be in VR is what’s going to sell tens of millions of units. Then you’ll get higher resolutions out of the box. And it has to be the cost of a console. We’re probably 2-3 years away from that, but when that happens, then VR will soar.

            Having an $1200 8K HMD that requires two 1080Tis that 100,000 worldwide can afford isn’t what’s going to help push VR forward.

            >Most VR games are casual stuff

            This doesn’t mean anything. Contrived complexity doesn’t make a game great. The simplest games have always proven to be the best.

          • “More resolution is what enthusiasts want”

            That’s what I meant :)

            I meant that most games don’t offer much and may amount to short experiences like some zombie wave shooter or some cooking game, etc.

        • Kenji Fujimori

          Hai

      • “need moar resolution!” is the answer to immersion, realism, etc. So more resolution is needed for that alone. Very much needed to actually feel like you’re there.

        No cords, lightweight, fan, etc. is the solution for comfort and ease of use.

        Price, convenience, killer apps(long hours), etc. is the solution to wide spread adoption. Most VR games are casual stuff…How unfortunate

      • jordon321 .

        People already have incentive to build expensive PCs for the games alone, VR is just a plus, a lot of people already have a good vr ready pc. Honestly if they made a full length CoD or Battlefield game in vr a lot of my friends would buy a headset, which isn’t that expensive. Pc gaming has been around a long time,sure some people who don’t have one it can get expensive, but at that point they’re not really that serious about gaming in the first place are they? There’s psvr for that. High end pc owners are everywhere, and for them, it’s not expensive at all, it’s cheaper than a new graphics card upgrade.

        • MosBen

          If there’s one thing that I run into over and over again on these boards, it’s people who don’t understand that we’re a niche of a niche of a niche. For VR to succeed, it needs to appeal to people beyond hardcore gamers. Oculus and HTC doesn’t simply want to sell HMDs to people who are “serious about gaming”. High end PC owners are not everywhere, even if your personal friend group all have gaming PCs. Top tier HMDs are still fairly expensive, even if you don’t consider $400 to be much money. When we talk about VR going mainstream it’s not the concerns of the hardcore gaming community that matter (moar resolution!), it’s the concerns of people like my non-gaming family, or the people that are interested in VR, but aren’t in any way technically inclined. Cost, comfort, ease of setup, and experiences that don’t rely on a high degree of gaming skill are what will draw people in.

    • Bruce Banner

      Considering gaming consoles, such as the Atari 2600, nearly died off within it’s first 5 years, I’d say VR is going as fast as could be expected. You are making new games for a medium that’s still quite new to just about everybody on the planet. Atari had actual arcade games to port to the console.. VR has to create things that have never been done, with mechanics that involve virtual movement. That alone is the biggest hurdle to jump. On top of that, consumer VR has only been out for 2 years, not counting the ‘dev’ versions that have been around for about 5 years. Triple A games take at least 2 years to make, and at a cost of multiple millions. Games like Robo Recall, Lone echo and Arizona Sunshine have set the bar. The Arizona Sunshine dev is already working on his new project, and the industry as a whole is about to have some top grade games released. We just have to be patient.

      • ummm…

        i dont mind. im super patient. but im tired of people wishing for the mythical “killer app” fyi this hardware is a peripheral for your pc for all intents and purposes. its not changing paridigms in that sense.

        anyhow, forget the killer app – there are so many great programs out now. lets just make better ones and cleverer ones.

        • Bruce Banner

          I wasn’t talking about you specifically, I was merely pointing out that even the consoles were slow in the beginning.. I grew up in the 70’s and bought an Atari in grade 8. Hardly anybody had a console of any sorts for the first few years, even though they had a slew of arcade games already in their list. They also weren’t that cheap for the day. And I’m well aware this is about a pc peripheral.. but it’s also a PlayStation console peripheral, and will soon be an Xbox peripheral. They also want a standalone unit, capable of what the pc can already do. Realistically, they aren’t that far away. Foveated rendering will play a key role in standalone units. It doesn’t matter the platform.. VR is VR. And as I said.. it takes at least 2 years, and millions of dollars to make a VR game.. they won’t spend the efforts ad money before they’re sure the medium’s going to survive. 2 years into it now, and they see that it is. Games will come quicker and more frequently after that.

        • FloridaOJ

          I’m pretty sure that given the scope of World of Warcraft at launch, Facebook/Oculus’s metaverse could be released in beta, by now.

      • JustNiz

        Dude, VR has been around for decades. I had some IO-glasses and a VFX-1 when they came out in the 90’s. Admittedly not as good or as well-suported by mainstream products like the Vive and Steam or whatever, but its hardly new.

        • Bruce Banner

          Yes, SEGA tried VR before.. and it made people sick. 30fps wasn’t fast enough for smooth game play, creating motion sickness and massive migraines in just about everybody. That’s why it never took off.

        • TheNexusLord

          The concept of VR has been around for decades, but the technology to “actually make it work”; is being developed even now.
          The hardware and technology, is going to be vastly superior to what we have today in two years, let alone a decade from now.

    • Ted Joseph

      Killer app? Have you tried Arktika, Arizona Sunshine, Lone Echo, Wilsons Heart, etc? These are all KILLER apps, and the experiences are amazing!

      • ummm…

        dont tell me that…tell everyone else talking about how they need a killer app.

    • Nick Dauchot

      Agreed. The hardware isn’t powerful enough yet on non-tethered HMD’s to run a “killer app”, and the software isn’t cheap enough yet on tethered HMD’s to make it financially accessible.

    • Raphael

      There will never be a killer app that forces everyone to buy VR just as there has never been a killer pancake game forcing everyone to buy a PC. VR adoption will continue to rise with increased spec and falling prices.

    • JonathanC

      The answer honestly isnt in a price decrease either.
      it needs to be more comfortable, not cause eye strain, and not make people sick… :-)

      • ummm…

        Well it depends how we characterize success. Is VR a success when it is a daily interface for everyone, or just a popular avenue of consumption?

      • The price decrease must also fall w/ the required PCs as well. Also PC/VR bundles also needed.

        Required PCs put up such a HUUUUGE paywall.

        Would be easier to take the risk of getting sick if it weren’t so expensive.

    • CazCore

      skyrim + fallout 4 + bigscreen + Medium + beat saber + VRChat’s virality + more == “the killer app”

      • ummm…

        You forgot a bunch, but I hear ya. Btw VR chat is terrible. But I was never one for that genre.

    • jordon321 .

      Except most serious pc gamers already have rigs that can run it… VR headsets aren’t that expensive anymore

      • ummm…

        I’ve been a PC gamer for 25+ years. I didn’t always have a top notch PC. Let’s not be silly. It’s like saying if you have a nes instead of a n64 you are “serious”.

    • Raphael

      Exactly. Journalistic nonsense. Amazing how quickly that nonsense was absorbed and then regurgitated by journalists and impressionable children.

      Let’s look at NON-VR games… show me the KILLER APP for 4k displays. The killer game that made everyone buy a PC just for that game…. Chuck is 89 years old, hates computers and has never been compelled by a killer app for pancake displays.

      KILLER APP is nonsense and what you do in VR is personal to you. I know people who bought VR just for Elite Dangerous or DCS World or this or that racing sim. Thus they have their killer app. I’m in that category. I’d have bought VR just for Elite or DCS but I use it for a lot of other stuff too.

      • ummm…

        I wholeheartedly agree.

        • Raphael

          I agree too.

    • Teku

      For PC, there are many millions of people that have VR capable desktops but haven’t bought a headset yet, even though there are headsets like the Dell Visor available for around $250. That’s not very expensive at all. If there was an awesome valve game you could play on it, I’m sure many more would buy in.

      • ummm…

        No. You don’t buy VR for one game. And if you do it needs to be bigger than gta 5. Killer app is a myth. Hardware puts butts in seats not software. Don’t give me a Halo argument.

        • Teku

          I think if hardware was the only thing that mattered, the xbox would do better. Sony’s exclusives destroy xbox’s lineup. The Microsoft MR headsets are quite good at a very decent price point. Some are very well made. If hardware was the only thing that mattered, I’d think that more of the large amount of gamers with VR capable machines would make the jump. I’m not talking about gamers that price doesn’t matter to. You only need a GTX 1060 to be VR capable.

          • ummm…

            Are exclusives killer apps? The hardware is bought, it’s a question of which.

  • David Herrington

    Portal 3 confirmed?

    • Jonathan Pratte

      Portal 3, Left 4 dead 3 and Half-life 3 and then I say goodbye to my social life .

      • brandon9271

        I’m sure my great-grandkids will LOVE those games!

      • AndyP

        Left 4 Dead VR would be enough to end what’s left of my social life. Please

    • Jistuce

      As a customer, I think the willingness to cancel bad games is FAR from frustrating. Rather, it is something I respect.

      If a game’s not good, it’s not good. Better that a game get cancelled and the developer eat the costs than they foist something like Aliens: Colonial Marines or Bravo Team onto an unsuspecting public.

      (Full disclosure: I bought Colonial Marines on sale a couple years later because I’d gotten five dollars worth of entertainment out of reading the patch notes.)

    • JustNiz

      As much as I love the portal series (both 1 and 2 are up there with the best games ever) I can’t imagine how you could successfully implement portals in VR and also prevent the vomit effect. I mean can you imagine the nausea just from doing that thing where you put one portal on the floor and one on the ceiling and repeatedly fall through the same room?

      • It already happened and it’s free and I have done that thing and not get sick :)

  • From Gabe Newell’s bio: His most significant contribution to Half-Life, the company’s debut title, was his statement: “C’mon, people, you can’t show the player a
    really big bomb and not let them blow it up.” LOL HL3 confirmed

    • JustNiz

      It better be even bigger than the one in Fallout 3 then, at the heart of Megaton village.

  • Sandy Wich

    Skyrim VR proved that super high quality, AAA, content rich VR games are a MUST for the real future of VR gaming.

    These shooter copies and low quality jump scare interactive experience games are just… An absolutely EYESORE to keep seeing release every week for this stuff.

    ..It’s time for something big. Give me the World of Warcraft of VR. Something that defines this product for years to come.

    ..Just don’t keep talking about how it’s really really really coming without ever showing progress…………….

    • antonio mora

      We need GTA IV or V in Vr, made by Rockstar, not that vorpx thing.

  • Does someone have big resolition version of the new prototype that Gabe wears? Please tell me, I want to look at the electronics. For now I can only say that there are some kind of new displays, chence the symetrical design of the driver on both sides. But what’s this black dot matrix? What are those chips? I want to know. :c

    • James Cobalt

      Just because we haven’t seen it before doesn’t mean it’s a new prototype. I’m assuming it is, but it could be a couple years old for all we know.

      • Right, but I assume it is, because they use parts form consumer version HTC, and it has something big glued to the front.

  • Ca1ibos

    The ‘Killer App’ is no one single thing and it isn’t even the same things depending on which kind/level of mainstream you are talking about.

    If you are talking about Smartphone level mainstream measured in the billion+ user-base, that won’t happen until for the price of a current premium Smartphone, you get a Combo AR/VR device in the Sunglasses form-factor wirelessly communicating with the SOC/Battery ‘Box’ in your pocket on the go away from home or with a more powerful PC when at home. The ‘Killer app’ will be the replacement of every TV, Monitor and Tablet display in your house with an AR version of any size you like that you can pin anywhere in your home you like. The Killer app will be all the useful features AR can provide on the Go. The Killer app will be AR Porn/Lapdances. The Killer App will be rewatching the Big Game in AR God Mode with the Stadium ‘Holographically’ displayed on your coffee table as you discuss Plays with your buddies. The Killer App will be playing an incredible AR Shooter outside with a load of buddies as you all battle against the incoming first wave of Drop-Ships descending out of the Sky from the invading Alien Fleet! If you want to take the Battle to the Fantastical Metropolis on the Ringed Alien Homeworld, that requires you to use VR mode. Some of the mainstream VR killer apps will be watching the latest Blockbuster in the 500 Seater iMax theater in your pocket with friends and family spread all over the planet. It’ll be watching the Big Match/Game/Fight in the best seat in the house Court/Ring/Pitch/Field-Side. Rights Holders used to only be able to sell that seat to one very wealthy person per game for a few thousand dollars. Now they get to sell that seat to hundreds of millions of people simultaneously for $20. Ditto with Live Concerts of your Favourite Band.

    Those are the kind of AR/VR Technology and Killer Apps plural that will drive Smartphone level mainstream adoption measured in the billions of users. Its about 15 years away and it is ultimately the reason why Facebook bought Oculus, to get in on the ground-floor and help make it happen because the money that can be made from these type of killer apps never mind the advertising opportunities are absolutely enormous.

    Now if we are talking about PC and Console level mainstream then the bar is set is a little lower but there is still a hardware standard bar to reach. For that, I believe you need a VR HMD no bigger or heavier than the current Rift formfactor. That has at least 140º FOV, 4000 x 4000 pixels per eye, Variable Focus, Eyetracking with Foveated Rendering, Tetherless because of both ComputerVision Inside/Out Tracking and Wireless Video link with the PC/Console, No Setup hassles because there are no Tracking cameras or Lighthouse Base-Stations and cables spread around the room. Facial Tracking with CV Camera on the bottom of the HMD looking at the lower half of your face. Bare Hand tracking with CV Inside/Out cameras. Full Body 1:1 Mocapped Avatars with a Single CV Camera mounted over your Computer Monitor or TV. Funnily enough, all are technologies being worked on at Oculus and showcased at their events over the years and especially at this years Facebook F8 event.

    The Killer App that will draw in the VR Skeptical PC and Console gaming masses will at first be Virtual Desktops. The ability with $400 to purchase a device that lets them have any number and any size of High Res & High Refresh Rate Virtual Monitors/TV’s. That $8000 dream they had of a multi-monitor array of 3x 40″ 4K OLED Monitors is possible in VR for only $400. They get to create their own Custom Virtual PC BattleStation on the Surface of Callisto overlooking Saturns Rings if they want. Their 2D AAA games play better on this virtual setup compared to a real life version because of Eyetracking with Foveated Rendering. Not only did the VR HMD allow them to have their own 3X 40″ OLED Multi-monitor setup for $400 instead of $8000 it also allowed them to continue to use their current GPU! This makes such a VR HMD a ‘Must-Buy for every PC and Console 2D gamer on the planet. Its when they are playing their Favourite 2D AAA MMO and they see what a a VR player can do that makes them realise that maybe VR isn’t a fad or a gimmick for games after all. Heres this dude conjuring up spells with his hands like Dr Strange and launching attacks at multiple enemies with both hands and jumping around to dodge attacks his body mocapped with the CV camera in his room. Yeah, maybe he should download the VR patch for this game!! Think of it like the number of Rift and Vive sales that happened after Monitor VRchat players saw what even current gen Rift and Vive owners could do that they couldn’t.

    The AAA games companies start seeing the VR HMD user-base increasing exponentially into the 10’s of millions for the reasons outlined above and finally they all decide the time is now right to jump into the fray and start considering VR in the development of all future titles.

    This spec level HMD might come with Rift CV2 but definitely by Rift CV3. Hence I believe PC and Console VR will be mainstream by 2025 and AR/VR Sunglasses for Smartphone level mainstream by the early 2030’s.

    I’m sorry but I just don’t see Valve being able to compete in the medium to long term with the financial R&D might of a Facebook backed Oculus.

  • Daniel

    VR still needs at least one “killer tech” breakthrough. Fix the convergence/accommodation conflict or else you require every user to purchase sense of presence with increased discomfort. There is no way past that issue until light field displays or other fixes are made. Stereoscopic media has always been a half measure for immersion. People can not be expected to utilize VR/AR for business in eight hour stretches if convergence/accommodation conflicts persist. Equally, masses will continue to find VR/AR uncomfortable until it has a mature display technology that can provide imagery that matches the natural relationship of convergence and focus. A 2D solo screen will continue to feel better than half mature, stereoscopic media.

    • JustNiz

      I agree that the display hardware could be better but VR is still an awesome experience even with what is around today. It sounds like you are proposing holding off of VR until the tech is perfect, but that is potentially decades away yet. You’d be missing out on an awful lot if you did.

      • Daniel

        You are right. It is a lot like the early days. No, I’m not a proponent of holding back. I just think it will take more than a sweet app to drive mass adoption.

  • wheeler

    I disagree with the many people here that say there can be no single “killer app” as long as we’re specific to a particular market segment (e.g. PC gamers, console gamers, and casual users). Obviously there is great software out there that makes enthusiasts want to keep putting on their HMD week after week but everything up until this point is still basically a “VR teaser”. Indie devs have been fleshing out different aspects of VR interaction and mechanics in a variety of areas but there’s still nothing that ties it all together at the scope of a true “killer app”. By “killer app” I mean a title that brings a massive number of users to the medium and not just more enthusiasts.

    But with respect to PC gamers, no matter who brings the first “killer app” to VR I think it should wait for gen 2 hardware. Gen 1 hardware and desktop interaction is just not good enough. You could have the most amazing software but today’s hardware is just not going to fly even with PC gamers (non-enthusiast).

    We need wireless because immersion is broken every time you feel the tug of the cord, get caught on it as you change stance, or need to rotate around 360d to avoid tangling it (the market has spoken, front facing setups with snap turn is not what consumers want).

    The setup has to be simple. Room setup should be nothing more complicated than mounting two lighthouse base stations. But preferably inside-out tracking (if they can capture controllers well enough). Integrated headphones needs to be the standard. We need OpenXR because dicking around and constantly fiddling with these proprietary ecosystems (partially open or otherwise) is a PITA and results in too many performance hiccups.

    It has to be comfortable to use. We absolutely need varifocal displays to reduce eyestrain and allow us to properly focus on objects closer than 2m (this is why all of the menus are ~2m out). The fixed focal plane is tolerable to us enthusiasts because we’ve trained our eyes to it but it makes everyone else too uncomfortable. Right now one can’t even pick up a piece of paper in VR and read it comfortably. The Rift HMD’s fit is the bare minimum. We need higher pixel density so we’re not straining to focus on e.g. weapon sights or distant objects (foveated rendering and eyetracking will thus be necessary). As for simulator sickness, short of some massive advance in GVS, the only reasonable solution I can see is careful training built into the introductory software itself but this is insofar nonexistent. The jarring god rays or tiny sweet spots that
    require one to keep their gaze fixed at the center of the screen will hopefully be improved on as well (but I think consumers can tolerate some degree of this).

    Better desktop/general system interaction. Users can’t feel so restrained when they put on their headset. Dash 2.0 is a nice step in this direction but eyetracking will be a huge help here. Useable keyboard input remains an unsolved problem but is probably not necessary for gen 2. We need better ways to interact with friends in VR across experiences uninterrupted–Pluto is the best solution I’ve seen yet but it is pretty beta ATM. OpenXR has an an extensible interface similar to OpenVR’s dashboard system so hopefully we’ll see something similar there that works across all headsets.

    Everything I’ve listed above has nothing to do with convenience or luxury but just the base line of comfortable usage for the average user (for PC Gamers anyway. Casual users will absolutely need an OS designed from the ground up for VR interaction–desktop computer based or otherwise).

  • nipple_pinchy

    For me, my headset is the killer app. It provides me with value exclusive to the VR medium. The same way there’s no “killer app” for my PC; I use it for a variety of things but am not dependent on any one thing in particular.

    I put on my headset and can do things no other piece of hardware can allow me to do. That’s what makes VR valuable to me.

  • JustNiz

    > VR’s first true killer app.
    Where have you been? there are plenty of killer VR games out already. Judging by the quality of “The Lab” I’m expecting Valve will take VR quality to the next level though. Trouble is we’ll all be like 90 years old by the time they actually release anything.

  • oompah

    Thumbs up
    It would be really great if
    Valve produces its own steam compatible
    hardware , so that users wouldn’t have to
    hunt for stuff elsewhere
    (or hack psvr to work with steam as vive hah ha)

  • No investors breathing down your next :)

    However whats the negative sides effects of being private?

  • Kenji Fujimori

    Why is Valve turning into a monopoly, make way for others to compete, What is it with monopolies.. look at what happened to all the search engines disappearing for one.. competition is a good thing..

  • Icebeat

    2025: HTC: Valve is Still “very committed” to Making its Three Full VR Games!