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Type Virtual Reality
Subtype Head-mounted Display
Developer Valve
Devices HTC Vive
Accessories SteamVR Controllers
Website SteamVR
SteamVR is a Virtual Reality Platform developed by Valve as an extension of Steam. SteamVR offers a 360 degrees, full room VR experience. It was officially announced on March 1, 2015 during the Mobile World Congress. Valve partnered with HTC to release SteamVR's first device, HTC Vive, a VR HMD similar to Oculus Rift. Unlike Oculus, SteamVR features a holodeck experience, allowing the users to move and position themselves freely within a confined space.

As a platform, SteamVR not only supports its own HMDs such as the Vive but also other HMDs like the Rift.


HTC Vive

HTC Vive or VCV1 is SteamVR's first commercial product. Pre-orders for the device began on February 29, 2016. Units shipped on April 5, 2016.

HTC Vive Developer Editions

HTC Vive DK1 or VDK1 is SteamVR's first development kit. The HDM was a partnership between Valve and HTC. It was announced on March 1, 2015 and showcased during the GDC 2015 between March 2 - 6. When paired with 2 SteamVR Base Stations and 2 SteamVR Controllers, HTC Vive can accurately track the position and movements of your head and hands within the 15 by 15 feet space.

HTC Vive Pre or VDK2 is SteamVR's second development kit. It improved upon VDK1 in many areas, including the implementation of a pass-through camera on the HMD. 7,000 units were shipped to select developers in January and February 2016.



Base Stations - are part of the Lighthouse tracking system of SteamVR. These small, rectangular objects are placed in the opposite corners of the room, near the ceiling. They serve as reference points that enable the positional tracking of your HMD and SteamVR controllers within the 3D space. The Base Stations enable Lighthouse to track your head and hands with accuracy, low latency and sub-millimeter precision within a specified space (currently about 15 by 15 feet).

Input Devices

SteamVR Controllers - these wireless controllers look like a pair of nunchucks with sensors on top. Each hand holds 1 of the 2 wireless controllers. Each controller has a trigger and circular haptic trackpad. The sensors allow the controllers to be tracked by the SteamVR Base Stations with the same way as the HMD. The controllers are tracked with very high precision and low latency.

The sensors on the controllers are photodiodes.


HTC Vive Apps




Positional Tracking

Lighthouse is a laser-based positional tracking system developed by Valve for SteamVR. It tracks the position and orientation of the user's HMD and controllers in real time.


Chaperone is a system that helps to prevent users from bumping into physical objects or moving outside of the sensor range while using the HMD. The system differentiates soft and hard boundaries. Soft boundaries are the space designated for the specific app or detectable by the sensors while hard boundaries consist of physical walls, obstacles and objects.

When you move near the edge of the "holodeck", virtual grid walls would appear in your display. These walls indicate that you are at the boundary of the sensors or near physical walls of your room. The walls would disappear when you move away from the boundary.


Dashboard - Steam overlay for VR Apps.

SteamVR Desktop Theater Mode - Play non-VR Steam games in VR on a large virtual home theatre.

SteamVR Home - SteamVR Collectibles

SteamVR Media Player


March 1, 2015 - SteamVR and HTC Vive were officially announced on March 1, 2015 in World Mobile Conference.

March 2 - 6, 2015 - SteamVR and HTC Vive were showcased first time to the public.

April 21, 2015 - Sign-ups for the Developer Edition of HTC Vive began.

April 30, 2015 - OpenVR SDK was released.

June 5, 2015 - HTC Vive Developer Editions (HTC Vive DK1) began shipping to developers selected by Valve.

January 5, 2016 - HTC Vive Pre (HTC Vive DK2) was announced. 7000 of the HMD will ship to select developers in Q1 2016.

February 11, 2016 - SteamVR introduces Direct Mode, allows the display driver to render to the HMD directly.

February 29, 2016 - HTC Vive CV1 pre-orders begin.

April 5, 2016 - HTC Vive CV1 is officially released.

June 17 2016 - SteamVR supports Oculus Touch controllers, dual Constellation sensors and Room-scale VR with Oculus Rift.

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