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PC gaming hegemony Valve are offering their Vive VR headset, a direct competitor to the existing Oculus Rift, to several developers free of charge.

In what is presumably a canny effort to popularize their new hardware and secure content within the very small market already controlled, de facto, by the Rift, Valve will provide a limited number of studios with free developer kits sometime this spring. This situation is not understood to be permanent, and it is likely that future developers will still need to license their devkits.

This runs counter to the Oculus strategy, which saw developers and overeager consumers spend thousands of dollars for the earliest Rifts. Though some of these units made their way to Youtube personalities and may have popularized the company, Valve will be keeping a tighter grip on their units and plan to individually approve developers, who intend to make a game with it and request one. Of course, Valve has the financial largesse to eat the associated costs when gifting kits to qualified devs, something that the crowdfunded Rift could never have managed. Will that extra level of capability push the Vive into the position of leading VR gear?

Early reports about the Vive have already portrayed it as a higher-end, higher-price refinement on the VR headset model that Rift introduced years ago. The Vive is the most recent addition to Valve family, which has recently seen Steam grow to include the SteamOS and Steam Controller. Although the Vive is the only product not to reference gaseous water, it is still poised to be the most impactful yet, excepting Steam itself, and could mark a major turn in both the VR industry and Valve’s place in the technology market.

What’re your thoughts? Would you rather use Vive than Rift? Going to ask for a Devkit? Tell us below.

Gene Marsh

Gene is a student of biology and philosophy, who enjoys PC games, technical advancements, applied science, and the internet. Pester & harass him @GeneMildest

  • DukeMagus

    Make the software related to it open source and it’ll be able to compate with oculus rift

  • Caio Pontes

    Any competition is good, as long as it’s not cannibalistic. In this case, where the consumer is not involved, this is ok. The rift should be offering their dev kit for free anyways. They will monetize the product, and the product will sell based on available software.

  • Psichaos

    I’m glad there’s competition in the VR headset scene. Facebook purchasing the Oculus Rift was a huge bummer, and I have suspicions Facebook would load it with all sorts of nastiness. At least now there’s an incentive to actually release a quality product.