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HTC partners Valve to bring new VR headset into the gaming market

By Dr. Jimmy Tang - on 1 Mar 2015, 11:45pm

HTC partners Valve to bring new VR headset into the gaming market

The new HTC Vive VR headset.

When news broke on Valve's participation at GDC 2015 and its intention to reveal a new Steam VR hardware, little did we expect HTC to be Valve's hardware partner. Although there were rumors about HTC's intention to break into the VR headset market, no one managed to draw the connection between these two companies. But at today's announcement, it's finally clear how Valve plans to approach the VR market. The partnership seems to benefit both parties, with HTC being an experienced hardware manufacturer and Valve firmly dominating the gaming market with its 125 million active users in Steam.

HTC claims that the new Steam VR HMD (head-mounted display), which is to be known as HTC Vive, will be the most immersive and premium VR experience in the market. It'll come with the most powerful hardware you can possibly get and a comfortable design that allows one to use for extended periods. It'll feature Steam's Full Room Scale 360 Degree Solution with Tracked Controllers technology that would allow the gamer to explore virtual environments as if they are standing inside the space. This means you can physically walk in the virtual world and inspect objects as you would in the real world. The headset will deliver high quality graphics with up to 90 fps video as well as high fidelity audio.

HTC will also be introducing new wireless VR controllers that will integrate your experience into the virtual environment. It will come in a pair and are designed to work with a wide variety of VR experiences. Unlike typical game controllers, the HTC VR Controllers promise to be simple and intuitive.

Beyond gaming, HTC and Valve is also looking at extending the use of the HTC Vive headset into travel, education, training, health & fitness, self improvement, shopping and movies. Content creators including Google, HBO, Lionsgate and the National Palace Museum in Taiwan are already on-board to deliver content. 

The HTC Vive headset is expected to work in all platforms supported on Steam, which means that Mac and Linux systems will be included. For now, Valve has already shipped units to selected developers and we should be expecting game titles that take advantage of the VR headset during its official launch.

Content partners currently enrolled for the upcoming SteamVR headset.

The new HTC Vive Developer Edition headset will be available in the spring of 2015 and the full consumer version is expected to ship at the end of this year. Pricing information has not been revealed at this time but do stay tuned for more announcements at GDC 2015.

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