Despite speculation, Steam and Half-Life house Valve is not building its very own virtual reality headset.

Instead, it's working together with VR headset pioneer Oculus to "drive PC VR forward" with Oculus Rift, Valve revealed during day two of it's Steam Dev Days conference.

The two companies go way back. That prototype VR headset people - a while ago - mistook for Valve's: that was Oculus Rift. Valve backed Oculus from the very start, even endorsing Rift for its Kickstarter pitch.

valveoculus
An old picture showing Palmer Luckey (middle), inventor of Oculus Rift, with Valve's Michael Abrash (left) and some other guy who has a Reddit account.

Valve had been tinkering with head-mounted displays in-house, but the key thinkers behind the project were let go. They later popped up with their very own augmented reality and virtual reality glasses, CastAR.

But, as two Valve slides pointed out, "there's a lot left to be done" with VR technology.

Up to 100x resolution would apparently help, as would optimising the optics and sorting out head tracking and eye tracking. The wired tether is a pain, and there's need for 3D audio, haptics and body tracking, among other things.

By 2015, Valve thinks it's "feasible" for a VR headset to have 20ms latency, 3ms pixel persistence, 95Hz refresh, 110-degree field of vision, 1Kx1K resolution per eye, high quality optics and very capable tracking.

Presumably that headset is the consumer version of Oculus Rift that Oculus VR recently secured a gigantic $75m to develop - on top of a further $16m not so long ago. The consumer version had been earmarked for release this year.

"The PC will be the hotbed for VR," Valve told attending developers. Look at the creativity that's already apparent with Rift on PC: developers have freedom to innovate, Valve said, and PC is the most powerful platform - "and getting more so" - that's around.

In other words, expect Steam to go big with Oculus Rift support. Fantastic.

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About the author

Robert Purchese

Robert Purchese

Senior Staff Writer

Bertie is senior staff writer and Eurogamer's Poland-and-dragons correspondent. He's part of the furniture here, a friendly chair, and reports on all kinds of things, the stranger the better.

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