April 5th, 2016, marks the day that Valve – the giant behind the world’s largest online gaming distribution service – has officially thrown their not-so-unusual hat into the ring of the fledgling VR market. The Steam VR compatible HTC Vive has launched commercially, and to give it a nice little marketing push Valve added a not so subtle ‘VR IS HERE!’ headline to the front page of steam, along with a cool web page showing off some of the compatible games, requirements for use, as well as explaining briefly how the whole VR thing works. With an active user base of around 125million, the guys over at HTC could have picked a worse company to partner with. Although steam is – unsurprisingly – offering occulus friendly titles, the Steam VR compatible games allow you to make full use of the Vive’s
handheld egg holders unique controller design, as well as the spatial awareness systems and front camera safety function.
The official launch video shows off some of the titles that are available at launch – believe it or not – and does a good job of highlighting the range of capabilities that comes with commercial VR. Like the Nintendo Wii on crack, by enabling players to physically perform the actions needed in the game, it allows titles that can’t stand up to other games graphically – or in any other way for that matter – look like they are worth picking up.
The trailer hints that Valve may be targeting a more family audience, although I’m not quite sure getting the family together to play VR games at Christmas time will be replacing monopoly anytime soon, or that it would be the most sensible setting to prance around the living room with a months wages strapped to your face. When the time comes that VR is compatible with the family computer, and is not only within the price range of those going through a mid-life crisis that day may come, but until then I would like to predict that the average user is most likely to be a sub 30 gamer looking for a more immersive way to kill zombies.
If you enjoyed this article, why not subscribe to our weekly review? you’ll receive a brief weekly email of the week’s VR best delivered directly to your inbox!