Valve's scaled-back certification process ensures a broader range of support from VR developers and manufacturers, which should result in more options for consumers.
Valve has officially dropped its in-person training requirements for SteamVR tracking certification, making it easier than ever for peripheral manufacturers to produce virtual reality accessories that use Valve’s proprietary Lighthouse tracking technology.
The company previously required hardware manufacturers to complete an in-person training course held infrequently in Seattle, and many developers faced difficulty in budgeting the program’s required $3,000 entry fee. Valve’s relaxed requirements now waive an entry fee entirely, and developers must simply complete an online training course instead.
Shortly after launching its Lighthouse tracking tech, Valve revealed that hardware developers would be able to integrate the tech in their own peripherals after completing a required training course. VR accessories that use Lighthouse tracking are able to interface with the HTC Vive virtual reality headset, and the technology ensures accuracy regarding the positioning and movement of motion-tracking controllers during VR gameplay and simulations.
More than 300 creators and companies completed Valve’s training program and earned SteamVR tracking certification since last year, but cost and travel requirements put many interested developers in a bind. In order for a company to be eligible for certification, a representative mechanical engineer, industrial designer, or electrical engineer needed to travel to Seattle in order to complete Valve’s in-person training program, adding a steep barrier to entry for companies located overseas.
As part of its overhauled training program, Valve now requires companies to complete an online certification course at their convenience. Valve currently offers online certification courses in English and Chinese, and in-person training is still available as an option via Synapse’s ongoing certification sessions in Seattle.
Valve previously announced plans to sell SteamVR base stations to licensed developers starting later this year. A consumer model has not yet been revealed.