Valve has announced plans to offer royalty-free licences to anyone who wants to create peripherals for its SteamVR platform. However, there’s a catch — before their application is approved, interested parties will have to pay $2,975 to attend a special training seminar.
It’s important to note that Valve isn’t opening the door for other companies to start making headsets. Instead, this program centers around physical objects that SteamVR can detect and track, in order to implement them in the platform’s room-scale VR implementation.
For instance, if a developer were planning a game about lightsaber combat, the license being offered by Valve would allow them to design a hilt that players could hold while wearing the headset. SteamVR would then recognize this peripheral and translate it into a 3D lightsaber model displayed via the headset for the player to see in-game.
SteamVR detects hardware like the HTC Vive headset and its wand controller by looking for the IR receiver dots littered across the surface of these devices, according to a report from Ars Technica. At present, most of the custom peripherals used in conjunction with the platform are homemade devices that use a wand controller as a base — but Valve’s new program could help push things forward.
Successful applicants will receive two HTC Vive base stations, a full complement of EVR circuit boards, 40 individual sensors, and accessories to enable custom prototypes. The dev kit also includes tools to help with sensor placement and calibration.
It’s easy to see why developers would want to take advantage of this program, but the cost of the seminar may be a barrier to entry for some. Sessions will be held in Seattle starting at the end of September, with more to follow in Asia over the coming months.