Valve, Microsoft and HP are collaborating to build a ‘next generation’ headset for SteamVR, called HP Reverb G2.
The current HP Reverb is the company’s second PC VR headset, with high resolution LCD panels and a focus on comfort. It’s priced at $599. Its first was a cheaper model back in 2017, not significantly modified from Microsoft’s reference design.
HP hasn’t released any details or specifications on the future headset yet. The company provided this short teaser video:
In the videos the words ‘THE NEXT GENERATION’ and ‘NO COMPROMISES’ are shown. This seemingly hints at HP Reverb G2 being the first headset in a new generation of Windows MR (Microsoft’s PC VR platform which all HP VR headsets have used so far).
Windows MR headsets are already compatible with SteamVR through Microsoft’s own driver, available on Steam. So why is Valve involved in this collaboration?
Microsoft worked with Valve to make the first generation WMR headsets work on SteamVR. While the company tried to make its Windows Store the place for VR apps, it seems to have now shifted to endorsing Steam, even putting its own apps on Valve’s store.
Brightening the headset from the video appears to show nearfield off-ear speakers, very similar to what the Valve Index has. This should enable high quality, accurately positioned audio in VR.
The image also shows what looks like two tracking cameras on the front. There may be extra cameras on the sides to allow for wide tracking volume, like on the design Samsung submitted to the Chinese patent office in January. If Samsung’s design becomes a product, it could be another entry in WMR’s new generation alongside Reverb G2.
This announcement hits just as Valve released its “flagship” VR game, Half-Life: Alyx, the first full entry in the series in over a decade. It’s designed to give a lot of VR fans exactly what they’ve been asking for; a full-length VR shooter with the same kind of production values you’d expect from a traditional videogame release. You can read more in our full review right here.
Valve knows that the majority of Alyx players won’t be using Index, both due to stock issues and the pricepoint of $1000. With the Reverb G2, the company may at very least be endorsing, or potentially even working on, a more accessible affordable alternative. Even if it doesn’t take on Facebook’s Oculus Rift S directly at $400, it could offer a middle ground for PC gamers looking for a balance of quality and price.
We’ll bring you more information about this headset as soon as we have it.