Valve is opening up SteamVR tracking to third-parties with royalty-free licensing

Those looking to play VR games or dabble with apps in the SteamVR ecosystem were limited to using the hardware from HTC and Oculus. However, SteamVR maker Valve has now made an announcement that change all of this.


Those looking to play VR games or dabble with apps in the SteamVR ecosystem were limited to using the hardware from HTC and Oculus. However, SteamVR maker Valve has now made an announcement that change all of this.

Valve is opening up its VR hardware platform by offering royalty-free licenses to third-party manufacturers and developers. This development primarily relates to the Vive's 'Lighthouse' tracking technology, which will allow others to create compatible peripherals and VR controllers.

Over a year ago, the company had said that it planned to allow third-parties to create compatible peripherals. Valve will offer royalty-free license to products working with the Lighthouse system. There are no licensing fees, but Licensees will have to pay $2,975 to attend a compulsory in-person training session at Seattle. Valve hopes to phase this out later, but for now, you don't have an option.

"Lighthouse is Valve’s system that provides the ‘room-scale’ tracking capabilities of the HTC Vive and it’s motion controllers. More than a year ago, the company said they planned to expose the inner-workings of the system and allow third-parties to create compatible peripherals," Roadtovr explains.

Right now Valve isn't allowing the creation of third-party base stations. Valve explains, "For now we need to make sure that there is complete compatibility among base stations and tracked devices. Longer term, we do want the hardware community to help us evolve base station design and to help innovate in that area, but given our own limited bandwidth we need to push that collaboration out to some future date."

The company will not require Valve's permission to sell a Lighthouse product. "You can sell your own products wherever you want. No, you don’t need Valve’s review and approval to ship your product, but you do need to comply with the license to be able to use our technology, brands, names, or trademarks," its FAQ sheet states.

Valve is also offering a Lighthouse ‘Licensee Dev Kit’ to companies. The dev kit includes modular reference tracked object that can be attached to prototype HMDs or other devices, full complement of EVM circuit boards, 40 individual sensors and accessories for custom prototypes. It includes software toolkits and calibration tools, and the necessary documentation.


Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.