Valve has unveiled the Valve Index, which is the company’s latest virtual reality gaming headset. Players can pre-order the headset at the new Valve Index website. This is the fist time Valve has launched its very own headset without any partnership, and the VI is a serious bit of virtual reality kit.
Valve founder, Mr. Newell, once said, “There’s still not an incredibly compelling reason for people to spend 20 hours a day in VR.” Thus, virtual reality headsets have not yet become a big alternative to non-VR game consoles. However, the VI is undoubtedly one of the most exciting virtual reality headsets ever designed that might convince more players to embrace VR.
The Valve Index boasts high fidelty visuals that few other headsets can match. The headset incorporates a couple of 1,440 x 1,600 RGB LCDs. It runs with a 120 Hz frame rate, but that frame rate can be increased to 144 Hz with its experimental mode. Furthermore, the Valve Index’s field of view is 20 degrees greater than the HTC Vive’s FOV.
Valve Index has two Knuckles controllers for its games. Those are innovate controllers with 87 sensors that track hand positions. That enables players to pick up objects directly with hands instead of just pressing a button. The controllers’ optical and motion sensors also enable more realistic throwing in games. In addition, those controllers incorporate the Steam VR Input System so players and developers can customize controls.
However, the Knuckles aren’t essential for the Valve Index. The HTC Vive and Vive Pro headsets controllers are compatible with the VI. Therefore, players can utilize Vive Pro and HTC Vive controllers with the VI instead. So, the VI headset is also available without its controllers.
Players can play all SteamVR titles on the Valve Index. There are few details for new VI games as of yet. However, Valve has confirmed that it’s developing three new VR titles. Mr. Newell stated: “Right now we’re building three VR games… When I say we’re building three games, we’re building three full games, not experiments.”
The Valve Index might sound great, but it doesn’t come cheap either. The headset and controllers are retailing at $749. On its own, the VI headset is available at $499. The full Valve Index bundle package, with base stations included, amounts to $999.
So, the Valve Index is raising the bar for virtual reality; but it isn’t the most economical headset. Valve will release the new VR headset in June 2019.