Valve's Index VR kit goes on sale tomorrow for $999

Valve Reveals Details on the New Index Headset

Valve Reveals Details on the New Index Headset

At the beginning of April, Valve revealed it was set to enter the virtual reality hardware market by launching a VR headset called Valve Index.

The only mainstream consumer VR system more expensive than the Index is the HTC Vive Pro, which costs $1,399 for the full setup. All the work they have done is to reduce Screen-Door Effect, increase your Field of View, and make the screen as immersive as possible.

The headset itself boasts 1440×1600 dual LCD panels with an FOV almost 20 degrees larger than its predecessors, the HTC Vive.

Comfort is also emphasized with a phrase that made me laugh: "careful geometry targeting 95% of adult heads". The official site promises high-fidelity VR with superior comfort and control. Now, Valve is jumping into the game with its Knuckles controller. Rather than button presses, the Index Controllers use 87 sensors per controller-"optical, motion, capacitive, and force"-to figure out what your hands, and even individual fingers, are doing". Picking things up, pinching, signalling and so on are said to be natural with these controllers. So to counter that, Valve claims that its Base Station 2.0 offers more accurate tracking and a wider FOV that covers a 400 per cent larger area with just two base stations when compared to Vive's original base stations.

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First unveiled back in April, Valve's Index headset is designed as an own-brand alternative to the Vive it worked on with smartphone manufacturer HTC.

This is perhaps the best asset of the Index, considering that most VR controllers are chunky, clunky and unintuitive, with big wads of plastic blocking freedom of movement. The company also has cameras available with sample code so developers working in computer vision can use the kit to create content that takes in the real world.

Most headsets offer headphones attached to them, like the Oculus Rift, or for you to plug in headphones of your own, like with the HTC Vive. VR experiences could certainly put that to good use. As far as we know, three games are on the way - and the first one will hopefully be coming out before the end of the year.

But the new game won't be exclusive to the Index headset. It turns out Index is a complete VR kit and full details as well as pre-orders have gone live today. Here in the United Kingdom shipping is expected to start from 28 June.

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