Valve as a company have becoming synonymous with PC gaming. Whilst it isn’t very clear whether or not they’re working on games, the Washington-based company have been working hard on VR software and hardware. So much so that a good third of the company is allegedly working on various VR projects.
Alan Yates, a hardware engineer at Valve, took to reddit to explain a bit about how OSVR (Open Source Virtual Reality) works, and in it explained just how committed the company is to VR. “I was super fortunate to start at Valve right around the time Michael Abrash had begun the AR/VR research team. It was a much smaller team then than it is now, it has since grown to encompass about a third of the company, but the key individuals that solved most of the really hard technological problems and facilitated this generation of consumer headsets are still here working on the next generation.”
Kotaku worked out in a recent article that since there are around 350 people employed at Valve, that would mean around 100 plus are currently working on some aspect of VR. In a further post, Yates explains why such a large number of employees have been moved to working in this department. “The team is very multidisciplinary, you never really do stuff that is officially in your wheelhouse, and that is fricking awesome!”
Whilst Oculus is still a name attached to the resurgence of VR in recent years, Valve is working hard to be big players in the market. It has been made clear by Gabe Newell himself that the company are helping fund various VR projects with “no strings attached,” which is in contrast with the recent exclusivity controversy that has hit Oculus. This new alongside Microsoft’s design to open up their VR and AR platform to third parties could lead to a potential explosion of VR software and hardware the next few years.