HTC, Valve offers Vive Virtual Reality kits to developers for free

29 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

HTC Vive Developer Edition Will Be Offered for Free, As Long as You’re Qualified.

HTC and Valve are being pretty aggressive with their VR headset timing — the recently announced Vive headset is supposed to be available to consumers by the end of the year.

Valve is continuing its campaign to Make VR Happen by lowering the entry barrier for developers hoping to make games for the platform of the future: it will be making a Developer Edition of the Vive headset free to qualifying developers.In an effort to help jumpstart launch projects for the HTC Vive, Valve have announced that they plan to giveaway the virtual reality headset for free to qualified developers. So far, only a few studios have been given access to the hardware – Owlchemy Labs, Bossa Studios, Fireproof Games and Cloudhead Games – but Valve will be taking sign-ups for more soon. Good news: it’s going to be free, “at least initially.” Bad (or at least worse) news: prospective developers can only get them by applying online, and we don’t know how many will make the cut.

Doug Lombardi told Ars Technica that it will consider extending the deal to studios “big and small”, and hopes to have a website open for taking applications this week. According to the Valve’s Steam VR website, the kit will include a headset, two controllers and two base stations, for creating an interactive VR experience. Oculus sent its very first units to Kickstarter backers, and anyone can pay $350 for a development kit on its site, although non-developers are discouraged from doing so.

Valve says that’s “everything (you’ll) need to five in and start creating new interactive VR experiences.” But comments from Valve’s Doug Lombardi suggest that the developer kits won’t be free forever – so if you’re looking to try your luck and see if you can get the HTC/Valve Vive headset without paying, now’s the time. The Vive VR headset stands out with the motion sensor that can map the room and bring in a virtual experience instead of being controlled with a mouse, keyboard or gaming controller. Last year, Sony offered Project Morpheus Dev kits to partner developers, and is also in the process of roping in independent developers for the headset. With controllers and a laser tracking system, there’s a lot more to Vive than the headset, so a widely available development kit could cost quite a bit more than the Rift.

And while Oculus hasn’t announced a consumer edition of its Rift, Valve and HTC are promising something within the next eight months — letting anyone pay for a semi-finished product when a final one is within sight might not make much sense.

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