Wednesday February 22, 2017

Valve Removes $3,000 SteamVR Tracking Course Fee

Valve has decided to remove the mandatory $3,000 SteamVR Tracking course fee and will release the training session materials online for free. The in-person training sessions will still exist for those that wish to attend. This hurdle was seen as a quality control check initially, but it also barred creatives and engineers from tinkering with the SteamVR Tracking hardware. SteamVR base stations with laser tracking will be released for purchase this year. This will allow developers to experiment using devices such as the Vive Tracker and raw input from sensors. The official SteamVR Tracking blog with information on what you need to start inventing is found here.

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The tech itself opens up a plethora of opportunities for enhancing the immersion of VR. SteamVR Tracking is a system that works with low-weight sensors that can be placed on various objects so they can be brought into virtual spaces. For example, players could be handed realistic props for baseball, ping pong, or even shooters and they’d be tracked accurately in whatever experiences were built around them.

At the beginning of the year, we addressed the idea of SteamVR Tracking potentially being 2017’s most important VR technology, and it is very encouraging to see it made available in such a way. As it makes its way into the hands of more creatives and engineers, we’ll hopefully be able to find out if a more immersive hardware and accessory ecosystem will bring VR into more homes.