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Just as an update to our previous article talking about Valve's new VR headset the Valve Index, I contacted Valve to get some bits cleared up.

As we saw from the accidental store pages going live for Valve's new VR kit, there was a "SteamOS + Linux" system requirements section. After speaking to Valve's PR person Doug Lombardi, they simply said "Yes on Linux support." which is pretty exciting to know we will see same-day Linux support!

Additionally, Lombardi told me they will be targetting May 1st for pre-orders and a full announcement, along with the "Knuckles" controllers which are now just being called "Valve Index Controllers".

The one thing that isn't final is the shipping date, the leaked store page mentioned June 15th but Lombardi said to me they're still "finalizing the targeted day in June to begin shipping units to customers".

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51 comments
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gomera 6 April 2019 at 6:42 pm UTC
Comandante Ñoñardo
kuhpunkt
Comandante Ñoñardo
kuhpunkt
devnullNext question is shipping from where. I don't know of any distributor with stock yet.

From the USA. They build that stuff in their own factory.

If Valve don't licence their hardware to third party manufacturers from around the world, it will be a complete commercial failure... It seems that nobody learned nothing from the VIDEOCASSETTE war.

Why? Seems to work fine for the Steam Controller.

Maybe if you live in the USA or another country with an strong currency...
But for the rest of the world, specially countries like Argentina, is impossible...
You won't find an Steam controller at retail stores...And if you do, it will be more expensive than an Xbox controller.

Here in Argentina, you will find an Steam controller for about 100 and 150 U$D at digital store Mercadolibre..
meanwhile, an Xbox 360 wireless is about 70USD.

I repeat. If they don't learn from the mistakes of the past, they will do it again...

Don't use Argentina as an example, we have stupidly high prices for everything here. If you want technology, you have to pay for it in most cases double or even triple the USA price. If you are lucky enough it's just 50% more. And having Valve licence their products here, won't change anything. Just try to by an iPad on any of the official retailers we have and let me know ...
Purple Library Guy 6 April 2019 at 6:51 pm UTC
kuhpunkt
Comandante Ñoñardo
kuhpunkt
Comandante Ñoñardo
kuhpunkt
devnullNext question is shipping from where. I don't know of any distributor with stock yet.

From the USA. They build that stuff in their own factory.

If Valve don't licence their hardware to third party manufacturers from around the world, it will be a complete commercial failure... It seems that nobody learned nothing from the VIDEOCASSETTE war.

Why? Seems to work fine for the Steam Controller.

Maybe if you live in the USA or another country with an strong currency...
But for the rest of the world, specially countries like Argentina, is impossible...
You won't find an Steam controller at retail stores...And if you do, it will be more expensive than an Xbox controller.

Here in Argentina, you will find an Steam controller for about 100 and 150 U$D at digital store Mercadolibre..
meanwhile, an Xbox 360 wireless is about 70USD.

I repeat. If they don't learn from the mistakes of the past, they will do it again...

But what does that have to do with licensing this out to third party manufactures? Who does this? Apple produces their own iPhones.
Well, sort of. At least, they pay directly for subcontractors to do it rather than letting it be done on the side by people outside their control.
1xok 6 April 2019 at 7:35 pm UTC
kuhpunkt
Comandante Ñoñardo
kuhpunkt
devnullNext question is shipping from where. I don't know of any distributor with stock yet.

From the USA. They build that stuff in their own factory.

If Valve don't licence their hardware to third party manufacturers from around the world, it will be a complete commercial failure... It seems that nobody learned nothing from the VIDEOCASSETTE war.

Why? Seems to work fine for the Steam Controller.

I love the Steam Controller and we've got half a dozen in use, so when they're used intensively, they break before their time. I sent one back once. It took two months to get a replacement device because the controller was sold out in the meantime. Valve can apparently only produce the controller in very small quantities.
TheYetiWakes 6 April 2019 at 7:53 pm UTC
Sounds good that we're getting some VR gear to play with but the purchase straight from Valve thing worries me. I originally brought my Steam Controller direct from them when it was on sale. Big mistake... After two and a half months trying to pin down when it would be shipped I finally gave up and ordered from a shop in UK. Turned up next day.

I received no help whatsoever from Valve and they wouldn't respond to any questions outside of generic we're looking into it replies.

I hope this VR kit is as revolutionary as the Steam Controller. It is brilliant with all the subtle changes you can apply to it. I'm was a die hard keyboard and mouse player but more often than not I'm now using my Linux games box on the main room TV rather than the PC.

Would like to think VR can also sway me the same way.
sub 6 April 2019 at 9:33 pm UTC
Orkultus
sub
Orkultusanyone know what the prices are going to be like?

I think it is no coincidence that Newell recently said "It's the high end where the interesting things happen".

Read: This won't be "cheap".

The argument that - if it's expensive - not that many people will buy it is correct.
However, that's probably not what Valve might be after just yet.

They need to present great new experiences and pave the way for a new hype.

This will be expensive. Mass market affordable prices might follow in 2-3 years.

Just my 2 cents.

I might be completely wrong.

Hoping that since sony was able to make a reasonably priced VR headseat for their PS4, that maybe Valve did the same thing...but here goes to hoping.

I don't know the SONY VR set, but I guess even at the time of its release it hasn't been the most advanced one. That might already reduce the price.

Could it be it is/was even subsidized by SONY?

This is an interesting point imho.

I think this is no option for Valve.
SONY can consider subsidized hardware as an investment to strengthen their platform.
You can only use the headset with a PS4, right?
So it only runs software licensed by SONY

But that Valve headset will surely not be restricted for Steam use and support Open APIs for VR as we know Valve.
This leads me to think it's very unlikely that Valve will subsidize (or even think about a dumping price) the headset in order to make it more affordable, since you can use with other platforms as well.
cerebrix 6 April 2019 at 9:53 pm UTC
Comandante Ñoñardo
kuhpunkt
Comandante Ñoñardo
kuhpunkt
devnullNext question is shipping from where. I don't know of any distributor with stock yet.

From the USA. They build that stuff in their own factory.

If Valve don't licence their hardware to third party manufacturers from around the world, it will be a complete commercial failure... It seems that nobody learned nothing from the VIDEOCASSETTE war.

Why? Seems to work fine for the Steam Controller.

Maybe if you live in the USA or another country with an strong currency...
But for the rest of the world, specially countries like Argentina, is impossible...
You won't find an Steam controller at retail stores...And if you do, it will be more expensive than an Xbox controller.

Here in Argentina, you will find an Steam controller for about 100 and 150 U$D at digital store Mercadolibre..
meanwhile, an Xbox 360 wireless is about 70USD.

I repeat. If they don't learn from the mistakes of the past, they will do it again...

So which mistake do they learn from. One from 30 years ago that happened in a completely different market or the one from 7 years ago that was as open as you describe for something called a "Steam Machine"?
NeptNutz 6 April 2019 at 10:32 pm UTC
slaapliedje
NeptNutzThis is the wide blue ocean where PC belongs. No, it's probably not cheap. Then again, PC has never been cheap.

I saw a PSVR in the Best Buy the other day and almost laughed. $350 for THAT???

If only they could get rid of that damned umbilicus! Nothing breaks presence faster than that little snake crawling up your back. What happened to the VIVE Wireless Adapter cobra-looking thing?
Ha. While playing Elite Dangerous it makes me feel like it is part of the life support system keeping me alive.
Quite correct. That's why flight and racing sims (both seated) are especially perfect for VR. What's the difference between wearing a VR contraption compared to wearing a comms-enabled helmet with an oxygen mask or cooling tube? Not much.

But Flower wearing a tethered VR? Hell no!
Comandante Ñoñardo 6 April 2019 at 11:43 pm UTC
cerebrix
Comandante Ñoñardo
kuhpunkt
Comandante Ñoñardo
kuhpunkt
devnullNext question is shipping from where. I don't know of any distributor with stock yet.

From the USA. They build that stuff in their own factory.

If Valve don't licence their hardware to third party manufacturers from around the world, it will be a complete commercial failure... It seems that nobody learned nothing from the VIDEOCASSETTE war.

Why? Seems to work fine for the Steam Controller.

Maybe if you live in the USA or another country with an strong currency...
But for the rest of the world, specially countries like Argentina, is impossible...
You won't find an Steam controller at retail stores...And if you do, it will be more expensive than an Xbox controller.

Here in Argentina, you will find an Steam controller for about 100 and 150 U$D at digital store Mercadolibre..
meanwhile, an Xbox 360 wireless is about 70USD.

I repeat. If they don't learn from the mistakes of the past, they will do it again...

So which mistake do they learn from. One from 30 years ago that happened in a completely different market or the one from 7 years ago that was as open as you describe for something called a "Steam Machine"?

Both...
Valve has the right to design its own technology (like the Steam controller), but They must allow third party assemblers to copy it (like JVC did)...
With different brands of the Steam Controller, you (the user) will have different prices and you can buy the more convenient for your wallet...
Obviously, if you can afford it, you can buy the Steam controller made by Valve... The original and the clones will work.

About the Steam machines:
Valve must design only three different models, each one with an specific hardware. One for 720p, another for 1080p and another for 4K. They must assemble their own motherboards, graphic cards and cases, allowing third party assemblers to build their own Steam machines, following the exact hardware configuration and operative system.

You, as a user, can build your own Steam machine, but Valve should give you technical support for your home made Steam machine only if you use the specific hardware and OS...

Remember that an Steam machine is not a desktop computer, is a videogame "console" connected to a TV..
Shmerl 7 April 2019 at 2:32 am UTC
Question is how. Will they use OpenHMD or some blobs? I hope full open stack will be an option.


Last edited by Shmerl at 7 April 2019 at 2:33 am UTC
gradyvuckovic 7 April 2019 at 2:59 am UTC
Re: Price
IMO, sell it at a loss.

Hear me out.

What would absolutely kill this product is a high price tag.

VR headsets are expensive to make, and VR headsets that push boundaries with hardware are usually even more expensive. Couple that with the fact VR is effectively just an add-on rather than a platform, and the still very small market for high quality VR games (due to the small number of users - sound familiar?), the expensive hardware requirements and the unusual requirements for using VR in general (eg: room space) and you have a product with a high price tag and high entry barrier.

Valve needs to move as many of these headsets as possible to seed a market for VR and for this headset.

Selling the headset at below manufacturing cost is not entirely crazy for a few reasons.

1. This product will become cheaper to mass produce in large numbers eventually. Making a lot of something is always cheaper than making a small quantity of it. In order to achieve higher sales quantities, the price will need to start lower.
2. It's also a great way for Valve to secure their future as the home of PC gaming since I can't think of any real competitor to Steam that has VR games or Steam's level of VR support. But as long as VR represents only 1% of the market, that isn't enough of an edge. (sound familiar?)
3. With 3 Valve VR games incoming they can at least partially or perhaps even fully make back the loss on the headset by selling the games. But they won't sell those games if no one buys the headset. Plus, Valve will make back even more of that loss on extra sales of other VR games on Steam as one of the first things a new VR gamer does after getting a headset is buying a whole bunch of VR games to try it out with. Valve will get 30% of every VR game sold on their platform, so getting as many headsets out there as possible is very important.

Selling at a loss is not uncommon for hardware, Sony has done it before with Playstations, after a couple of years of manufacturing the same thing in large numbers the cost of manufacturing goes down and the money is recovered by selling games.

How far below cost is another matter but this headset needs to be very affordable and high value for money to be a winner, while also being high quality. That combination would put a VR headset in the hands of many gamers, and rocket the VR gaming industry forward.
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