As of now, there are only two major players present in the desktop VR market. The Oculus Rift and HTC Vive share some pretty shocking similarities, but at the same time couldn’t be more different. Since desktop VR is arguably more of a concept than anything at this stage, competitors have to make much of the same product to be able to compete in the same space. One has to ask the question however, “How similar is too similar?”. According to Valve employee Alan Yates, the two technologies share a lot more in common than you might think.
Valve used to back Palmer Lucky’s Oculus headset full-heartedly, and even CEO Gabe Newell was recorded on camera saying:
if anyone’s going to tackle this set of hard problems, we think that Palmer’s gonna do it…
While the relationship started out strong, things seemed to take a turn for the worse when Oculus was purchased by Facebook in 2014. Valve had shared a lot of its core technologies with the company, demonstrating its Valve Room proof of concept to the company as well. This drift between the two companies seems justified, as sharing intellectual property with a potential competitor is not exactly a daily routine.
On May 22nd, Valve employee Alan Yates was quoted on Reddit stating that most of Oculus’ technology was essentially a direct copy of what Valve was using in their proof of concept. He stated:
While that is generally true in this case every core feature of both the Rift and Vive HMDs are directly derived from Valve’s research program. Oculus has their own CV-based tracking implementation and frensel lens design but the CV1 is otherwise a direct copy of the architecture of the 1080p Steam Sight prototype Valve lent Oculus when we installed a copy of the “Valve Room” at their headquarters. I would call Oculus the first SteamVR licensee, but history will likely record a somewhat different term for it…
This is quite the insight into a company that has been deemed revolutionary by many. While a single quote isn’t necessarily something to get worked up about, it does bring into question the legitimacy of Oculus’ product. If it did not invent the technology behind its own product, what other factors could be lurking in the shadows? Of course, it’s important to keep in mind this is all hearsay at his stage and if HTC had definitive proof, you would think there would likely be a massive court battle by now.
What do you make of the new information? Are you as upset as some people on Reddit? Let us know.
via: Road to VR