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Valve: Consumer-priced virtual reality headsets feasible for 2015


During a Steam Dev Days talk last week, Valve Research and Development leader Michael Abrash said he expects virtual reality to hit big in the coming years, and that it "could transform the entire entertainment industry," USA Today reported.

"Compelling consumer-priced VR hardware is coming, probably within two years," Abrash said. With Oculus VR leading the way, virtual reality headsets aren't anything new to those that have been watching their growth in recent years. The key words here are "compelling consumer-priced VR hardware" then, which Abrash thinks can be built to the following specs in 2015, per a slide (PDF) in his presentation: 110-degree field of vision, 95 Hz refresh rate, 1K x 1K resolution per eye, three millisecond pixel persistence and 20 millisecond latency.

Abrash said a VR headset with those specs is "doable with relatively minor tweaks of existing technology; no breakthroughs or miracles are needed, just solid engineering." In fact, Valve has built prototypes of head-mounted displays with those specifications already, and will "share what we've found with PC companies that want to develop VR hardware."

Valve has already built a working relationship with VR hardware manufacturers, working directly with Oculus VR on consumer-level virtual reality options and launched its SteamVR beta just ahead of its Steam Dev Days conference. We went hands-on with Oculus VR's latest internal prototype hardware "Crystal Cove" at CES 2014.

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