The move will attract more developers, which means more awesome VR experiences.
Valve is giving away units of its Vive VR headset to a group of carefully selected developers, a company spokesperson confirmed to Ars Technica. Valve’s Doug Lombardi said that a new website is launching soon to attract more developers for its promising virtual reality headset that the company is developing in partnership with HTC.
Interested developers can expect the website to launch next week, Lombardi says, adding that more information and sign up forms will be posted on the site. Valve and HTC already gave developer kits to Owlchemy Labs (Aaaaaa! For The Awesome), Bossa Studios (Surgeon Simulator, I Am Bread), Fireproof Games (The Room), and Cloudhead Games (The Gallery).
But to outplay the earlier players like Oculus, Samsung, and Sony, Valve has to attract a strong community of developers. Giving away its Vive VR headsets free is a good start. When Oculus launched its Rift developer kit, developers had to pay around $300 to $350 for it. Lombardi said that qualified developers will receive a free Developer Edition kit, which includes a headset, two controllers, and two base stations.
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The Vive VR headset features a 1,200 by 1,080-pixel screen, a gyrosensor, accelerometer, laser position sensor, a pair of Steam VR base stations, and ergonomic game controllers. Valve and HTC are working with HBO, Google, and Lions Gate Entertainment to create surreal VR experiences. The Vive VR headset is expected to launch later this year.