How many times was some big – or obscure – electronics manufacturer meant to release a VR headset that was going to just blow us all away, before people complained of feeling nauseated when wearing it and it disappeared into obscurity? Plenty. So it’s easy to be apprehensive about the merits of wearing a device around your head that purports to completely and utterly immerse you in the game world, or even combine your view of the world with the games world.
However, when the company behind it is someone like Valve, then it suddenly becomes painfully hard to resist getting extremely excited about it. Sure, Valve are yet to move into hardware manufacture, but when one considers the innovations they’ve made in gaming – from Half-Life, to Counter-Strike, to Steam, then one’s well-entitled to invest quite a bit of faith in them.
Let’s remember also that we’re living in times of AR (Augmented Reality), not VR (Virtual Reality), which is a technology that’s proving increasingly popular courtesy of certain smartphones and the Nintendo 3DS. Valve seem to be confident that high-level AR gaming could be around three to five years away.
Valve, however, also haven’t committed themselves to the idea of mass-scale hardware manufacture. While they’re currently dabbling with the AR googles technology, they’re ultimate goal is allegedly to share the design freely so that other hardware companies can jump on the bandwagon.
Speaking with the New York Times, Valve’s Michael Abrash said
Gabe has a saying, which is, ‘We will do what we need to do’… We don’t particularly want to be a company that makes hardware in large quantities. It’s not what we do.
So it’s not a certain thing yet, but if such an idea does see the light of day, then the below description given by NY Times reporter Nick Wingfield gives a little taste of what may await us in the future:
Every way I look, the scene shifts, the battle unfolds. I have a crazy contraption strapped to my head: a boxy set of goggles that looks like a 22nd-century version of a View-Master. It immerses me in a virtual world. I whirl one way and see zombies preparing to snack on my flesh. I turn another and wonder what fresh hell awaits.