After accidentally leaking images from the headset last month, Valve has just officially announced how much the new Valve Index VR headset will cost and when it will be on sale. Per the software juggernaut, it will be available in a bundle with the new controllers from June 28 for $ 749 (about £ 575, AU $ 1,060) with pre-orders that will open tomorrow.
That said, the above bundle does not include the lighthouse sensors. You must either supply your own headphones from an earlier generation HTC Vive headset or switch to the Valve Index package of $ 999 (around £ 765, AU $ 1,400) that includes the controllers, the headset, and the trackers.
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If it all costs a lot of money to spend in one go, Valve does something that no other company has done before: selling it bit by bit.
If that is the route you want to go down, you can expect to drop $ 499 for the Index Headset, $ 279 for the Index Controllers and $ 149 for the new base stations. (Strangely enough, based on Valve's figures, you can purchase the $ 749 Valve Index VR bundle and the $ 149 tracking stations separately to save $ 100 …)
Valve picked one interesting day and time to announce his headphones and drop all this information minutes before the start of today's Facebook F8 keynote, where Mark Zuckerberg announced the price and release date of the new Oculus Quest and Oculus Rift S headsets which will be shipped in May for just $ 399.
And you thought the games were expensive …
The price of the valve index probably requires a little explanation. It's certainly pricey, but Valve has really tried to make the best VR headset on the market in terms of specifications.
According to the information available in the Steam Store, the Index uses an LCD RGB screen with a resolution of 1440×1600 per eye, which according to Valve yields 50% more sub-pixels than the rival OLED screen used in the Oculus Quest.
The index is run with a native 120Hz refresh rate, with 90Hz backward compatibility and an experimental 144Hz mode. Moreover, the Index VR headphones have a field of vision that is 20 degrees wider than the other headsets on the market.
These are specifications that change the game and that help rationalize the prize.
That said, choosing today of all days to announce a new headset is a risky step. On the one hand, the new Valve headset gives consumers a new top-tier headset to lust over in the latest fashion, but it also shows that Valve has no contact with consumers who are in big-sized VR headsets such as PlayStation VR in large numbers.
Anyway, more competition and more investment in VR from all sides of the aisle is a very good thing and only helps to advance the sector as a whole. We look forward to trying the headset ourselves when it is introduced later this year.
- Confused? We compare the Oculus Rift S versus Oculus Rift versus Oculus Quest