Valve is now teasing us with their headset for May. This headset will be known as the Valve Index.
This confirms plenty of speculation that surfaced late last year. Although there is no full headset pictures officially out just yet, we know that what Valve released is strikingly similar to the leaked pictures of the partial headset.
When this picture first surfaced in 2018, we were told that this would be Valve’s very own SteamVR headset, and that the resolution and field of view would be similar to the HTC Vive Pro.
Last week GDC Valve said that they had news to release in regards to a virtual reality headset. Between that announcement and now, we’ve Oculus release the Rift S, which is supposed to be replacing the original Rift. This new headset features inside-out tracking. This is opposite to what we expect from the SteamVR headset. We are being lead to believe that this new headset from Valve will work with outside-in tracking.
There is no indication on whether the Valve Knuckles controllers will play a part in the release of the Index. With how hard Valve was advertising these controllers for developers, it would be hard to imagine any scenario where they don’t include either the Knuckle Controllers, or something newer and better.
Below is the image of the new headset but brightened. When looked at closely, there are six dots on the exterior of the headset. Again this resembles the HTC Vive. The dots are sensors that help locate the current position of the headset for external tracking. Yet another sign that the headset will not be inside-out tracking.
With that being said, there are still two visible eternal cameras on the headset. This could have a few meanings.
The Oculus Rift S has a pretty cool safety feature called passthrough. It activates the external cameras when close to a foreign object, ensuring that the user wasn’t bumping into anything. The external cameras on the Index might be exclusively used for that, but I doubt it. Something more likely is the chance that the Index will offer either multiple ways to track the headset, or mix outside-in and inside-out tracking for a new and promising experience. Something else to notice is the seemingly manual IPD adjuster on the bottom of the headset. With whatever way it falls, the Valve Index is sure to be a staple in the industry for the years to come.