Following a leak or two, Valve has now formally debuted its virtual reality hardware solution, named Valve Index. The official site promises high-fidelity VR with superior comfort and control. Pre-orders begin on May 1, and pricing has been announced for the full set along with the a la carte pieces of it.
The centerpiece of the VR kit is the headset, which boasts two 1440×1600 RGB LCDs, promising more pixels and less screen door effect than OLED displays. It also runs at 120Hz (with optional 90Hz and 144Hz modes) for higher framerates. Valve promises a greater field-of-view than other devices, and the headset itself sports two off-ear near-field speakers to balance comfort and sound quality. It also has an adjustable head band for head size, ear placement, and angle, and swappable face pads for sharing the kit. Finally, the headset has room for expansion and mods with cameras and a front expansion slot.
A pair of custom-built controllers strap onto your hand and respond to natural movements like throwing or dropping held objects. Valve boasts that each controller has 87 sensors to help determine your movements and intent. The grip input helps determine how you’re holding objects and finger tracking, and the controllers sport a full range of standard buttons along with a track button. A pair of base stations have a 160º x 115º field-of-view range, and are expandable to up to four stations.
The full Valve Index set costs $1,000, while the headset and controllers alone are $750. The headset is the most expensive single part at $500, and a pair of controllers are $280 by themselves. A single base station costs $150. Each of these are planned to ship by June 28, 2019.
This gives PC users another option for their VR support, as the race for headset dominance continues with other companies like Facebook and HTC having gained a following with their own devices. Consoles are looking to support VR as well, and Sony has hinted that its next console will continue to support PSVR.