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Valve Explains its Philosophy Behind VR and the Steam Controller: Openness

By Ian Dransfield on at

Valve's approach to both the Steam Controller and VR has a neat little comparison to Team Fortress 2 on PC and console – namely that the latter version is dead because it couldn't move with the times.

This from the Guardian, which has been chatting with Valve, picking up a few snippets from the studio about its ethos and its thought process behind the Steam Controller and Vive.

Valve's business development manager, Eric Johnson, told the Graun:

We view VR as on the spectrum of what an open platform can end up producing. If you bought Team Fortress 2 on a console, well, that game is gone now, but it is still growing on PC. That’s not because we had some masterplan, it’s just that, on PC, we had the ability to keep taking it in whatever direction made sense to our customers.

"Open platforms are really important to us because we can do Steam Machines and VR and new controller designs, then just ship them and see what happens.

He also pointed out that Valve chose to go the more expensive route with regards to manufacture of the Controller:

You have a bunch of choices when you manufacture something and a lot of those are trade-offs [are] between flexibility and cost. We took the maximum flexibility choice because if we’re building hardware and we’re targeting the PC, which is this really open system, we can’t necessarily anticipate the things we’re going to need to build very far in the future.

There's also the minor revelation that, in fact, Valve didn't hire a specific set of people solely to work on the Steam Controller – it didn't go out to assemble a team; things were just put together in the studio, as they are with most other projects there. It's all very interesting.

What do you folks think? I've not even used the controller yet, but the fact it's been so heavily tied to the wonderful XCOM 2 has me thinking maybe I should? But then again, it does look weird...