Valve Now Offering VR Tech for Free to Third Parties

Valve calls this "an extremely important step in the evolution of virtual reality and 3D tracking."

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Valve today announced plans to offer certain virtual-reality technology it's developed to outside companies--for free.

Specifically, it will license Steam VR Tracking, royalty-free, to third-party hardware companies. According to Valve, this tech "enables hardware developers to build highly precise position and orientation sensing into devices of all kinds." It also said it's identical to what's being used in the HTC Vive (which Valve collaborated with HTC on) and could be "used in a variety of devices, such as VR peripherals and other input devices."

In addition to the tech itself, Valve will offer in-person training, but only for the "first wave" of those who license it. Those who come later will be able to take advantage of online training materials. More information is available on Valve's website.

"It's critical to the future of the Virtual Reality Ecosystem to open up the tracking technology to support the growth of a healthy portfolio of products that work together with HTC Vive," said HTC's Raymond Pao in a press release. "This is an amazing way to complement the HTC Vive and spur further innovation in VR. We will also offer training in the Asia region in the coming months to support the adoption and licensing of Steam VR Tracking. We're thrilled to see the world of tracked devices expanding and growing."

Valve's Alan Yates added, "Making this tracking technology available to more partners is an extremely important step in the evolution of virtual reality and 3D tracking. We are very confident that doing so will result in new and innovative experiences for all VR customers."

Image source: Valve
Image source: Valve

While this move won't have any immediate direct impact on gamers, it may potentially improve the quality of VR software. At the very least, it could free up developers to spend more time on other aspects of development.

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