It is the end of calendar year, usually the time to draw a few lines. As for the PC Virtual Reality, the year has been a financial success marred by a grudging sense of unfulfilled potential. End of year saw a few setbacks to the reality tech project overall, but nothing too grave to write home about. Still, year 2019 does have a certain innovation weight on its shoulders.
Take Facebook and Valve for instance. These are two radically different companies in terms of business model; one having more than 30, 000 employees compared to a few hundred; one pushing out products the other supplying the technology. Both are leading players in PC VR space, and both are looking to make the biggest possible noise in 2019.
Take Valve first. The company is of course well-known for running Steam PC game market place engine. As of recently, Steam has cut down on the sales provision to 20-25%, but it is still among the highest earning companies considering the number of employees involved. As for PC Virtual Reality, Valve are the ones who came up with the tech behind HTC Vive Knuckles. Freedom of control and room-scale hand control movement rendered the competition obsolete until Facebook succeeded in the matching game with Oculus Rift.
Now, rumor has it that Valve is done playing the bridesmaid game and is hard at work on its very own high-tech VR headset. Valve HMD, as it is provisionally called, will be utilizing the updated Steam VR tracking technology, along with advanced FOV. And this is coming from a company who brought us Half-Life and Portal games. They do care about the content as well, so we should expect a few knuckle-based titles, quality titles, to celebrate the emergence of Valve HMD headset.
Facebook on the other hand is a huge conglomerate of various businesses, PC VR being one of many. Rift behind and Rift S ahead, Facebook is placing their chips on Oculus Quest set to come out early 2019. It is a pompously announced, $399 (ripple of applause) gaming headset. Because to make it in 2019, price really needs to come down. Facebook hopes that the combo of price, features, and 50-plus launch titles be enough to make Quest the default VR gaming rig.
As opposed to Valve, Facebook is all over the place with tis tracking system, and, if rumor has any merit, the upcoming Rift S will receive its own from Oculus Quest. This would standardize the hardware offer of Facebook, and do much in terms of propping up Oculus Store – Facebook’s foremost VR agenda. And if Oculus Rift S came with a reasonable price tag, PC VR space will flourish.
There’s another player in PC Virtual Reality that might find itself in no man’s land should Valve HMD and Rift S live up to their potential – HTC. Releasing Vive Focus for Chinese market might be indicative of the company plans, considering that neither of the two companies mentioned operates there. Be that as it may, there is a real pressure for all of them to deliver. The PC VR industry is shaping up pretty well for major innovation ahead.