Valve Corporation employees are delivering updates during a presentation today at GDC about Steam features. The talk focuses on how new features and services in Valve’s Steam storefront got more people using it over the years. VR is one of the features listed in the presentation as building on-ramps to more growth on Steam.
That is the only mention of VR in the presentation.
Valve representative Doug Lombardi confirmed to me there would be no VR updates at GDC from Valve but that it remains an area of interest and investment for the company.
“We still see VR as being really important, we still see a lot of people adopting it,” Lombardi said. “In the short term, or the not too distant future, we are going to be talking more about…what’s happening on Steam with VR past, present and future, but it just won’t be happening here at the show.”
Late last year photos leaked showing what appeared to be a Valve-made head-mounted display. We heard from sources Valve could be targeting early this year for broader availability of the system with Knuckles controllers and perhaps a Half-Life VR game. In December, Valve started shipping fresh developer kits for its several-years-in-the-making hand controllers. Last month, Valve laid off 13 people including some working in VR — a prepared statement said it “does not represent any major changes at the company.”
The reveal of Rift S from Facebook means after three years of work the company committed to shipping a follow-up system to its first PC VR headset. Valve partner HTC is developing a range of headsets but none of them appear to use Valve’s SteamVR Tracking technology that was so critical to the appeal of the original Vive.
With certain compromises apparent in the design of the Rift S — it is heavier than the original, for example — we are extremely curious to see what choices Valve made in developing newer versions of its VR technology.
It sounds like we should get those updates soonish.