The Steam page is now up for the new Valve Index VR headset and it has me very excited to get my hands on it. Now called the Index and Index controllers (no longer called the Knuckles), the Valve created VR headset and controllers will likely be something that I move to using here at Digital Worlds but I can’t say for sure until I do a lot of my own testing.
The pros of the headset are the anti-microbial materials, better system for changing IPD (Interpupillary Distance, which is a measurement of how close or far your eyes are from each other, crucial in getting a non-blurry experience while in VR), better system for adjusting how close or deep the lenses are for those wearing glasses or not, and some other minor improvements. The big changes that are the most exciting are for the audio and visual departments. The new audio system is basically like putting two speakers close to your ears. This could be great as it provides a better sounding audio experience as sounds are more natural, but in an arcade setting it might be a little strange being able to hear so much around you. Although it would be nice to trash talk your friends right next to you.
Visuals are of course the biggest area and there’s a lot of great things here. Valve are going with LCD panels that have a resolution similar to that of the standard Vive and Oculus Rift HMDs. This means a lower resolution than the current Vive Pro HMDs that I am using here at the arcade, but with how the pixels are displayed on the panel, there’s less space between them, which means the image will actually appear clearer to our eyes (less “screen door effect”). Black will not be able to be as deep, but that’s a minor trade-off that I’m happy to take for the biggest perk of all, 120Hz screens. Most people are used to seeing TVs and monitors (and phones and tablets) that refresh at a 60Hz rate, but I’ve been gaming on a 144Hz monitor for the last few years and before that had a 120Hz monitor for two years. I know just how much the jump from 60 to 120 was and even the bump from 120 to 144 was nice. I can’t wait to see how much things in VR will improve going from 90 to 120, and there’s also an “experimental” 144Hz option.
The specs on the Knuckles… I mean Index Controllers, also look to be good. Solid battery life at around seven hours, and of course the main draw of finger tracking. Fingers crossed they are a solid fit for the arcade. Easy on, easy off, fits many hand sizes, maintains a solid battery life, easy to learn buttons and operation (intuitive), and of course are very durable.
I’ll be getting my set tomorrow morning and I’ll be testing it out when I get it in June. If all goes well, I just might upgrade all my stations to the Index and Knuckles.