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Will the Vive forever change the way we interact with the world?

Last night Valve and HTC announced that they are partnering to build a VR headset. More info about what the two industry giants want to accomplish with their Virtual Reality device has since been released. With their VR device, Vive, Vale and HTC want to transform the way in which consumers interact with technology and the world around them. Video game developers can get their hands on the HTC Vive Developer Edition as early as this Spring, while the consumer edition will be available by the end of 2015.

Rethink Reality with Vive

I predicted earlier this year that VR will dominate 2015's E3 and Gamescom. Sony and Microsoft will continue to roll out updates to improve the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The logical next gaming frontier to breach is Virtual Reality. We will also see more games that will incorporate VR levels. The big question is; what will the Vive bring to the already full table of VR devices? The independent Oculus, Sony's Project Morpheus and Microsoft's Hololens all strive to be the leading VR device, so what's different with the Vive? According to HTC and Valve the rest of industry has, until now, "struggled to move beyond concept stage." 

"Vive combines Valve's Steam VR tracking and input technologies with HTC's world-renowned design and engineering talent, setting a new gold standard for an industry that has, until now, struggled to move beyond concept stage."

Cher Wang, Chairwoman of HTC commented, "It's rare that a company has an opportunity to forever transform the ways in which people interact with the world and communicate with each other, but that is exactly what we plan to do with Valve."

"We achieved this once before with our development of smartphone technology," Peter Chou, CEO of HTC added, "And, through our partnership with Valve, we'll now be doing this for a second time with VR technology of which consumers could only previously dream."

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Press release:

Vive - Mesmerizing quality, fully immersive experience

Vive offers the most immersive experience of any VR package, plunging people into other worlds at a moment's notice. HTC and Valve have introduced a Full Room Scale 360 Degree Solution with Tracked Controllers, letting you get up, walk around and explore your virtual space, inspect objects from every angle and truly interact with your surroundings. Setting a new benchmark for performance, the headset features high-quality graphics, 90-frames-per-second video and incredible audio fidelity.

Imagine standing on the bridge of a starship rocketing across the galaxy, or strolling through the streets of ancient Rome, or shrinking down to subatomic size and watching molecules collide. Now Re-imagine.

HTC’s Vive headset, powered by SteamVR, pulls those virtual worlds off your computer screen and into your home. You’ll experience sights and sounds vivid and lifelike enough to transport you to another place, another time—whole new realities with limitless possibilities.

TTC is also introducing new wireless VR controllers that will make you feel one with your virtual environment. The new HTC VR Controllers come in a pair and are designed to be so versatile that they will work with a wide range of VR experiences. Unlike typical game controllers, the HTC VR Controllers are simple and intuitive to use, helping everyone make the most of their experience.

Gaming and beyond

Beta versions of the Vive Developer Edition have already generated rich entertainment content from some of the world's top game developers including Vertigo Games, Bossa, Barry–Fireproof, Dovetail Games, Wemo Labs, Google, Steel Wool Games and Owlchemy.

"Our collaboration with HTC is driven by the companies' shared desire to produce the most compelling and complete VR experience," said Ken Birdwell of Valve. "Delivering content creators with the Vive Developer Edition is an incredibly important milestone in our efforts to achieve that goal."

While amazing gaming experiences are a staple in the VR universe, the potential beyond gaming is limitless. HTC and Valve are committed to realizing a broader vision for VR and see a real opportunity in transforming everyday experiences. Travel, attending a game, meeting friends or even shopping will never be the same again, and the companies are working with leading content creators, including Google, HBO, Lionsgate and the National Palace Museum in Taiwan in order to make that vision a reality.

"Vive creates an exciting opportunity for all developers and content creators, to help us bring virtual reality into the mainstream with an end-to-end solution that completely redefines how we entertain ourselves, communicate with each other, learn and, eventually, how we become more productive," Cher Wang concluded. "HTC Vive is real, it's here and it'll be ready to go before the start of 2016."

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In Valve we trust

Virtual Reality is an exciting prospect, and I understand how fascinating the concept is, but I don't think gamers are ready for it. Before developers can sell it to gamers, they need to convince us that gaming will be a better experience with a massive device strapped to our heads. We have yet to see a video game that demands VR to play better than what we already have. Will use of a VR device also require customers to change their whole gaming setup? The implications of VR are far reaching, and while we, the gamers, might not be ready for it, there can be no doubt that it's the direction the industry is forcing us to go.

What's your take on VR? Is it something you want, or do you think developers are pushing the wrong frontier?

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Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not MWEB Connect (Pty) Ltd

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