Virtual reality and VR headsets are not mainly focused on gaming, but more on the experience it gives the user. Those who have tried it do know what it’s about and what potential it offers. And it seems Valve’s VR lead, Michael Abrash, is one of the few people who see the upcoming VR potential.
“Not only could VR rapidly evolve into a major platform, but it could actually tip the balance of the entire industry from traditional media toward computer entertainment.” said Michael.
Michael predicts that the VR headset will overcome any traditional media interaction methods, such as TVs, theaters, movies, etc. and although this seems far away, Valve is pointing to a launch date in 2015 for their version of VR headset. He has also described in detail how the VR experience should be and even came up with some basic guidelines at the Steam Dev Days event.
The first and most important thing about VR is the “presence”, as Michael mentioned. It creates a new and detailed reality to the extent that it fools even the human brain. And the closer the experience is to reality, the better the user experience gets.
“It’s the sense of being someplace else while in virtual reality; many people feel as if they’ve been teleported. Presence is an incredibly powerful sensation, and it’s unique to VR; there’s no way to create it in any other medium.” Michael stated. “Most people find it to be kind of magical, and we think that once people have experienced presence, they’ll want it badly,” he added.
We can’t deny the fact that VR is already here, and almost perfect. Take the Oculus Crystal Cove prototype for example, with minor adjustments it will be ready for consumer use in no time. This is where Michael pointed out some target specs during the Steam Dev Days event required for the VR headset user experience. And this is why Valve is working on their own prototype VR headset.
Together with its SteamVR platform, it aims to revolutionise how we play games. SteamVR beta is already available in Steam’s Big Picture mode. Although Steam only demoed their VR technology to developers, the feedback given so far is quite positive. We are now looking forward to more information about what Steam has in plan for the future, and maybe even a public demo of their VR headset and how it works in the SteamVM platform.