Beta for Valve's hardware to begin next year

Earlier this month, Valve’s plans of a virtual reality gaming headset had come to light. The company had revealed its plans in an interview with the New York Times. The New York Times states that Gordon Stoll of Valve was testing an NVIS gaming headset that is “a boxy set of goggles that looks like a 22nd-century version of View-Master”. The headsets, which more or less work like Google’s Project Glass, are part of a wearable computing project headed by Michael Abrash. Now, according to Rock Paper Shotgun, the beta for Valve’s hardware is going to kick off next year.

For the beta, Valve will be releasing prototypes of the hardware to some selected few gamers on Steam, though how these players will be selected is unknown. It’s not even confirmed how the control scheme in Valve’s headset will work. In an interview with Engadget, Valve’s Jeri Ellsworth suggested that no option - “from Phantom Lapboard-esque solutions to hybrid controllers” – is out of the question for the company.

Gordon Stoll of Valve testing an NVIS gaming headset.

The beta for Valve's hardware will begin next year


The earlier report reveals that Valve will face greater technical challenges compared with Google’s Project Glass. “While Google’s glasses will display texts and video conferences, Valve has greater technical challenges to overcome with augmented-reality games. It has to figure out how to keep stable an image of a virtual object (say, a billboard) that is meant to be attached to a real-world object (the side of a building) while a player moves around. Otherwise, the illusion would be shattered,” it reads.

Valve recently stated in a job listing for the post of an industrial designer stated that it is “jumping in” the computer hardware business. The listing adds that Valve is “frustrated by the lack of innovation in the computer hardware space” and sees “a real void in the marketplace.” Valve also seems to think that opportunities to create compelling user experiences are “being overlooked”.

“Valve is traditionally a software company. Open platforms like the PC and Mac are important to us, as they enable us and our partners to have a robust and direct relationship with customers. We’re frustrated by the lack of innovation in the computer hardware space though, so we’re jumping in. Even basic input, the keyboard and mouse, haven’t really changed in any meaningful way over the years. There’s a real void in the marketplace, and opportunities to create compelling user experiences are being overlooked,” the post reads.

The post doesn’t include information about any specific computer hardware Valve may be considering, but it does mention that basic input peripherals such as the keyboard and mouse “haven’t really changed in any meaningful way over the years.”

The company is not planning to build its own console either. Valve's Marketing Director Doug Lombardi confirmed with Kotaku earlier this year that Valve was a long way from actually making a console. He didn’t deny, however, that Valve wouldn’t make its own hardware sometime in the future.

Published Date: Sep 21, 2012 16:07 PM | Updated Date: Sep 21, 2012 16:07 PM