Thanks to some leaks, we already know a little more about the Valve Index than we should. For example, that the launch will be in June with the start of pre-orders in May. We also know that the device has built-in headphones, DisplayPort 1.2 and USB 3.0, and that it comes with Valve Index controllers.
But there is still a hell of a lot that we need to learn about Index. With so many unknown variables, we came up with a list of the desired feature set for Valve’s virtual reality glasses.
Improved technical specifications
Any new VR headset on the market will always be appreciated for its “stuffing”. But the characteristics of the Index are of particular interest. It is they who will signal whether the new product is the next big leap for VR headsets in general or, if possible, a more incremental update, such as the new Oculus Rift S. With this headset potentially expanding the market, we hope that Valve getting ready to push the boundaries of high-end VR.
We heard from various sources that the Index has an increased field of view and an updated resolution similar to the resolution of HTC Vive Pro. However, we will be happy to see the final statistics. Only then will we know what the PC VR will look like over the next few years.
Better VR control
One of the less mysterious aspects of the Index is its controllers. They appeared on the Internet long before we learned about the existence of the Index, codenamed Knuckles. They are equipped with new finger tracking sensors that can transfer your hands to VR with a greater degree of accuracy. They also use a strap attached around your arm, which allows you to let go of controllers when you do not hold anything in the virtual world. These are pretty promising new features.
The question is whether the long-awaited Valve controllers raise the bar above similar models of VR controllers and by how much? We will not be able to answer this question until we get to them ourselves. Nevertheless, we hope for a significant step forward, no matter how small. Index controllers could be more revolutionary, and that would be acceptable to us.
VR gaming that executes the application
Yes, yes, we all know what we really want: a spacesuit, a crowbar, and an army of crabs. But just sticking to Half-Life and throwing it at the masses is not enough.
What we want to see in the Valve Index games is a fundamental understanding of the VR language and a clear vision of where the technology leads in the future. VR development has come a long way, but it is still the Wild West, desperately needing a foothold for further development. Half-Life has forever changed the gaming industry. Half-Life VR cannot simply repeat the formula of its predecessor – it needs to forge a new path. What is it and how will it look? We have no idea, but we are not Valve to think about it.
This may be the biggest issue of all, especially considering the price of past headsets. For $ 799 in 2016, the PC VR was doomed to years of obscurity. Combined with the price of a powerful PC, the amount was too high for gamers to afford virtual reality and raise it to mainstream status.
We do not in any way expect the Index to match the Rift price of $ 399, but there is a big gap between this and the original Vive price. If the Index stops somewhere in the middle (as a complete set, and not just a headset), we would be happy. This is a high price, but it can be decisive for the role of Index in the future of VR and a corresponding future.
Easier to set up and fewer PC bugs
The first-generation Valve’s SteamVR tracking system was easier for many people than the room-scale Rift. While the Rift requires at least three sensors scattered around the room and connected via USB to a PC, Valve’s tracking technology uses positional base stations to identify the headset and controller positions. Only two beacons are needed to track the scale of a room, and, crucially for some, they do not need to be connected to a computer to track the movement of large rooms.
Oculus Rift S completely changes the configuration process compared to the first generation Rift. Although the new headset may not track movement when the lights are off, it will be easier to set up the Guardian system for freedom of movement throughout the room. This is because the system no longer needs these external USB sensors, and you can mark the boundaries of space while wearing the headset.
We hope that there will be similar improvements in the development of the Valve Index. In addition to installing hardware, any PC VR user knows the moment of frustration caused by updates and software errors related to Windows or SteamVR. We hope that the new system from Valve creates fewer problems.
VRcue will continue to keep you updated on the latest virtual reality news.