Valve has already made a big splash at this year’s Game Developers Conference with the announcement of Vive, its virtual reality headset being made with HTC as a partner, but the company had a few more tricks up its sleeve with the announcement of Steam Link, Source 2, and a release date for the fabled Steam controller.
Steam Link is a new box designed for in-house streaming of your Steam games from your main PC to your TV. You can hook it up via Ethernet to ensure a fast, hiccup-free connection, and it has three USB ports to send input back to your gaming PC. Streaming devices are pretty standard these days, so it’s not surprising that Valve would announce one specifically for Steam gaming, but it’s definitely one less barrier for many people who don’t want to or can’t hook up their gaming PCs up to their main TV. Valve put up and subsequently pulled a Steam page for the link, but savvy users on reddit captured the screenshot below. Steam Link will cost $49.99 and will launch this November.
As well, the company announced Source 2, the follow-up of its long-running Source engine that has powered all of its games since 2004, and has said that it will be free for developers to use, though no details about licensing costs are available yet. This is probably more significant news since Valve typically launches a new engine with a new game to show off its features. While no game was announced specifically, it won’t hurt to cross your fingers for Half-Life 3.
Valve’s Steam controller, having gone through years of design work and testing, will finally come out in November at the retail price of $49.99. But what is more interesting is “Lighthouse,” a system Valve will use in conjunction with its Vive virtual reality headset to do “room scale tracking,” and what sounds like yet another new controller, this one specifically for virtual reality. From Valve’s press release:
“In order to have a high quality VR experience, you need high resolution, high speed tracking,” said Valve’s Alan Yates. “Lighthouse gives us the ability to do this for an arbitrary number of targets at a low enough BOM cost that it can be incorporated into TVs, monitors, headsets, input devices, or mobile devices.” Valve intends to make Lighthouse freely available to any hardware manufacturers interested in the technology.
“Now that we have Lighthouse, we have an important piece of the puzzle for tackling VR input devices,” said Valve’s Joe Ludwig. “The work on the Steam Controller gave us the base to build upon, so now we have touch and motion as integrated parts of the PC gaming experience.”
And finally, Valve confirmed that Steam machines, custom PCs built for the living room from various manufacturers, will finally make their way to market this November.