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LG Partners With Valve On VR Headset Prototype

By Victor Thomson , Feb 28, 2017 03:11 AM EST
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LG will reveal this week a VR headset based on Valve's SteamVR tracking. (Photo : Wochit Tech / YouTube)

LG is working with video game developer Valve to design a virtual reality device based on SteamVR tracking technology. This partnership places LG in direct competition with HTC that created the HTC Vive in collaboration with Valve.

LG Teamed Up With Valve To Create VR Headset

According to Engadget, this is not the first time when LG is trying to join the VR trend. The South Korean tech company released last year the 360 VR headset for the G5 smartphone. However, its VR gadget did not enjoy much success on the market.

LG's first foray into VR, the mobile-focused "360 VR" headset, was not well received by tech analysts and the consumers alike. While compact, the device was giving off the feeling of a premature step into the VR world. However, more than a year later, LG is focused this time on desktop VR. The alignment with the South Korean tech company will hopefully mean that this time a more mature product is in the works.

Not many details are known about this new prototype. LG is simply calling the gadget a "high fidelity, next generation VR experience." However, it is expected that the headset will use Valve's royalty-free SteamVR 3D tracking system. In fact, according to Road To VR, Valve has already confirmed that LG will utilize SteamVR Tracking and the OpenVR platform in its new VR headset.

Valve Offers Open Access To SteamVR Tracking

Open access to SteamVR tracking started to be offered by Valve last year. Besides HTC, LG will be the first company besides to utilize it. When Valve started to build their OpenVR platform, the company hoped that its design will open the door for hardware makers other than HTC to tap into the system and develop their own products that can work with all the same software.

As the company has confirmed that LG, one of the major computer electronics manufacturers, is developing a new VR headset built upon its platform, Valve's vision appears to be paying off. That includes using Valve's royalty-free and increasingly open VR tracking technology called SteamVR Tracking.

It is expected that LG will show off its new headset at this year's GDC in San Francisco, in Valve's booth. The company will meet with developers to collect impressions and feedback. Information on the prototype's launch dates, pricing, and markets are expected to come at a later date.

Even if the details on the LG VR headset are still slim, we will certainly know more when a prototype will be shown off at GDC 2017 this week. Tech analysts do not expect this LG head-mounted VR gadget to be the last SteamVR device. Valve dropped last week requirements to attend a $3,000 class for its platform. Around 500 companies have signed up to work with its Lighthouse tracking technology to develop controllers and new headsets.

Aside from SteamVR, there are also other companies licensing VR technology. For instance, Microsoft is also working with companies like Asus and Dell to develop its own VR headsets. According to tech experts, Microsoft's virtual reality devices will run on its Windows Holographic OS and use inside-out tracking.

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