Gabe Newell seems confident that Valve has found the solution to motion sickness caused by virtual reality headsets.
In an interview at Game Developers Conference (GDC), Valve’s head honcho said “zero percent of people get motion sick” when they try Valve’s own headset, the Vive. This is thanks to its Lighthouse motion tracking system. This is capable of tracking users accurately as they move around a space. It can then produce a highly precise picture of what the wearer is doing in a 3D space, which helps our brains cope with the disconnect between physical motion and what our eyes see.
Virtual Reality headsets were one of the hot topics at this week’s GDC. Sony, Valve, and Oculus were in attendance to show off their headsets. They also spoke candidly on the matter. Chief technology officer of Oculus, John Carmack, said that it’s incredibly important that the first virtual reality headset to get released commercially gets it right.
He said that Oculus is taking its time to release its headset because of a nightmare scenario that has worried him and his fellow executives. He said, “People like the demo, they take it home, and they start throwing up.” If a bad virtual reality product came out, he said, “it could send the industry back to the ’90s.”
Newell is no stranger to reacting badly to headset demonstrations. He described them as the “world’s best motion sickness inducers.” But if Valve has discovered the secret, those “nightmare scenarios” that Carmack referenced could be a thing of the past. Newell said that Valve plans to make its tracking system free to hardware manufacturers.