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Valve Reveals Gaming Headset, Teases Big Picture

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the this-one-goes-on-your-head dept.

Businesses 151

dotarray writes with a bit from Player Attack: "Gaming is big business, says Valve, as the developer takes the time to show off its brand new gaming headset and TV-based Big Picture. Rather than inviting the games media masses who have been clamouring for any details on the Seattle company's 'wearable computing' initiative, Gabe Newell and his team instead went right to the top, with an in-depth interview published in The New York Times." The New York Times article on which this report is based is worth reading, too: Valve's corporate non-structure sounds hard to believe. It seems Valve is also looking for hardware designers.

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151 comments

WHy (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41284109)

Why do niggers just love to wear sports jerseys? So they can pretend to have a job skill!

Re:WHy (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41284253)

In that case, shouldn't they were a suit and tie? And not just when they're on trial!

Why (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41284149)

Why did the nigger cross the road? To get away from the cabbage patch kid that's trying to tickle his ass!

Re:Why (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41284279)

Ok, why did the cabbage patch kid tickle the nigger's ass?

Re:Why (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41284541)

The cabbage patch kid only TRIED to tickle his ass. Them niggers run fast!

Re:Why (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41284715)

Ok, why did the cabbage patch kid try to tickle the nigger's ass?

Re:Why (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41284771)

So do we have to guess whether it's EA or activision hiring people to poison this debate?

Re:Why (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41286007)

I guess 4chan must be down or something..eh..

Do I have to sign anything to use it? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41284163)

I figure with Valve and their ridiculous anti-consumer mandatory binding arbitration agreement I might have to give my first born to even read about this invention, yes?

Re:Do I have to sign anything to use it? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41284213)

I figure with Valve and their ridiculous anti-consumer mandatory binding arbitration agreement I might have to give my first born to even read about this invention, yes?

It is even worse then that my friend. You will have to love niggers to read about it.

The price is too high. The price is too high! Let the niggers be themselves and by that I mean destroy some other civilization.

Re:Do I have to sign anything to use it? (3, Insightful)

firex726 (1188453) | about a year and a half ago | (#41284215)

Just FYI that clause is in pretty much every contract you have ever signed.

Lease on Apt? Loan? Mortgage? Amazon, EA, Ebay, Newegg, etc...

Re:Do I have to sign anything to use it? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41284265)

Bullshit! None of those have that clause.

It's an extreme waiver that companies are only now starting to realize they can get past idiots like you.

I got 99 problems but citing aint one. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41284705)

Amazon [amazon.com]

Any dispute or claim relating in any way to your use of any Amazon Service, or to any products or services sold or distributed by Amazon or through Amazon.com will be resolved by binding arbitration, rather than in court

EA [ea.com]

YOU UNDERSTAND THAT BY THIS PROVISION, YOU AND EA ARE FOREGOING THE RIGHT TO SUE IN COURT AND HAVE A JURY TRIAL.

Ebay [ebay.com]

...Agreement to Arbitrate, which will, with limited exception, require you to submit claims you have against us to binding and final arbitration, unless you opt-out of the Agreement to Arbitrate (see Legal Disputes, Section B ("Agreement to Arbitrate")). Unless you opt-out: (1) you will only be permitted to pursue claims against eBay on an individual basis....

Newegg preferred account. [mypreferredaccount.com]

THIS AGREEMENT REQUIRES THE USE OF ARBITRATION ON AN INDIVIDUAL BASIS TO RESOLVE DISPUTES

On top of all this I have found generic arbitration clauses [arbserve.com] and a plethora of companies [lmgtfy.com] that are too numerous to count.

Re:I got 99 problems but citing aint one. (1)

ruadatha (1161071) | about a year and a half ago | (#41284891)

None of which is worth the paper it's not even printed on or signed if it runs afoul of local law. You can cite as many as you wish, that doesn't make them magically waver legal rights, *even if you agree to them*

Re:I got 99 problems but citing aint one. (4, Informative)

Nemyst (1383049) | about a year and a half ago | (#41285139)

Which is exactly the same case for Steam as it is for these other services. That's not the argument being made here. The argument was that Steam was somehow so much worse and more evil than everybody else.

Re:I got 99 problems but citing aint one. (5, Funny)

Zuriel (1760072) | about a year and a half ago | (#41285317)

EA [ea.com]

YOU UNDERSTAND THAT BY THIS PROVISION, YOU AND EA ARE FOREGOING THE RIGHT TO SUE IN COURT AND HAVE A JURY TRIAL.

Newegg preferred account. [mypreferredaccount.com]

THIS AGREEMENT REQUIRES THE USE OF ARBITRATION ON AN INDIVIDUAL BASIS TO RESOLVE DISPUTES

You know it's legal because they use capitals.

Re:I got 99 problems but citing aint one. (2, Informative)

PTBarnum (233319) | about a year and a half ago | (#41285371)

Actually, yes, the capitals do make it more likely to be legally binding. IANAL, but I was recently reviewing my employment contract with a lawyer, and she explained that it is important to draw attention to arbitration clauses, and caps are one way to do that.

Re:I got 99 problems but citing aint one. (4, Informative)

ericloewe (2129490) | about a year and a half ago | (#41286009)

Writing some illegal clause in caps does not magically make it legal.

Re:I got 99 problems but citing aint one. (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | about a year and a half ago | (#41286033)

Actually, yes, the capitals do make it more likely to be legally binding. IANAL, but I was recently reviewing my employment contract with a lawyer, and she explained that it is important to draw attention to arbitration clauses, and caps are one way to do that.

You need a new attorney if she told you that it makes it more likely to be legally binding. Caps are just used for emphasis and have absolutely zero bearing on the legality of a clause.

Re:I got 99 problems but citing aint one. (0)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about a year and a half ago | (#41286291)

From the EA link above, same section:

This provision applies to all consumers to the fullest extent allowable by law, but expressly excludes residents of Quebec, Russia, Switzerland, the Member States of the European Union, and the Republic of Korea.

Hmmm... South Korea has better consumer protections than the US. umadbro?

It seems Valve is also looking for hardware design (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41284241)

>It seems Valve is also looking for hardware designers.

WE KNOW ALREADY

lol big picture... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41284257)

The only big picture here is Valve having nothing but dollar signs in their eyes, like every other DEV these days.

Serve my games, that is all you need do....and you will PROFIT by it, assuming you are smart enough to not bite off more than you can chew.....

ya know (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about a year and a half ago | (#41284277)

I find it quite amusing that after nearly 3 decades of seeing VR headsets, they still manage to look retarded to this day.

"all you have to do is wear this 30 pound chunk of shit on your face, and you too can look like a moron ... least for the 20 seconds your eyes can actually stand it before your brain tears from the strain"

Re:ya know (2)

deweyhewson (1323623) | about a year and a half ago | (#41284303)

Proof of concepts always focus on capability, not aesthetics.

Re:ya know (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about a year and a half ago | (#41284311)

thanks, so how many decades does it take to prove that face mounted helmets are stupid?

Re:ya know (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41284355)

thanks, so how many decades does it take to prove that face mounted helmets are stupid?

I'm certain the world will be lining up to try your arm-mounted helmets any day now.

Re:ya know (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41284525)

When strategically placed lasers can replicate the effect of having a screen and motion sensor attached to your head. VR is not a well made industry, so aiming at the lowest fruit is the best to get it started.

I think they would do a better job aesthetically if they made a full face mask instead of just the top half. Could even put in little fans to simulate air flow.

Re:ya know (1)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | about a year and a half ago | (#41284865)

thanks, so how many decades does it take to prove that face mounted helmets are genius

Apparently, approximately 3 decades. But time will tell. It ain't over yet.

Re:ya know (2)

Osgeld (1900440) | about a year and a half ago | (#41284879)

apparently you have never worn one of these things, they are heavy, and hurt your eyes, face, nose, and the back of your head, genius? if they are so grand why have they never become popular?

Re:ya know (1)

kramulous (977841) | about a year and a half ago | (#41285757)

Because we've had to wait for miniaturisation to catch up to the idea. Just cause something fails once does not mean it will fail always.

Re:ya know (2)

Compaqt (1758360) | about a year and a half ago | (#41284319)

I don't even see how that (wired) monster is even relevant after Google Glasses.

Re:ya know (3, Insightful)

collet (2632725) | about a year and a half ago | (#41284957)

There's a significant difference between augmented reality (Project Glass) and virtual reality. Augmented reality has a lot more practical uses - You know, in the REAL world - while virtual reality seeks to create an entirely new world from scratch. Sure, some things are relevant to both kinds of headset, but ultimately, augmented reality is to help you with your shopping - while virtual reality will let you slaughter you friends.

There was an hour long video at QuakeCon which is very interesting to listen to, they briefly explain the difference.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8gaqQdyfAz8 [youtube.com]

Re:ya know (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41284989)

for me is really awesome, maybe they wanted to tune their algorithms and make their games right now, and dont wait for the mighty google to launch a product next year.

Re:ya know (2)

_Shorty-dammit (555739) | about a year and a half ago | (#41284345)

And why do you care what you look like at that particular time? Same complaints about wearing 3D glasses at a 3D movie are just as senseless. Who cares what you look like? People are watching the movie, not you, weirdo.

Re:ya know (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about a year and a half ago | (#41284391)

Re stand it before your brain tears from the strain
"with the puking and the stomach acid and the chunks and
the 'hey hey hey it stings me".
Recall the early efforts in the mid 1990's with the 2 video camera eye pieces? Wonder why they never got more traction ..... ?

Re:ya know (2)

LingNoi (1066278) | about a year and a half ago | (#41285049)

The state of the art at the moment seems to be this device [oculusvr.com] if you're interested on the subject.

Re:ya know (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year and a half ago | (#41285793)

The state of the art at the moment seems to be this device [oculusvr.com] if you're interested on the subject.

Yes, but there are other models that don't make you look like a retard. [vuzix.com] They even work with your smart phone. I use the 920AR [vuzix.com] (Altered Reality) version, it has two dorky looking cameras on the front and the screens aren't as large, but it's lightweight and looks nicer than huge honking device.

Considering that I've been using something like "Google Glasses" for years, I figured they'd have their crap together and on the market by now...

Re:ya know (1)

olau (314197) | about a year and a half ago | (#41285995)

You should watch John Carmack's QuakeCon 2012 keynote. He talks about this at some length (especially the they're all crap perspective). Part of the problem seems to be that the main needed components haven't really been available from a mass market before now. That's changed with smart phones.

Re:ya know (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41285455)

i-m quite sure you look like a moron with or without a helmet.

No managers (2)

Compaqt (1758360) | about a year and a half ago | (#41284341)

While it seems tempting to saying "Just work on what you think you should work on", it also seems risky.

The What Ifs. What if you hire somebody and tell him to work on whatever, and he just posts stuff like this to /. all day. Who would he be accountable to?

Or would the management structure suddenly come into being at that time?

Re:No managers (1)

Microlith (54737) | about a year and a half ago | (#41284359)

Well, if all they do is fuck around all day then it would probably be discovered fairly quickly in a company as small as 300 people.

Re:No managers (-1, Flamebait)

ArsonSmith (13997) | about a year and a half ago | (#41284441)

Valve's structure seems like it's modeled after the 20th Century Motor Company from Atlas Shrugged. Everyone evaluated everyone else and decided who was productive and who wasn't It eventually imploded on itself as there was less and less incentive to actually work and more and more to just please your friends and groups to make sure you maintained a paycheck.

I wish them luck, but just like every other socialist plan it works great for a shot while, perhaps even a few decades, but it always falls to ruin faster than a free market based on incentive to do great.

Re:No managers (2, Interesting)

rasmusbr (2186518) | about a year and a half ago | (#41284597)

It would take about 80 years to run a company with $2.5 billion in the bank to the ground with 300 employees, even if they never ever sold a single product from now on until 2092...

Perhaps you should read less Ayn Rand and concern yourself more with reality.

Re:No managers (3, Insightful)

Guppy (12314) | about a year and a half ago | (#41284885)

It would take about 80 years to run a company with $2.5 billion in the bank to the ground with 300 employees, even if they never ever sold a single product from now on until 2092...

That assumes the company management decides not to light huge piles of money on fire.*

* And by "light on fire", I mean "make pointless and expensive acquisitions".

Re:No managers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41284923)

Valve oly ever buys out small indie developers who fit in well with their company culture. They're perhaps the only company I've seen that doesn't make stupid acquisitions.

Re:No managers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41285031)

Maybe you should put down rules for radicals and google solyndra :)

Re:No managers (2)

humanrev (2606607) | about a year and a half ago | (#41285125)

Would you stop that, please? I don't use Steam because I've been conditioned by Slashdot to disregard all forms of DRM (and no-one can deny that Steam is one of them). If Valve dies, Steam dies, and the resultant consequences of it for your 100+ game library.

But when I read comments like yours, I get frustrated, because it's means I get conflicted. I don't want DRM, but how much pressure can one person have before they go "fuck it", and relent?

Re:No managers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41285235)

You should consider reconsidering about Steam and DRM.

This weekend I wanted to re-install a game I purchased probably a decade ago. One of my CDs was scratched so I went to a Well Known Piracy Site and downloaded an image then installed using my very valid CD Key. I tried to start it and was informed that because of the games DRM no recognizing my image as the right CD that I couldn't play. So I had to go to Another Well Known Piracy Site to get a hacked .exe at great risk to my system in order to play it.

If I bought it on Steam it would have cost me an extra $10 over what I had already paid, much less on sale, I've seen it for $1.75. If they shut down and Steam stops working I'm in no worse a boat than I am buying it straight from the source and wrecking a disk. Not to mention that I had to manually find, download, and install all the patches since Steam wasn't handling it for me.

Re:No managers (1)

humanrev (2606607) | about a year and a half ago | (#41285351)

OK, fair enough. However I grew up with pirated content so obtaining an ISO, grabbing the latest patch and version-matched crack from GameCopyWorld is trivial for me since I've done it since God-knows how long. You don't forget skills like that and the benefits of Steam don't always outweight the advantages of doing it yourself.

I bought a copy of TimeShift a while back (a good, not great FPS). I also have a downloaded ISO of it - no-one's gonna scratch an ISO so there's no threat there. It's patched to version 1.2 and cracked appropriately. I had a look on Steam - they've got TimeShift available, but after reading forum comments it seems they forgot to apply any patches to it; it's still at version 1.0 which misses out on a fair number of performance and bug fixes. You can't just easily patch Steam games using a patch not designed for them (you can, sorta, but it's more effort than the retail version since the patch might look for a regkey to show the game is installed, etc).

Now this isn't an issue for games which are specifically designed only for Steam distribution or which use Steamworks, and since we seem to be running out of big-title PC games that DON'T require some form of linking to an online account, whether that be Steam or Origin or Battle.net, this problem will be less likely to happen in the future. But I still like having total control over the stuff I buy. GOG is probably the closest digital vendor for games which matches my preferences for this. I just wish people viewed non-DRM content higher than they do, but that's just me.

Re:No managers (2)

Z34107 (925136) | about a year and a half ago | (#41285603)

You'll catch autism if you try to do everything /. tells you to. If you want to buy games on Steam ("how much pressure before one relents"), go buy them. They're cheap and the DRM is unobtrusive.

If nothing else, they're doing the Lord's work by regularly kicking the other publishers in the sack.

Re:No managers (1)

f3rret (1776822) | about a year and a half ago | (#41286035)

Fun fact, many of the games on steam don't actually have DRM, you just just launch them from the folder they get installed to, no need to sign in through steam. Of course all the big titles have DRM out the ass, but whatcha gonna do.

Re:No managers (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year and a half ago | (#41285245)

Perhaps you should read less Ayn Rand and concern yourself more with reality.

Perhaps this is what they're trying for - some twisted world in which Ayn Rand makes sense.

Re:No managers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41285353)

Are you really implying that the only expendatures of a company is the employee's salaries?

Re:No managers (1)

Compaqt (1758360) | about a year and a half ago | (#41286081)

True, but that's not what the article said.

The article said an analyst estimated somebody might pay $2.5 to buy the company, not that they have $2.5 bil in the bank.

Although Valveâ(TM)s finances are private, Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, estimates that the company could be worth around $2.5 billion today.

Re:No managers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41284699)

I wish them luck, but just like every other socialist plan it works great for a shot while, perhaps even a few decades, but it always falls to ruin faster than a free market based on incentive to do great.

The incentive propagated by competing on a market is the incentive to make more money. Valve does that in two ways: by making great games, and by running their own market and taking a cut. This has nothing to do with their structure. I suppose you could call it a socialist, but communist would probably be more appropriate: the ideal is more or less explicitly 'from each according to his ability, to each according to his need'. It's a novel structure for a major corporation. I don't think you can say it will necessarily fail faster than a hierarchical one, at least based on evidence from any history other than one imagined by Ayn Rand. They're doing pretty well so far.

Re:No managers (5, Insightful)

pnot (96038) | about a year and a half ago | (#41284743)

Valve's structure seems like it's modeled after the 20th Century Motor Company from Atlas Shrugged. Everyone evaluated everyone else and decided who was productive and who wasn't It eventually imploded on itself as there was less and less incentive to actually work and more and more to just please your friends and groups to make sure you maintained a paycheck.

I wish them luck, but just like every other socialist plan it works great for a shot while, perhaps even a few decades, but it always falls to ruin faster than a free market based on incentive to do great.

So what you're saying is: this real company, which is doing great in reality, is doomed because it happens to remind you of a fictional company, which failed in a fictional universe.

Re:No managers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41284835)

Let's also ignore the fact that many companies and economies have failed in history, infact the vast majority of them. The ones still standing are just the lucky ones that happen to remain still standing. Without exception they all put too many eggs in one basket and it bites them in the ass because nobody and nothing can predict the future infallibly (to do so would require modeling the entire universe). Ideology is insignificant, at times it may lead people to make decisions that happen to work, at times not. In this seething mass of chaos we call the world nothing is for certain other than the fact that nothing is for certain.

Re:No managers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41286289)

best comment of the thread/article

Re:No managers (1, Informative)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | about a year and a half ago | (#41284849)

I'm sure Gabe Newell appreciates that your dirt poor ideology-spouting ass is a member of a political party that exists for the sole purpose of making sure he gets richer and you stay poor. That must really warm the cockles of his billionaire heart.

This may come as a shock to you, but creative people with brains will work to create without any oversight whatsoever, for the joy of creation. I know, you're such a worthless shit that you have to have someone stand over you to make sure you don't fuck up the burger order, but there are people in the world who make things with no financial incentive at all. Collecting a paycheck for the privilege is just icing on the cake.

Re:No managers (2)

Compaqt (1758360) | about a year and a half ago | (#41286115)

I'll ignore the presentation of your argument, and just make a few points:

Regarding the joy of creation, yeah, after I've made something (either tangible or software), I like to look at it, and I enjoy the fact that it's perfect.

However, not every creation is also a product, ready to sell. Taking a general view (and not just of Valve specifically), there's all sorts of stuff you have to do, which you really wouldn't want to do for free. Tracking down weird bugs, creating install programs, testing on myriad different configurations (Vista, 7, XP?, Mac, etc.) with various hardware, etc. That's stuff's highly boring and soul-grinding. It has to be done, but I doubt anybody would choose to do it if they had a choice.

So I'm not speaking up for "the man", but rather asking for practical advice on how he can be avoided.

Re:No managers (1)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | about a year and a half ago | (#41286177)

I wasn't really answering you. I was answering the guy who has been modded flamebait; I took the bait.

As far as your specific question, the article makes it pretty clear that everybody is answerable to Gabe Newell. It's the ultimate in flatness. The bit about the Hollywood guy having his desk forcibly moved by Gabe himself was a pretty good hint how things really work.

Aside from that, what probably happens most of the time is Valve hires somebody with a particular specialty and they end up pursuing that particular specialty without a lot of formal direction. Hire a modeler guy, he's probably going to do a lot of modeling. Hire a programmer guy, he's probably going to do a lot of programming. Hire a tester guy, he's probably going to do a lot of testing. The fact that he finds out what needs testing next in an informal way, rather than an edict from his formal Report (with a capital R), is either a pleasantly laid back environment or maddeningly ambiguous and lacking in responsibility.

Which way that falls out is a function of the personalities hired and the existing personalities and environment. Done well, it could be very nice. Done badly, it's useless. I have had the misfortune of working in a small company (much smaller than Valve), which did it badly. No one was given any direction, but no one was given any authority, either. If Valve is doing it right, a new hire is given just one instruction (by Gabe, apparently, 'cause of the flatness): do what needs doing, do what you think best. That confers sufficient authority for a domain expert to exercise his expertise. After that, it's just a matter of hiring responsible adults, which isn't as hard as people think.

Re:No managers (4, Insightful)

ChinggisK (1133009) | about a year and a half ago | (#41284959)

What you're not accounting for is the fact that even though he chooses to run the company like there is no leader, in reality GabeN technically is still the owner and could change the management structure as he saw fit if things started going downhill. Considering his success I'm pretty confident that he'd be smart enough to realize that nobody was working anymore and that he needed a new plan.

Re:No managers (3, Insightful)

Yvanhoe (564877) | about a year and a half ago | (#41285583)

The trick is probably to hire people who have proven that they do more interesting things than that during their free time.

Re:No managers (5, Informative)

trout007 (975317) | about a year and a half ago | (#41286023)

I've worked at companies that were structures this way by accident. It was a government contract design and machine shop. The manager was just a laid back guy that got an order and let us figure it out.. The engineers liked designing and the machinists liked building things. We were very successful because we did what we liked.

The best part is that if you have an experienced group you can easily tell which projects are a waste of time and nobody worked on those. This allocated resources very efficiently.

Then one day the contract was up and new management came in and tried to actually manage the place. Everyone with a brain left after 6 months.

Re:No managers (1)

beefmusta (1616667) | about a year and a half ago | (#41286189)

What if you hire somebody and tell him to work on whatever, and he just posts stuff like this to /. all day. Who would he be accountable to?

That thought also crossed my mind while reading the valve employee manual [flamehaus.com] . The reason it wouldn't be a problem is that if you're good enough to get hired by Valve, the chances are quite high you'd also be responsible enough not to do that.

Meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41284375)

I know we're all supposed to get a hardon over everything Valve does, but meh to this. Go work on the next Half-Life installment, which is something people actually want to see.

Gaming Headset Seem Too Strenous (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41284383)

Given how much you look around in first person games having to move your head would end up very strenuous and would likely result in some sort of RSI. I'd much rather look at a monitor in front of me and move the mouse a few centimetres when I want to look around.

I also wonder how these headsets will work with movement/aim. With standard first person control where you're looking, the direction you're facing and the point you're aiming at are all the same. With a headset it would be ridiculous to set your movement direction/aim by turning your head, so the direction you're travelling/aiming will have to be separate from the direction you're looking. That will lead to a situation you often experience when controlling tanks in games where the turret ends up facing a different direction to where the tank is travelling, so you get confused and have to take a moment to re-align the turret with the tank direction. Having to do that in a fast paced FPS would become annoying, and it would be frustrating to die repeatedly because you were sorting yourself out while getting shot at.

I see these headsets as being like 3D films - a fun novelty that you'd only want to use occasionally.

Re:Gaming Headset Seem Too Strenous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41285391)

That will lead to a situation you often experience when controlling tanks in games where the turret ends up facing a different direction to where the tank is travelling, so you get confused and have to take a moment to re-align the turret with the tank direction.

That's a problem with a fixed screen -- not an issue with a head-tracking rig. You slave the turret to your head, and the tracks to your ass+keyboard. To aim in the direction of motion, point your head forward; to track a target as you drive by, you look over your shoulder and track it visually. The brain is well-adapted to keeping track of head-hips skew, because we do that when walking, riding, or driving.

Cool, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41284499)

I'm all for wearable computing and it's great to see Valve pushing it forward.

But... I kind of miss the days when Valve made games.

Re:Cool, but... (4, Interesting)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year and a half ago | (#41285893)

Portal 2 wasnt that long ago, and it was (IMHO) one of the most polished games every released in the history of PC gaming. That there was no management hierarchy directing the games development is a testament to exactly how wrong the factory mindset is in creative industries.

Yo! Dude! Like where is my iphone5? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41284555)

I wanna have it like now! So u lozerz no I am an APPLER fruit!

I want to believe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41284565)

I want to believe but I have heard for decades now about VR helmets and every time the product fails/disappears or they are not a viable option for most people.

Anonymous HW Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41284589)

Valve is one of the few companies that I would walk away from my current employer to join even if the money wasn't any better. Having my code shrinkwrapped into an OS which is rapidly becoming obsolete isn't really doing it for me anymore.

So it's the phantom (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | about a year and a half ago | (#41284717)

for real? Could work. Intel's integrated graphics are pushing out something on the order of a Nvidia GT240 if you get the 4000, which is more than acceptable. They've pretty much got to do something, since if Microsoft goes all walled garden on them and it sticks then they're basically done. I wish them luck. I like my Steam games.

5-10 year plan (1)

FlynnMP3 (33498) | about a year and a half ago | (#41284737)

In my opinion, this is the way businesses should be run. Gabe is looking at the 5 to 10 year goal of wearable computing will be powerful enough for virtual reality. I don't know if he is right, virtual reality has been virtually around the corner for nearly decades now. I hope it will be. It pretty much depends on if the processing power of the computer chip continues to follow Moore's Law. And even then, I don't know. Maybe not total virtual reality - more like augmented reality. In any case, we even could see Half Life 3 by then. Now *that* would be cool.

Re:5-10 year plan (2)

pellik (193063) | about a year and a half ago | (#41284827)

I remember early VR systems. One big problem they had was that virtual worlds were of such poor quality that having it all around your head really didn't provide any benefit. With this problem unsolved it never surprised me that VR technology hadn't progressed much in the last two decades.

Now we are starting to see virtual worlds reaching levels of detail that are almost passable as real. It makes a lot of sense to start looking at VR now, if you believe that real level of detail is achievable in 5-10 years, and you hope to innovate in the VR field in a similar time-frame.

I'm really impressed with Valve right now.

Re:5-10 year plan (3, Informative)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year and a half ago | (#41285957)

I'm really impressed with Valve right now.

While the Valve model is a part of it, you should be directing your praises specifically at Michael Abrash.

Abrash is a long-time graphics and optimization guru (author of Zen of Assembly Language, Zen of Graphics Programming, and two legendary Dr Dobbs series of articles, one titled Ramblings In Realtime and the other Graphics Programming Black Book) that Valve has been trying to hire for a very long time.

This is the guy who single-handedly made the Quake rendering engine, with its software-based perspective-correct texture mapping and lighting, a possibility at the time that it was released. Valve finally succeeded in landing him about a year ago, and he has been investigating the practicality of Virtual and Augmented Reality ever since.

He even writes about some of his findings in his blog, Ramblings in Valve Time [valvesoftware.com]

The headmounted display (4, Informative)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | about a year and a half ago | (#41284813)

The headmounted display (HMD) the NYT article leads off with wasn't created by Valve though. It was created by Palmer Luckey [mtbs3d.com] . Gabe helped him assemble a tiny little 8 person corporation to commercialize the design (and probably offered private financing to help make sure it gets off the ground in style, though that has never been publically reported). He may not need the financing though. The Oculus Rift Kickstarter [kickstarter.com] ended a little over a week ago and was phenomenally successful. They're calling it one of the top 10 Kickstarters so far. That same HMD has been credited to John Carmack too, so it's not too surprising the NYT got it wrong.

As for the people complaining about how clunky the pictures look, ever heard of prototyping? That's what that was. Check the Kickstarter page for what the Rift 1.0 kits will look like when they ship this December. You can bet the Rift 2.0, likely to be available commercially next year, will look even slicker.

As for the people complaining about getting sick or eyestrain from it, it may come as a shock, but the past 20 years haven't been completely useless in determining what was wrong with '80s VR. Human vision is now so well understood that a layman can explain the basic issues with VR. It doesn't take an optometrist anymore. More to the point, Carmack has done some real science using the Rift prototype he has and determined that the biggest driver for making VR work (or not) is latency, in both headtracking and the display. Get that roundtrip loop down to less than 20 milliseconds, and human vision (and brain) buys it. It looks like looking at a world, after that, and no longer induces vertigo. The hardware is finally at a point where getting under that limit is feasible.

The biggest reason VR can succeed this time is display technology. Smart phones have driven the costs of conveniently small conveniently high resolution LCD panels into the ground. What was once a ridiculously custom built $50,000 piece of gear is now a $300 piece of gear made of off the shelf parts originally intended for phones. Right down to the sensors. Trackers on a chip have also gotten both very sophisticated and astonishingly cheap. It ain't the '80s anymore, kids.

What does all this have to do with Valve? Valve in general and Gabe Newell in particular believes that this time, VR WILL work, and that the platform of choice to get it off the ground is the PC. PCs tolerate new peripherals better than any other platform, especially since many platforms don't tolerate 3rd party peripherals in any form at all. Good luck creating a 3rd party peripheral for the PS3, for instance. Of course, if Microsoft succeeds in killing the PC as we know it with their own app store, then Valve needs their own platform. Hence, the hardware design interest. If their platform includes ready-to-run Virtual Reality that actually lives up to sci fi dreams, so much the better. The results may ultimately become Yet Another Walled Garden (YAWG. Catchy, eh?), but so it goes.

Re:The headmounted display (2)

Osgeld (1900440) | about a year and a half ago | (#41284895)

yea, I had a 300$ one in the 90's and another 300$ one with high resolution TFT's in the early 2000's, delay was well below 20ms and it still boils down that a flickering screen less than an inch from your eye, in stereo will make most peoples heads split in a matter of moments. not to mention even the lightest one I had at only a handful of ounces was still flat out uncomfortable.

your right its not the 80's anymore, but just cause they reduced the issues, doesnt mean the issues are gone.

Re:The headmounted display (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41284925)

i had a Virtual I/O iGlasses (~$900) borrowed from a friend for quite some time. Played a lot of Descent at the time. Man I'd kill for a high resolution version. Was it really that bad?

Re:The headmounted display (1)

strack (1051390) | about a year and a half ago | (#41284947)

apparently the lenses in the oculus rift collimate the light, so its like focusing on a screen at a infinite distance.

Re:The headmounted display (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41285115)

yea, I had a 300$ one in the 90's and another 300$ one with high resolution TFT's in the early 2000's

Which make/model of VR headsets did you have specifically or are you specifically speaking from your anus?

Re:The headmounted display (2)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | about a year and a half ago | (#41285241)

You whine too much. A handful of ounces is not uncomfortable. I've worn prescription glasses since I was a child, and before high refraction index plastics were available, my glasses weighed a handful of ounces. It's trivial to become accustomed to that weight, to the point it's unnoticeable. Nor is the design of prescription glasses so marvelous that the weight is especially well distributed. Eyeglasses are fashion items, so comfort is very much a secondary consideration. The designers of the Rift won't have to work very hard to design better weight distribution.

Nor do I believe for a moment that any HMD available a decade ago had latency less than 20ms. Certainly not at that price. Even current commercial HMDs exceed that limit, at three times the price.

Nor were any HMDs available a decade ago even remotely high resolution. I remember. I looked into them, repeatedly. 320x200 was the best you could hope for.

Nor does a TFT flicker. There's no such thing as phosphor fade or vertical blanking or phosphor refresh in an LCD panel.

Now if your content flickers, that's your problem. Short answer, VR is not for movies. Don't try to watch a jumpy flickery flashy action movie on VR. It's a waste of the capability of the headset anyway, since movies have no use for headtracking. Don't watch ANY movie on VR and you'll be fine. That's not what it's for, and Sony (and many other manufacturers) are perpetually stupid for thinking it is.

I'm with the other responder. I think you talk out your ass a lot.

Re:The headmounted display (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41285621)

You had a HMD with a delay of sub-20ms using 6 DOF head tracking!? AND only for $300!?! in the early 2000's!?!

And one more to make sure I've successfully called your bullshit !?!

Re:The headmounted display (2)

jeti (105266) | about a year and a half ago | (#41285313)

The Rift has three advantages over existing affordable headsets:
    1. Large field of view
    2. Low lag when rotating the head
    3. Optics that concentrate the pixel density in the center, where vision is best

However, if you move your viewpoint without moving yourself, there still is a disconnect between what you see and what your inner ear reports. This can cause nausea. Palmer has done some experiments with galvanic stimulation of the inner ear. But this is still far away from being safe enough for public consumption.

Furthermore, your eyes remain focused at infinity, even if you look at closer objects. This might cause eyestrain or headache or just look wrong.

I'm excited about the Rift myself and it seems to be far better than what has been affordable so far. While the immersion will be great, some basic problems remain. Whether VR headsets will appeal to a large enough market outside the military remains to be seen.

Watch John Carmack's QuakeCon 2012 keynote... (1)

olau (314197) | about a year and a half ago | (#41286011)

... where he goes into more detail of what Areyoukiddingme said.

It's 3.5 hours, but it's really fascinating. Here's a link [youtube.com] .

Re:The headmounted display (1)

f3rret (1776822) | about a year and a half ago | (#41286075)

Just get the brain interface developed already! Plug me into the Matrix, I wanna know kung-fu baby.

Quaintly Ignorant (5, Insightful)

paleo2002 (1079697) | about a year and a half ago | (#41284875)

Interesting article, cool that Valve went right to the mainstream traditional media with their announcement. But, it was kinda cute reading the author's descriptions of Portal and TF2. I guess the Times simply doesn't have anyone under 40 working for them. Apparently Team Fortress is a game about an evil company that sells its customers faulty products.

Imagine an article covering a sporting event written by someone similarly oblivious to what's going on:
"Members of the Yankees team run to and capture 'bases' as part of an elaborate reenactment focused on battlefield strategies deployed during the Civil War . . ."

Re:Quaintly Ignorant (1)

Hadlock (143607) | about a year and a half ago | (#41285653)

Tech "journalism" is crap and easily swayed by terrible companies to get good reviews. Remember when Rock Star was flying tech journalists to a resort from LAX via helicopter to ensure good reviews for one of their GTA games? Big newspapers like the NYT....and any major regional newspaper, really, don't get much advertising money from companies like EA and Activision, so they have much less incentive to write an article biased towards the company. When you want good reviews you send press releases to tech "journalism" websites. Most tech journalists don't even have journalism degrees and write as a side job to help them afford their run down apartment and ramen diet. When you have a solid product or are getting ready to change the direction of your company, you cash in one of your favors owed to you by a big newspaper for coverage. If your company gets covered in the NYT, that means someone managed to convince an adult that it was newsworthy, beyond the simple "wow factor" that would get them published in a desperate tech website.
 
Keep in mind that people who are 40 were playing Doom and Doom II in college.

buh didn't they prove VR headsets BAD Idea (1)

AgNO3 (878843) | about a year and a half ago | (#41285121)

"What happened to 3D Virtual Reality? Do you remember in the mid-90s when virtual reality headsets were going to be the next big thing? Do you wonder why the whole technology just sort of went away? VR pioneer Mark Pesce has spilled the goods. Audioholics was able to contact Mr. Pesce via Twitter where he answered a few questions for us regarding his work with Sega and the mysterious disappearance of its VR project. Over 15 years ago, Mark Pesce worked with Sega on its VR Headset, which was intended to plug into the Sega set-top-box. The headset was going to provide gamers with a virtual reality 3D environment. Of course Sega wasn’t the only one developing a VR headset at the time, and we all expected to be running around in 3D environments when graphics evolved beyond chunky wireframes of the early VR visuals. We thought the technology was just around the corner. With a working VR Headset almost ready for market, Sega had the product tested by a third party lab, the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) at Palo Alto California - the results weren’t pretty. The lab at Stanford came back to Sega with dire warnings about the hazards of prolonged use of this technology. SRI warned Sega: "

Re:buh didn't they prove VR headsets BAD Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41285359)

The tech wasn't quite there yet back then. Comparing today to 15 years ago is like comparing Apples to Oranges, it's just not the same.

Re:buh didn't they prove VR headsets BAD Idea (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year and a half ago | (#41286161)

they weren't a bad idea. they were expensive. that '90s vr helmet company turned to vuzix.

oculus rift & etc are proving it's not so expensive anymore.

Pyro Vision? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41285171)

I won't buy one until I can get it with PyroVision!

Unveiled Too Soon (1, Interesting)

RazorSharp (1418697) | about a year and a half ago | (#41286321)

They're still hiring designers and engineers to get this thing off the ground and it's already revealed? Newell criticized MS for copying Apple ("[T]rying to copy Apple will accelerate, not slow, Microsoft's decline.") yet he really should have copied Apple in this instance rather than go the old MS route. The MS route is to show off a product in the early prototype stages. The Apple method is to show off a functional product. Maybe Newell is trying to attract the attention of potential investors. If not, he just made a huge blunder. Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft probably already all have working VR prototypes and associated patents. Now they just have to combine that hardware with the 'augmented reality' concept (and two of those companies can take a short-cut by partnering with Google).

Really, Newell dug his own hole. He stayed closely allied with Microsoft from the creation to Valve until the unveiling of Windows 8. He's mad that their new OS might wipe out his business, yet he helped contribute to Microsoft's stranglehold on the PC gaming market. Perhaps if he didn't want to be dependent on another company that has a history of stabbing partners in the back, then he would have ported Half-Life to something other than PS2 (and only after the Dreamcast - Microsoft's console - became an apparent failure). Newell's last minute support of OS X and Linux reeks of desperation. Like the PS2 port, it's an 'oh shit!' moment. Well, he's the one that threw his company's weight behind Windows and XBox. OS X has undergone huge growth since its inception, Linux geeks are the ideal market for Valve products, yet he ignored those markets in favor of laying golden eggs for Microsoft. Maybe he thought being a part of their good 'ole boys network would always pay off.

The only reason I feel somewhat sorry for him is because his company is committed to making quality games. I don't play video games anymore, but I like people who are committed to creating things of high quality. But Newell's quality products were dependent on non-quality products. It's like whatever company that makes the best aftermarket parts for Hondas. Whoever that was, I bet they tanked in the early 2000s when Honda went away from those tiny two-door Civics that were so popular among modders.

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