Wide-open Valve: More than 50 developers now certified to produce SteamVR hardware

lighthouse training course synapse htc vive box set speakers 2
Jessica Lee Star/Digital Trends
One of the fundamental differences with the way Valve has handled its virtual reality development — compared to Oculus — is that it has been pretty open. It shared early prototypes with Oculus and others and has opened up its SteamVR platform for third-party developers. Now, after completing a mandatory course on tracking, more than 50 developers are qualified to begin working on SteamVR hardware.

Part of the deal that those developers for SteamVR made was to pay for and complete a licensing course provided by product development firm Synapse. Although that course did set back attendees just shy of $3,000 apiece, it means that there will be no licensing fees or royalties.. Once the course is finished, developers can make any SteamVR hardware they like using Valve patents.

Related: Valve hints at a new SteamVR controller, second-gen Lighthouse system for 2017

While this might sound like Valve trying to get licensing money upfront from companies which may not end up with a completed product, it is more likely aimed at ensuring that people know what they’re doing. With the VR industry in its current fledgling state, the last thing Valve needs are people who don’t know how to make VR a comfortable and marketable experience.

Warning: Synapse has the gain on the following video jacked way too high. Look out for distortion and bleeding ear drums.

Synapse has been offering support for Valve’s own VR developments and now it is in charge of expanding that know-how beyond Valve’s offices. Although it has already given 50 developers the thumbs up to create qualified, professional VR hardware and experiences, many more are interested and in fact, RoadtoVR tells us that course slots in November and December are filling up fast.

If you’d like to be on one of these courses, make sure you sign up now to avoid disappointment.

What does this mean for the rest of us non-developers? It means that the future is bright for Valve’s hardware offerings and APIs, as there are a lot of companies out there now looking to develop new hardware and software to utilize it.

While this will likely lead to new, third-party alternatives to existing hardware, that’s what has helped make other markets healthy and competitive over the long term, so we’re excited to see what developers other than Valve/HTC can come up with in the SteamVR space.


Bringing realism to VR is complex, but these developers found a way in holograms

Making virtual reality feel real is the hardest job of all VR developers. For Awake: Episode One, StartVR used volumetric recording, rather than motion capture, to bring its characters to life like never before.
Virtual Reality

HTC’s stand-alone Vive Focus Plus will be out in April, and it won’t be cheap

The HTC Vive Focus Plus is set to release on April 15 to commercial businesses and developers. The stand-alone headset features the "six degrees of freedom" system, and includes hazard-tracking protection.

How the Google Stadia could lead to a new era of multi-GPU gaming

Google's Stadia could use more than one graphics card to deliver the high-performance visuals it's promised. If that leads to better developer support for multi-GPUs, could that mean gaming with two or more graphics cards could finally be…

Xbox One X vs. PS4 Pro: Which console is more powerful?

Far from cooling down, the console wars are only getting more intense. We compare Microsoft's Xbox One X to Sony's PlayStation 4 Pro to help you decide which premium console is right for you.

Oculus shows off the Rift S, plans to phase out its original VR headset

Oculus plans to phase out its flagship Rift VR headset for its newly created Rift S. The Rift S made its debut this week at the 2019 Game Developers Conference and is expected to be released in spring 2019.

Samsung files a VR patent featuring a curved OLED display

Doubling down on its emphasis on curved displays, Samsung recently filed a design patent for a new virtual reality headset that could feature a curved OLED display, which would be an interesting development in VR.

HP’s high-resolution VR headset provides comfort and Windows Mixed Reality

HP's new VR headset reportedly offers an exceptionally high resolution, highlights comfort and runs on Windows Mixed Reality. HP hasn't officially announced the new headset, but here's a look at some of its features.
Virtual Reality

Think virtual reality is just for games? These awesome apps will change your mind

Virtual reality isn't all about gaming. Swim with turtles, paint in 3D, and immerse yourself in some unique experiences the platform has to offer with our curated list of the best VR apps.
Virtual Reality

Getting into VR is spendy. Which headset is truly worth your hard-earned cash?

Virtual reality has finally gone mainstream, but how do you find the best VR headset for you? Check out a few of our favorites, whether you want the best of the best or a budget alternative for your mobile device.
Virtual Reality

HTC Vive Focus Plus makes it easier for developers to port PC content

HTC Vive has announced the Vive Focus Plus headset. The upgraded stand-alone headset makes use of "six degrees of freedom" support in controllers for a PC-like virtual reality experience.

Here’s how to watch Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 press conference

It is widely believed that Microsoft's WMC conference will be the stage for the unveiling of the next generation of its HoloLens mixed reality headset. We have the live stream right here.

Microsoft unveils $3,500 HoloLens 2 at MWC 2019. Here’s what you need to know

The HoloLens 2 is ripe for an announcement. Here's what Microsoft has revealed so far, what's likely in store for the next generation HoloLens, and everything that we know about this mixed reality headset.

Nissan designers use HaptX VR gloves to shape future cars

New car designs usually start out as clay before becoming metal, but designers are now swapping clay for pixels. Nissan is using virtual reality gloves from HaptX that give designers a tactile feel of virtual models.

Apple’s AR Glasses could pair up with your iPhone in 2020

According to an investor note sent by reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple's AR glasses will be mass manufactured starting in the fourth quarter of 2019, but not later than the second half of 2020.