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Valve is building three ‘full games’ for VR

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Valve — co-creator of the HTC Vive headset — is developing three full titles for virtual reality, Eurogamer reports. At a media roundtable, founder and president Gabe Newell said that “right now we're building three VR games,” not just short titles like Vive minigame collection The Lab. “When I say we're building three games, we're building three full games, not experiments,” he said. And while Newell is open to the idea that VR might totally fail, he thinks we’ll see a massive leap in its hardware quality over the next two years.

Newell didn’t give any details about the games, but he said they were being developed in both Valve’s own Source 2 engine — currently used in Dota 2 — and the popular Unity engine, which Valve has previously used to make Vive demos. Valve likes to build games that showcase and push forward its engines and technical capabilities, and it’s got a vested interest in building up Unity as an easy but robust option for VR developers. It’s also big news for fans: Valve hasn’t released a full game since Dota 2 in 2013, choosing instead to focus on things like its Steam sales platform. Meanwhile, HTC — primarily known for its hardware — actually has released a full game: the sci-fi title Arcade Saga.

Newell noted that Valve ported the games Half-Life 2 and Team Fortress 2 to the Oculus Rift in 2013, but that they weren’t actually much fun to play. “That was purely a developer milestone, but there was absolutely nothing compelling about it, the same way nobody's going to buy a VR system so they can watch movies,” he said. In general, he said audiences are still waiting for the thing that causes “millions of people” to be excited about the medium. “There's still not an incredibly compelling reason for people to spend 20 hours a day in VR,” he said. Because yes, Gabe Newell’s bar for a product’s success is apparently spending all but four hours a day in it.