Valve won’t tell you what other projects they are working on, but in some not-so-surprising news, Gabe Newell has revealed that Valve is currently developing three “full” Virtual Reality games.
The information was revealed to Eurogamer in a media roundtable at Valve’s offices in Bellevue. While Newell didn’t go into detail on what the games would be like, if they featured new or old IPs, or anything about what to expect, he did offer this clarification when asked if the three VR games would be similar to the HTC Vive’s The Lab:
When I say we’re building three games, we’re building three full games, not experiments.
The Lab was a fun experiment for sure, with some interesting things to do, but it’s not something most would consider a “full” game. What that means exactly still wasn’t described, but Newell is definitely saying that they will be more substantive than what The Lab offered. The only real info revealed was that the games will utilize the Source 2 and Unity engines.
The rest of the roundtable was about Valve’s intentions in regards to VR. As to why Valve has been working on the hardware side of things, Newell had this to say:
What we can do now is we can be designing hardware at the same time that we’re designing software.
This is something that Miyamoto [at Nintendo] has always had. He’s had the ability to think about what the input device is and design a system while he designs games. Our sense is that this will actually allow us to build much better entertainment experiences for people.
Newell sees VR has a whole new experience away from any other in gaming and an opportunity to expand what games can be. Building hardware along with software allows for better games in the end so the two mesh well together.
And building better games is the best thing to move Virtual Reality forward, Newell believes, as VR needs to offer something that doesn’t exist anywhere else:
VR is not going to be a success at all if people are just taking existing content and putting it into a VR space. One of the first things we did is we got Half-Life 2 and Team Fortress running in VR, and it was kind of a novelty. That was purely a developer milestone, but there was absolutely nothing compelling about it …”
As Eurogamer notes in their article, to do this means it won’t be cheap. From the roundtable, Newell gave the impression that he was not interested in making VR accessible necessarily, or cheap, but to see what it can do. That means being on the forefront of the technology, which makes it very expensive for both Valve and the eventual consumer that can afford what’s coming out.
The roundtable ended with Newell’s prediction that Virtual Reality is going to expand greatly over the next couple of years, particularly in the display technology. He said that the VR industry is jumping ahead of all other industries right now in their display technology. He would guess that sometime in 2018 or 2019 we could see some VR kits that have much higher resolutions and refresh rates than anything else out there at the moment, including on desktops. But, he does admit he’s been wrong on things in the past, so who knows.
What do you think Valve should be doing with their three Virtual Reality games? What do you think of their commitment to VR? Do you think we will ever see the third game after the first two get released? Will Gabe recognize that he even said three in the first place?