Valve’s SteamVR unveiling at GDC 2015, but will it change Virtual Reality for good?

Update: We now know that Steam VR is called the HTC Vive and more information will be revealed at GDC 2015. You can read all we know about the HTC Vive here.

Valve's SteamVR unveiling at GDC 2015, but will it change Virtual Reality for good?

Valve, known for changing the face of PC gaming and distribution, as well as keeping its innovations rather close to its chest, has announced that it will be unveiling its SteamVR headset at the upcoming Game Developers Conference 2015 next week.

Steam VR Prototype - Valve to unveil SteamVR at GDC 2015

But wait, haven’t we already seen an early prototype of SteamVR from Valve’s Dev Days in January 2014, so what is it unveling?

According to a signup page for SteamVR developers, what we’ll be seeing at GDC 2015 is “previously unannounced” hardware, suggesting that what we’ve seen before has been scrapped and this is something entirely new.

It’s not too surprising to imagine Valve throwing SteamVR out and starting over as the virtual reality landscape has changed massively since its announcement.

Since January Facebook has entered the market via acquiring Oculus VR, Sony unveiled its ambitous Project Morpheus VR headset, Samsung released its Oculus-powered Gear VR, LG jumped aboard Google Cardboard technology for its G3 phone, and even Microsoft entered the fight with its bonkers Hololens contraption.

All we can say about SteamVR right now is that Valve knows exactly what it’s doing.

With the innovations pushed through its digital distribution platform Steam, Valve has always succeeded through getting content creators on-side. SteamVR is no different, it’s the reason why it’s already calling for developers to get involved. People want their games on Steam, and if SteamVR is a sure-fire way of getting content up there, then people will jump at the chance.

It’ll be interesting to see where SteamVR fits in the current VR landscape, as it’s surely geared towards the VR games market over everything else. But, with Valve trying to push computers into the living room with compact Steam Machine PCs, perhaps Steam VR will focus on more mass-market appeal and experiences centred around the main screen in the house.

Valve Steam Machine Prototype Concept - SteamVR unveiled at GDC 2015

Still Valve is yet to deliver on its promise of Steam Machines, or Half-Life 3 for that matter, so having an active community of developers behind the project could mean that SteamVR actually sees the light of day. Although, don’t expect it anytime soon, Valve is famous for not rushing things and only delivering a product once it’s completely ready.

While Valve is holding live SteamVR demos during GDC 2015, taking place between 4 – 6 March, it’s also showing off a “refined” Steam Controller for its Steam Machines, and hopefully a look into the future of virtual reality devices.

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