Valve chases VR and in-home game streaming with new hardware

Valve is keeping busy at GDC this year with debuts of a Steam Link set-top streaming box, a final Steam Controller, a fresh crop of Steam Machines and a new motion-tracking system known as Lighthouse.

Valve is keeping busy at GDC this year. 

In addition to talking up the upcoming Source 2 and demonstrating the Vive VR headset (developer kits for which are expected to ship in spring), Valve is doubling down on its stale Steam Machines initiative by demoing games on new Steam Machines and showcasing the Steam Link, a $50 set-top box designed to stream games from PCs running Steam on your home network.

The company hopes to start selling Steam Link units in November, with the option to get one bundled with a final version of the Steam Controller for an additional $50.

The lengthy development of the Steam Controller also ties into Valve's efforts to build viable VR hardware, as Valve engineer Joe Ludwig cites it as a valuable aspect of the company's development of a new room-scale motion tracking system for VR experience design: Lighthouse.

Lightouse is described by Valve as a "high-resolution, high-speed" motion tracking system with sensors small enough to be built into mobile devices, TVs, monitors and controllers. 

"Now that we have Lightouse, we have an important piece of the puzzle for tackling VR input devices," stated Ludwig in a press release announcing the technology. "The work on the Steam Controller gave us the base to build upon, so now we have touch and motion as integrated parts of the PC gaming experience."

The company expects to make the Lighthouse technology freely available to any hardware maker who wants it, and more details are expected to be available over on the Steam Universe page.

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