A High-End VR Experience With a High Price Tag to Match
Valve this week released the details of its next VR headset. The Valve Index VR will launch June 28th priced at $999 for the complete bundle including headset, controllers, and base stations. For those who don’t need everything, Valve is also offering individual components at lower prices. A bundle of just the headset and controllers, for example, will run $749, while the headset, controllers, and base station will each be available individually for $499, $279, and $149, respectively.
Owners of the Vive or Vive Pro VR kits will be happy to know that the Index components will be compatible with their existing Vive hardware. For example, the new Index Headset and Index Controllers can be used with the Vive Lighthouse base station sensors, or you can keep your Vive controllers and sensors and just pick up the Index headset.
Unlike Oculus, which has continued to pursue standalone VR solutions Valve is positioning the Index VR as a “high-end” VR experience. That means a tethered connection to a relatively powerful PC and a higher price tag.
But users will get more for that higher price, including faster displays (a default 120Hz refresh rate with an “experimental mode” that can up the rate to 144Hz) at a 1440x1600 per-eye resolution, lenses with a larger field of view, an adjustable interpupillary distance (IPD) slider, and built-in speakers that offer virtual surround sound.
There’s also improvements to the Index Controllers compared to the Vive’s “Knuckle” controllers. The new Index Controllers utilize 87 sensors to provide a thus-far unprecedented level of control and feedback including real-time finger tracking. Reviewers given early hands-on access to the Index reported a good experience with Controllers, although consistent detection of all fingers required some adjustments to hand positioning.
In terms of software compatibility, the Valve Index VR will be unsurprisingly compatible with all existing Steam VR titles. There’s even a 90Hz refresh rate mode to ensure backwards compatibility with some older titles. Plus, Valve confirmed rumors by officially teasing the release of its first “Flagship VR Game” later this year. Valve refused to offer any details beyond that, except to say that it will be compatible with any SteamVR system.
Those interested in picking up a Valve Index kit or one of the new components can submit their pre-orders over at Valve’s website today starting at 1:00 PM EDT / 10:00 AM PDT / 5:00 PM UTC.