It was only a matter of time. Valve has now confirmed the Valve Index, the Portal maker's own virtual reality headset coming this May.
The announcement came in the form of a page dedicated to Valve Index going live on Steam and follows a bevy of leaked images and rumors in several months past. The page features the first official image of the VR headset and little else. A caption reads, "Upgrade your experience. May 2019."
Not much else is known beyond the name, its release month, and what it looks like. Valve did not share any details on pricing, technical specifications, or other special functionalities. Based on the official teaser image, it'll have at least two built-in sensors or perhaps cameras on the headset itself. There also appears to be interpupillary and viewing distance adjustment notches.
There is no indication about whether or not Valve will include the SteamVR Knuckle controllers as part of the Valve Index package, but it's likely. The page is empty at the moment. There's no mention of the three Valve-produced VR titles cofounder Gabe Newell has been advertising since 2017.
The Valve Index wouldn't mark the first time Valve has experimented with VR. The company previously worked with HTC for the development of the latter's Vive VR headset and integrated it into the Steam ecosystem.
Valve vs Oculus
With the Valve Index scheduled to come out this May, 2019 is poised to be significant year for new VR consoles. Oculus announced two new headsets slated for spring, namely the Oculus Rift S and the Oculus Quest. The Rift S will be an upgraded version of the current Rift with built-in tracking, higher-resolution optics, and an improved strap. The Oculus Quest, on the other hand, will be a standalone headset powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chip.
The Valve Index might launch right around the release of Oculus' two new headsets, which puts both companies on interesting positions. The real question is how Valve plans to market its upcoming headset to gamers when there is already a bunch of choices available, some of them decently affordable. Make sure to check back with Tech Times as we learn more.