Is virtual virtually here? Valve is shipping SteamVR headsets to developers

HTC Vive
Jeffery Van Camp/Digital Trends

Virtual reality could well be the next big thing in video games — but before the players get to use the tech to explore digital worlds, developers need to get their hands on the devices they need to create those experiences. Valve has now become the latest company to circulate its VR tech to the studios looking to utilize it in upcoming releases.

Valve’s Vive Developer Editions are currently on their way to a selection of movie studios, large-scale development teams, and indie studios, according to a post from Chet Faliszek of Valve. Included in the kit are two Lighthouse base stations, a headset, cables, instructions, and two of the company’s recently revealed Steam VR controllers.

Valve is the studio best known for its genre-defining Half-Life titles and the hugely popular Portal series, but in recent years the company has become recognized for its work on PC gaming infrastructure. The Steam service has redefined the way PC gamers buy their titles, and the Vive looks set to make VR possible on high-end computers.

The massive differences between creating a game that takes advantage of VR and traditional development makes it all the more important for dev kits like these to be distributed broadly, and well before titles are set to begin shipping. Teams will need plenty of time to grow accustomed to the quirks of the new tech.

Beyond that, it’s unknown how long we’ll have to wait before we see more of what Valve has planned for the Vive. Later this month, the gaming world will descend upon Los Angeles for industry convention E3, but the company has already announced that it won’t be making an appearance — although its partners may well be there to show off their work using the Vive.