Valve Plans to Introduce its Valve Index VR Headset in May

In May, Valve Corporation will unveil a virtual reality headset, dubbed the Valve Index. In 2016, the company teamed up with HTC to launch the SteamVR headset. Valve, which has a dedicated website for the new VR headset, will only reveal that it features two sensors flanking the front and supports a 135-degree field of view (FOV), which is greater than HTC Vive and Oculus Rift’s 110-degree FOV. Valve doesn’t mention SteamVR Knuckles controllers, which it has promoted via developer outreach since 2016.

Ars Technica reports that the website also makes no mention of “a series of three Valve-produced VR games that have been repeatedly advertised by Valve co-founder Gabe Newell since 2017.”

Examining the image (above) from the Valve Index site, Ars Technica surmises that the headset might use “an outside tracking sensor, á la the HTC Vive’s infrared trackers.” The two “giant lenses,” however “imply that ‘inside-out’ tracking, managed entirely by the headset without any extra webcams or sensors, may also be in the cards.”

The image shows a “giant physical slider, which is likely linked to interpupillary distance (IPD), a precise measurement needed to ensure maximum VR comfort.” Also launching this spring will be two new Oculus headsets, the “wireless, no-PC Oculus Quest and the PC-connected Oculus Rift S.”

CNET reports that the single image of the Valve Index has the tagline, “Upgrade your experience,” but a Valve spokesperson “declined to give more details.” It describes Valve’s new VR headset as “a surprise,” given that the company “was focused on helping its partner HTC build $499 Vive headsets.”

Although Valve has “incubated” technology including lighthouse sensors and knuckle controllers, its VR headset will be competing with its partner HTC, as well as Facebook’s Oculus, and Sony’s PlayStation VR.