From the beginning, Valve has insisted on building SteamVR with openness in mind, with the goal of supporting any virtual reality hardware and not just the HTC Vive. To that end, they've already updated SteamVR with support for the Oculus Touch controllers which launch before the end of 2016.
The news comes via Swedish game developer Daniel Nyberg, who included a screenshot of SteamVR's Status window, showing two Oculus Touch controllers and two Oculus sensors (the second one will release alongside the Touch controllers to provide 360 tracking and negate occlusion). Replies to the tweet from other VR developers indicate that they can do roomscale with Oculus motion controller hardware right out of the box, even for games designed with the HTC Vive in mind.
This is fantastic news! pic.twitter.com/ourvlXegJp— Daniel Nyberg (@BinaryLegend) June 17, 2016
Valve boss and PCMasterRace lord and savior Gabe Newell has been growing more vocal against the closed architecture of Oculus Home and their exclusivity practices. An email from Newell recently appeared on the Vive Subreddit (and was verified to PCGamer as being legitimate) in which he said:
"We don't think exclusives are a good idea for consumers or developers. There's a separate issue which is risk. On any given project, you need to think about how much risk to take on. There are a lot of different forms of risk-financial risk, design risk, schedule risk, organizational risk, IP risk, etc... A lot of the interesting VR work is being done by new developers. That is a triple-risk whammy-a new developer creating new game mechanics on a new platform. We're in a much better position to absorb financial risk than a new VR developer, so we are happy to offset that giving developers development funds (essentially pre-paid Steam revenue). However there are no strings attached to those funds-they can develop for the Rift or PlayStation VR or whatever the developer thinks are the right target VR systems. Our hope is that by providing that funding that developers will be less likely to take on deals that require them to be exclusive."
Things are definitely heating up in this space. As fantastic as Oculus Touch is (I played several new experiences at E3 and look forward to writing about them ASAP), the VR community is quickly sending a message to the company that their closed ecosystem is unwanted.
We'll keep you posted on further developments in this space.