The day has finally come and Valve has released concrete details on their hotly anticipated virtual reality headset. It’s been three years since the HTC Vive hit the market and we have confirmation that the company’s first completely in-house HMD will open for pre-orders tomorrow, May 1st will begin shipping on July 1st.
The Index will feature upgrades across the board to deliver what Valve calls “high fidelity virtual reality.” The headset will now sport an upgraded 1440x1600 resolution per eye, making use of RGB LCD panels for increased sharpness and a dramatically reduced screen door effect. It will also include a 20-degree greater field of view. It will also run at 120Hz with backwards compatibility for 90Hz games. A 144Hz experimental option will also be available for those with the horsepower to run it
The lenses are also receiving an upgrade. The Index will include a hardware based IPD adjustment (the space between your pupils) as well as the ability to adjust the distance from the lens to your eye. The improved lenses are now dual element and canted for increased clarity, allowing users to move their eyes instead of their whole head when they want to look around a scene. In the past, this would often cause visuals to become distorted, so should make for a great upgrade.
Along with the Index, Valve is releasing improved “Knuckles” controllers and Base Stations 2.0, while still remaining compatible with the original hardware if you’d rather just buy the headset. The Knuckles controllers are especially interesting since they can accurately track finger movement along with broader motions. With these, you’ll be able to naturally grip objects rather than just pull a trigger. You’ll also be able to throw objects much more natural in VR, which should open the doors to more immersive gameplay.
Finally, Valve is release Base Stations 2.0. The new lighthouses will track more space, more accurately. Using laser tracking of your room 100 times a second, Base Stations 2.0 quadruple the trackable space thanks to improved range and field of view. You can also use up to four base stations for a total play space of 10x10 meters.
The Vive Index will be available in multiple packages. The headset alone will retail for $499 while the headset and controllers will run $749. The full kit, including everything revealed in this announcement, will be available for $999.