One third of Valve’s employees are now working on VR

Many companies are pushing resources towards the new hot tech on the block, VR, but no one seems to be doing it quite like Valve.

Co-creators of the high-end HTC Vive virtual reality headset, Valve has helped drive the industry from virtually non-existent to “the next big thing” in a matter of months. While the company is known to have a very small amount of employees, the infrastructure the firm maintains is extremely large. Valve’s Steam is the biggest video game platform in the world, and has almost 12 million daily active users. Beyond maintaining that infrastructure, the company also produces some of the most popular games of all time, such as DotA 2, Counter Strike, and the Half-Life series. That’s why when we heard that Valve is now pushing nearly one third of its employees towards the future of the VR platform, our eyebrows raised quite a bit.

Speaking as himself on Reddit, Valve employee Alan Yates explained that the company absolutely believes in the future of the technology, and thinks it has potential to be one of the most impactful innovations of all time.

“I was super fortunate to start at Valve right around the time Michael Abrash had begun the AR/VR research team. It was a much smaller team then than it is now, it has since grown to encompass about a third of the company, but the key individuals that solved most of the really hard technological problems and facilitated this generation of consumer headsets are still here working on the next generation,” Yates states.

“Digitally mediated reality is one of those incredibly impactful technologies, short of human space flight or life sciences. I can’t imagine working on something of more significance right now.”

We believe he’s right. VR technology has already surpassed what any of us ever thought was possible, but Valve wants to go deeper. Most of that third of the company are already working on the second generation Vive product, aiming to make their tech even better. Though the current generation will make anyone’s mouth gape in awe, there are still a lot of problems Valve needs to solve to make the experience as immersive as possible.

While 2K 90FPS screens are great for now, the company wants to make VR an experience truly unlike anything else, and improvements to the display will likely be high up on the list. Though it’s hard to predict what else will be included in version 2.0, we’re sure it will be impressive. HTC, which has put its hardware acumen and hundreds of millions behind Vive, is sure to play a big role in creating the next generation of virtual reality platforms.

What improvements do you want to see?


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