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Oculus dethroned: Valve's SteamVR is the new virtual reality frontrunner

Hayden Dingman | March 6, 2015
There's a new frontrunner in virtual reality. At least for now. For the first time since virtual reality became "a thing" again, Oculus has been dethroned. SteamVR and the HTC Vive now reign supreme as the device I'm most looking forward to, following a demo during GDC.

There's also the question of how it'll work in a real living room — you know, not a giant white cube devoid of furniture. Valve told me the system will recognize furniture in the final product similar to how it recognizes walls now, but we'll of course need to test that before we believe it.

Another interesting point: What's next? I asked Valve whether the HTC Vive would be the only SteamVR platform and was told that the agreement is not exclusive. The Vive is the only unit Valve is currently working on in 2015, but there's a chance that partnership changes in the future.

Finally: Will it launch? This technology seemed surprisingly mature. More than I expected. But Valve's track record on hardware isn't exactly stellar, and despite both HTC and Valve swearing up and down that the Vive will hit a 2015 Holiday release...well, I'm not holding my breath.

Consumer VR is here, though. If you aren't sold on VR yet, I guarantee the demo reel I saw today would change that. Price might be a problem. There might be some quirks left to work out. But in general this is the most polished, intense VR experience I've seen.

It's funny, because I know I've written that a lot already, and most of you have yet to try VR even a single time. Perhaps that's good though — it means by the time you do try it, it'll be ready. I'm honestly excited to see what happens when you do.

 

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