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Valve shows off their new $1000 Index VR headset


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Valve has finally shown off their new VR HMD, Index. Road to VR has a hands on and all the specs.


Where Oculus has decided to reduce friction and price, releasing the new Rift S at $400 with inside out tracking, Valve is pushing in the other direction. The Index is focused on improving the quality of the experience. They're upping the LCD screens to a Vive Pro matching 1440x1600 per eye resolution and with a maximum "experimental" refresh rate of 144Hz. They've also put a lot of effort into the optics, with a two element system that Valve says gives an improved field of view and a larger sweet spot. Where Oculus removed all internal adjustment mechanisms, Valve made it much more complicated, but hopefully it's a worthwhile tradeoff in terms of clarity.


The audio solution looks like headphones, but they don't actually touch your ears, instead putting powerful little speakers that over just past your years. R2VR seems to think it's by far the best sounding audio solution in a VR headset so far.


The Index uses the long gestating "Knuckles" controllers and their established outside in tracking solution. The headset itself is $500, but the whole kit will cost $1000. Pre-orders start tomorrow.


It's interesting to see Valve pushing so far in the other direction, favoring quality of experience over convenience, but I'm not sure it's going to work out for them. R2VR's initial impressions aren't gushing, and I think it's a hard sell to a niche audience. Oculus said they didn't put out a full Rift 2 this year because they felt the tech hadn't sufficiently advanced to feel like a real generational upgrade. The Index might be the proof of that. While it's almost certainly going to be the best VR hardware available, I think it's going to have a rough go of it.


The Facebook F8 keynote is happening right now, and it's likely that the Rift S and the much more exciting Oculus Quest go on sale today.



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21 minutes ago, ManUtdRedDevils said:

With the success of the $200-250 PSVR headset, I’m surprised with Valve’s pricing. I would think the $1000 market has shrunk considerably. Valve will need HL3 to sell at that price


I get the feeling that Valve built this because it's what they wanted, and not what would actually sell well.


1 hour ago, elbobo said:

no foveated rendering or eye tracking either, big thing seems to be the knuckle controllers which do seem like a major leap over the Vive controller and can be bought by themselves for the low low price of $280

I'm bummed about that as well. I haven't personally tried an HMD with those features, but it certainly seems like the kind of thing that would justify a $1000 price tag and be a generational leap. Unfortunately it would probably make the headset by itself cost $1000.

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3 hours ago, finaljedi said:

I love inside out tracking.  I have a vive and an acer wmr headset and I use the wmr headset a lot more because it’s just less of a hassle.


All things considered, how do you like the Acer headset? I saw that they dropped under $300 and that's the point where it gets really close to impulse buy for me.

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I like it, I've had the tracking get a little funky once or twice in that is will register turning but not moving side to side, all it takes is closing the WMR software and reopening it.  It's also a bit weird that you have to open SteamVR after the WMR house is open, but it works fine.  The controllers take AAs and the screens are pretty good, if you have really wide set eyes it might suck, it doesn't have a physical IPD adjustment, there is one in software.  You have to keep the controllers in front of you most of the time since the cameras have to see them to track, it does know well enough not to lose it immediately if you swing out of sight and then back in.  I mostly use it to play beat saber, star trek bridge crew, and I've used it for elite dangerous a couple times.


I scooped it up when it hit $200 back in November.


forgot to quote @Ghost_MH

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