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Steam VR Uses ‘base stations’ to Track Physical Location

When Half-Life developer Valve announced that it would be showcasing new virtual reality (VR) technology with its Steam VR system at next week’s Game Developers Conference (GDC), excitement quickly built up. As it turns out, the first details about Steam VR have been revealed today as Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC has revealed its new VR head-mounted display (HMD), HTC Vive, which has been created in partnership with Valve. According to HTC, the HMD will be working with a pair of Steam VR ‘base stations’.

HTC Vive

The stations are mentioned on the HTC Vive’s official website. The company notes that the developer edition of the HMD will couple with these in order to track the user’s physical location in a space of up to 15 feet by 15 feet. Those that have been following Valve’s work in VR will remember the company’s own HMD, which was located in a ‘Valve Room’ in the company’s offices and used markers on walls and the ceiling to track the user’s position. From the sounds of it, these base stations could be a replacement for those markers.

Sadly, an image of the devices hasn’t been revealed, although Valve itself will hopefully have them on display at GDC next week. A limited number of stations are also available at Mobile World Congress (MBW) in Barcelona, Spain, where HTC revealed its HMD. There’s still plenty to learn about this announcement too. Will the company have any further news to share? Are there more components to Valve’s system? Does Steam VR stop with HTC Vive or could it extend to other companies and HMDs? Next week will hopefully reveal all.

VRFocus is at GDC next week and will be bringing you all of the latest updates on Steam VR and all other VR devices. Expect hands-on impressions, interviews and more.

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