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Gabe Newell: Valve Has Cracked VR's Motion Sickness Problem

“Zero percent of people get motion sick” when they use SteamVR tech.

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Virtual reality's teething problems of users experiencing motion sickness and eyestrain could soon be eliminated with new motion sensing technology, according to Valve's managing director Gabe Newell.

While the rising interest of Oculus Rift, and mobile-centric variants such as Gear VR, has triggered a craze of investment in virtual reality, some consumers believe the technology is uncomfortable on the eyes.

John Carmack, the chief technology officer at Oculus Rift, said during a keynote at the Games Developers Conference on Wednesday that motion sickness was one of his biggest fears with the technology.

“People like the demo, they take it home, and they start throwing up,” he told a gathering of developers.

“The fear is if a really bad VR product comes out, it could send the industry back to the ’90s,” he said.

“The fear is if a really bad VR product comes out, it could send the industry back to the ’90s”

John Carmack, Oculus VR

Meanwhile, in an interview with the New York Times, Newell described some VR technologies as the “world’s best motion sickness inducers."

However, the widely respected games entrepreneur claims that a key new technology developed at Valve could effectively eliminate problems with motion sickness.

A newly announced motion tracking technology, which Valve says it will distribute freely to hardware partners, is said to use lasers which can read the position of a VR helmet and reproduce a person’s real-world movements with exceptional accuracy. The tech, called Lighthouse, is believed to be crucial in eliminating motion sickness.

He claimed that “zero percent of people get motion sick” when they try Valve's system.

On Sunday, the smartphone and electronics group HTC revealed Vive, an all-new virtual reality device built in collaboration with Valve.

The device has a 1,200 by 1,800 pixel screen in front of each eye with refresh rates of 90 frames per second. HTC claims it eliminates the jitter common in other VR headsets.

Meanwhile, Valve has made a series of announcements during GDC, including Source Engine 2 and its PC-to-living-room streaming tech, known as Steam Link.

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