Valve appears to be going all in with plans for AAA VR games and possible ‘house-scale’ technology.
During a press conference that took place at Valve’s HQ in Seattle yesterday, company founder Gabe Newell elaborated on the many goals of the company in terms of virtual reality, highlighting some significantly exciting projects in the process. Though the master of secrets managed to stay as tight-lipped as ever, we still walked away with plenty of information to get excited about.
“So one of the questions you might ask us is ‘Why in the world are we making hardware?’ So right now, we’re building three VR games. And what we can do now is to be designing hardware at the same time that we’re designing software. This is something that Miyamoto has always had, right? [Miyamoto] has had the ability to think about what the input devices & the design of systems should be like while he’s trying to design games. Our sense is that that’s going to allow us to actually build much better entertainment experiences for people.”
Based on the briefing, it’s clear that Newell believes Valve has a responsibility within the budding industry to experiment with new technology and content.
“We have this theory: we think we can make three big games, we think that we know enough now to do that, and we’re going to find out if that’s the case. We’re pretty sure that all the game developers are going to learn positive or negative lessons from what we do, which is sort of where we think we need to be.”
Newell continued by expressing his optimism for the future of virtual reality technology, making some very exciting predictions. The iconic developer is confident we could see PC-driven VR grow from ‘room-scale’ to ‘house-scale’ in the near future. As wireless headsets become more readily available and positional-tracking becomes more accurate, users could theoretically ‘knit’ several ‘room-scale’ kits together to form one large VR area to enjoy. Who knows, players could be creating their own custom play-spaces in a few years.
It’s exciting to see Valve take the lead in terms of bringing AAA content to their own virtual reality hardware. If anyone can help reinvent a format, it’s the fearless group over at Valve. It’ll be extremely interesting to see what titles will come from this push towards ‘full’ virtual reality games and experiences. Portal VR? Ricochet VR? An entirely new IP? Or, dare I even say it, Half-Life 3? I mean, at this point they’d have to do something pretty revolutionary to justify the wait fans have endured. What could be better than virtual reality?
We’ll never forget the last time we saw Newell make three announcements, exactly one year ago, when he had his HTC Vive Oprah moment at the Unity Vision Summit.