A third of Valve is now dedicated to VR development, says dev | PCGamesN

A third of Valve is now dedicated to VR development, says dev

Valve VR team

It’s an eternal PC gaming question: just what are Valve up to? Rolling around in their piles of money? Tweaking Steam? Building ever more impressive hat towers? What we do know they’re getting on with is VR, and a recent post on the Vive subreddit has revealed that a third of the company is now dedicated to that cause.

Here’s our picks for the best VR games so far.

Spotted by NeoGAF, developer Alan Yates was posting in reply to a thread about one of his tweets regarding VR his team was working on. In it he talks about the people that kept the idea of VR alive through the last couple of decades of uncertainty, and how the team at Valve grew.

“I was super fortunate to start at Valve right around the time Michael Abrash had begun the AR/VR research team,” he explains. “It was a much smaller team then than it is now, it has since grown to encompass about a third of the company, but the key individuals that solved most of the really hard technological problems and facilitated this generation of consumer headsets are still here working on the next generation.”

The thread poster on NeoGAF points out that the company is estimated to have around 380 employees, meaning around 120 working on VR. That may seem like a large team, but given games like WoW have teams of 300 on their own, plus the folks at Valve are helping to develop hardware solutions and software bases along with the actual games themselves, it’s fairly reasonable.

The question becomes: what are the other 200 or so folks up to? Let’s not actually say it, but think it all at once together in the hope that brings it into existence. All together now: Ricochet 2.

Sign in to Commentlogin to comment
QDP2 avatarSonic avatarTsunamiWombat avatarAnAuldWolf avatarJnx avatarBadCommand avatar
QDP2 Avatar
1 Year ago

I was going to go with Day of Defeat 2, but that also works.

Sonic Avatar
Sonic(14 minutes played)
1 Year ago

That is somewhat bad because, I see steam getting little to no attention due to VR focus. I remember being excited for new Steam features but since hardware and VR there is nothing new. Nothing new for those who don't care about VR

AnAuldWolf Avatar
1 Year ago

The thing is is that like it or not, VR actually has a huge audience now. It won't dominate every aspect of gaming so that you have to wear a helmet for everything, but it will have a niche big enough to constantly sustain it.

Saying this would be bad for Valve would be like saying that making racing controllers would be bad because not everyone plays racing games. Whilst that's true, the audience that does exist for it is big enough. How do we measure that? When mainstream consoles start adopting the tech, usually, which Sony has for the PS4.

So whilst VR certainly isn't for everyone (and that's okay!), and it might not even be for me, we don't have to hate or fear the people who'll get some enjoyment out of it.

It's not like it's going to take over everything in the way that 'glorified, grey-brown, fidelity-chasing games of bigotry, hated, fear, and violence' have, is it? To the contrary, I like the silly things VR is doing by comparison. Even if, as I said, it might not be for me.

BadCommand Avatar
1 Year ago

"The thing is is that like it or not, VR actually has a huge audience now."

Negative- nothing compared to pc gamers, not even close. I suspect that this is going to be Newell's Gavin Belson moment.

TsunamiWombat Avatar
1 Year ago

1/3rd to vr

1/3rd to hats

1/3rd to sitting around not developing any games

Jnx Avatar
1 Year ago

They will release Valve HoloDeck and Half-Life 3 as the first game to it.

AnAuldWolf Avatar
1 Year ago

They're doing that because they're working on the future of PC gaming, pretty much. The move to Linux with things like SteamOS and Vulkan support, helping to push industry interest in Vulkan, and so on.

It's kind of important to remember that the indie boom happened because of Steam and a number of big indie developers actually have said as much. The attention that Steam gave them, that no other large store front would at the time, was extraordinary. And we now have more dev teams working on their own passion projects than we have had since the '90s.

Do you think Yooka-Laylee could have happened in '08? Even '10? Valve's been laying the groundwork for this.

And they keep doing stuff like that. It's like Gabe Newell is actually invested in the future of PC gaming or something, rather than just making a profit. At this rate, it won't be long before we see shareware and demos reappear. I'd love to see him start poking people about that. And knowing him, he might.

It was Gabe Newell and Valve that made a push for modding, too. After the death of modding around the time of the Shitfall, it looked like modding was never going to come back. Then the Steam Workshop happened! At the start it was slow, sure, but these days there are hundreds of games supporting it and more on the way all the time. It's considered a big selling point if you have Steam Workshop (modding) support.

Plus, there are things littered throughout their history I'll always love them for.

Not once did they ever need to be told to be progressive. They did it all on their lonesome. Half-Life 2, the Left 4 Dead games, Portal 2, all had awesome women that weren't being sold to gamers on the merits of their sexuality, but rather their independence, humanity, and their strength. That's a very Valve thing. The same goes for ethnicities, cultures, and so on.

Valve was responsible for the push with facial expression technology. In fact, Half-Life 2 still represents almost an industry standard for it, even now. It was to offer a different, more human approach to characters, rather than just the stone-faced, po-faced mendicants you'll see littering video games everywhere these days. So Valve's ideas weren't picked up by the rest of the industry there, which is a damn shame. But every now and then you can see elements of it, like Life is Strange, the Telltale games, et cetera.

They also took a chance on Portal, which gave me some of the best platforming, puzzly fun I've had in years. Same for 2. And both had an excess of blessed modding support. So I'm always playing new chambers in both and it's absolutely bloody glorious. The thing is? I love platform games, I even love first person platform games (shut up, I just happen to be good at them), and I love puzzle games which challenge my lateral thinking and logical processes. Portal did all of this. The first was more about reflexes and the second was more cerebral, they both still exist.

Do you know how rare first person environment puzzlers are? How stupidly, ridiculous rare? Portal, and Portal 2, created a resurgence of them for a while. Antechamber, QUBE, Quantum Conundrum, Magrunner: Dark Pulse, I couldn't have been happier with this sudden burst of games which were meant for people with an IQ higher than 30.

So they've done a lot of good. And in my opinion, they're continuing to do a lot of good. Whatever big thing they do next, it's probably going to be rather interesting and quite, quite clever. I look forward to it. They're the most important players in PC gaming right now, and everyone else is just very much after a piece of their action. They brought so many good things about PC gaming back from the brink.