Valve Index is Steam’s new high-performance VR hardware kit, available from today. The new virtual reality hardware is designed and built by Valve, which they call the new “Best Experience in VR”.
It is fully compatible with the current VR game library on Steam, and more subtle in the (virtual) space, also has more flexible interactions. The complete kit will cost more but still $400 less than the HTC Vive Pro Starter Kit. In addition, its shiny front panel makes it look like the Ready Player One’s goggles.
Valve is selling each part of the Valve Index separately to support those who want to carry some Vive hardware. The entire headset, controller and base station will cost you $999 and users can save $76 by purchasing all the same parts separately.
Valve also offers the required specifications to support the Valve Index on PCs with at least 8GB of RAM, dual-core CPUs and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 / AMD RX480 or higher.
According to Valve, its dual-screen 1440 x 1600 RGB LCD panel significantly reduces the “screen gate” effect compared to OLED-based models, and it runs at 120 Hz (experimentally supports up to 144 Hz) with ultra-low durability. It clearly moves the picture.
It also has its own built-in speakers, but you shouldn’t call them headphones; they actually rest near ears for better comfort, so the audio feels it comes from the environment around. Also, it is still connected to a 5 meter Tether and 1 meter split PC connector.
The wireless controller looks like a similar evolutionary step with straps and precise sensors that can be used for open operations. The new base station allows most room size VR settings to work with only two (although they support up to four game areas for 10 x 10 meters) and is less subject to interference from other infrared devices.
The valve index will begin shipping in package and piecemeal form by June 28, 2019. Valves say that the first release can only provide a limited amount. So, if you are ready to sign up for the valve VR experience, you may want to receive your order as soon as possible.