Valve Index VR Kit revealed - high-end VR headset, controllers and tracking for $999

Written by Neil Soutter on Fri, May 3, 2019 4:36 PM

UPDATE: Valve's Index VR headset officially sold out within half an hour of going on sale. Pre-orders for the premium quality virtual reality device went live on Steam, and it seems the $1000 price tag attached to the complete package wasn't enough to put early adopters off.

The Valve Index is now no longer available for shipping in June; reservations for the Index VR kit are now listed as shipping by September 30th, while the headset and controllers bundle will be available by August 31st.

Priced at $1000 for the complete kit, this is no doubt Valve preaching to the converted with its first wave of headsets. Those who got in on the ground floor with the original HTC Vive were always going to be the most receptive to VR hardware upgrades, and they'll also have to spend the least to enjoy the new headset as they can use their current base stations and controllers.

We also don't know how many of these things Valve manufactured for the initial run. It could be a thousand, it could be hundreds of thousands. For Valve though, they'll be pleased the Index has got off to a good start and match their expectations. The crucial time for Valve Index VR will come when the early adopters have already got their fix though. It's then we see if the Valve Index has helped to grow the PCVR audience.

Original Story: 01-May-2019 - Valve Index VR Kit revealed - high-end VR headset, controllers and tracking for $999

Farewell HTC Vive, there’s a new player in town. Valve has unveiled the Valve Index, its new play at the premium, high-fidelity virtual reality experience. Specs-wise, the Valve Index is hands down the strongest contender in the HMD market, although anyone hoping for affordable VR from Valve will be disappointed to see an eye-watering price tag.

Valve Index comprises a new headset with a higher resolution display, built-in off-ear audio, redesigned ergonomics, and a wider field-of-view. It utilises a pair of 1440 x 1600 resolution LCD displays (no OLED, sadly), with a 120Hz refresh rate confirmed. 144Hz is theoretically possible, although Valve is saying this is still experimental. The built-in audio isn't headphones, but rather off-ear audio speakers that can direct 3D audio towards your ears. The Valve Index Headset will set you back £459 / $499 / €539.

The next part of the package is the Valve Index Controllers. Based on the oft-showcased ‘knuckles’ design, these controllers promise an intuitive button layout as well as gesture tracking. A grand total of 87 sensors are in place to track even your smallest hand and finger movements, allowing objects in the virtual world to be grabbed or toyed with on a 1:1 basis. They look pretty awesome, to be honest, and make Sony’s Move solution for PSVR look even more laughable these days. Have a peek at Boneworks VR for how these concepts can be implemented in-game. The Valve Index Controllers cost £259 / $279 / €299, although they aren’t a vital component and plenty of VR games will work without them. Some, however, are being developed specifically to take advantage of their new features.

And last up are the Base Stations 2.0. The slightly boring engine behind the VR experience, these Base Stations use lasers to track player movements. Base Station 2.0 improves on the original units through increased signal range, wider FOV, up to four base stations, and arguably stronger aesthetics. Each Base Staton costs £139 / $149 /€159, with a minimum of one required.

As you can probably tell, all of this adds up so it’s certainly not going to be the cheapest way to get into VR. Those who already own some HTC Vive gear can use their current controllers or base stations to keep the price down, although they obviously won’t benefit from the improvements the new hardware brings to the table.

If you’re coming at it fresh, the full Valve Index VR Kit will cost you £919 / $999 / €1,079.

Valve Index Pricing

  • Valve Index Headset - £459 / $499 / €539
  • Valve Index Controllers - £259 / $279 / €299
  • Valve Index Base Stations - £139 / $149 /€159
  • Valve Index Full VR Kit - £919 / $999 / €1,079

At this point, Gabe Newell and company must be so disconnected from reality that they have no idea what constitutes an acceptable price point. At £919 all in, this is incredibly removed from an impulse purchase, and also far more expensive than the vast majority of Steam users will be able to afford, let alone want to afford. It is well over twice the price of the Oculus Rift S.

In terms of growing the VR user base, the Valve Index looks as if it’s not even going to make a dent. This is a high-end VR kit for folks who are already deep into VR gaming. If you didn’t want to pay the price for the HTC Vive at launch, you’re probably not going to want to do the same here.

That’s not to say the Valve Index isn’t without merit. Far from it. Judging from the specs and early impressions, the Valve Index will be the ultimate VR solution. It’s an absolute powerhouse and will deliver the most immersive virtual reality experiences around. Valve has lifted the specs up from the Vive, as well as delivering some impressive looking controllers which will enable a greater degree of interactivity than ever before. Unfortunately, absolutely none of that matters if most can’t even afford it. VR developers need a large install base to justify game development, and a pricey headset like this isn’t going to help matters a great deal. On the upside, those dropping $1000 on a VR headset likely have plenty of disposable income to spend on games.

It’s a tricky one, but it’s difficult to envisage the Valve Index as anything more than a niche product when it’s got such a lofty price tag attached. It’s been over three years since PCVR made its debut and the assumption was that prices would go down over time rather than up. Who knows though, perhaps there is an audience for high-end PCVR headsets who, for some reason, don’t already own an HTC Vive or Oculus Rift.

The Valve Index will be available to pre-order later today, with shipping expected in June 2019.

Are you planning to pick up a Valve Index?

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12:21 May-07-2019

now i never owned a Xbox Kinect but didnt that have motion tracking and it was pretty dirt cheap so why not hook that up with a high resolution HMD and call it wraps? or is my plan way to crap?

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07:49 May-11-2019

According to some driver4vr users, laggy movement & &#60180" front facing play area only since only a single kinect could run on a single PC.
me? only had experience with leap motion(fingers tracking), Laggy & twitchy finger tracking.

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15:55 May-04-2019

Best value on the market right now is a Samsung Odyssey plus. Same resolution as Vive Pro, comes with controllers and goes on sale routinely for -$300

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11:30 May-04-2019

Thanks but 'm keepin' mah WMR LEnovo Explorer.

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07:51 May-04-2019

It's good to see Valve is still the people's KING\QUEEN! The price tag is ridiculous tho...

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01:33 May-04-2019

i had a rift briefly. was great fun but i didn't really have the room to make the most out of it. i always had to remember that i had limited room while playing so i didn't headbutt a wardrobe or punch a lampshade. really took from the immersion. i'd love to get back into it one day and this thing looks like a beast BUT logistically, i just can't justify something like this right now.

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11:41 May-04-2019

Yeah you do need an awful lot of space to be full into the VR. A dedicated room for it is the best idea but rarely who has the luxury for something like that.

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15:56 May-04-2019

Everyone living outside of New York, Miami, LA and Chicago does.

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17:17 May-03-2019

Did nobody learn from the steam controller? Steam doesn't have a great track record.

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19:59 May-03-2019

What's wrong with the steam controller? It's a great controller with really customization ability.

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20:05 May-03-2019

I hope he's talking about it selling out quickly, cause I gotta agree with you. Love the controller, by now it's the only gamepad I use on PC.

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02:13 May-04-2019

lol what's wrong with the steam controller ? i had mine since release and since i got it i could never feel comfortable to use any other controller , tried many versions of the ps4 and X1 pro controllers , few custom controllers but i always keep getting back to this baby here and i don't think i'll ever replace it but with another steam controlner if it breaks or if valve release another better version of it xD http://imgur.com/gallery/Eek4Iet

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08:29 May-04-2019

Just because people didn't really buy it that doesn't mean it was a bad controller

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19:10 May-04-2019

Guess I'm old school, still prefer keyboard and mouse. But I'm not going to judge people for using a controller as I see it as personal preference

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17:02 May-03-2019

I need only those controllers

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19:45 May-01-2019

Probably won't be binning my Rift anytime soon, but more quality hardware is always a welcome thing!

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18:21 May-01-2019

The whole thing costs $215 more in europe than in the US '-'

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20:00 May-03-2019

Not really, the VAT is included in the EU price and not in the US. After adding a -20% VAT you pay basically the same.

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02:24 May-05-2019

You don't have to pay a sales tax on most online purchases as long as the company selling the item does not have a physical location in the state you live in. Also the highest sales tax in the US is in Tennessee, and it is 9.47%. No state has a 20% sales tax... some in fact have 0% like Oregon.

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17:35 May-01-2019

It might be expensive, but at least Valve is taking the technical part of VR to next levels.
Oculus (Facebook) went for a lighter/slightly updated version of the last gen. with the upcoming Rift S. instead of bringing out a full Rift 2.

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02:27 May-05-2019

Valve is behind many other companies. Apart from a faster refresh rate, they really don't advance anything over headsets like Pimax 5K+, Samsung Odyssey Plus.

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10:27 May-05-2019

Except that in my experience HTC/Oculus work a lot better, than other VR headsets. Less buggy, better tracking, and more support for games. Also refresh rate is a big part of VR, along with the resolution (which sets this new one at the current top).


My point really was the Oculus isn't really competing anymore if they dont bring out better headsets.

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14:38 May-01-2019

Cool, another toy for rich people that is around 1% of population. People want it to be accessible and better, now it just improves which is not that bad but it raises overall cost and system requirements. For 1k euros you can get killer gaming pc, sigh ....

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19:38 May-01-2019

And the cool thing is, if you want to fully use the 1K VR Headset @1440x1600/120Hz you'll need an even more expensive PC :')

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21:21 May-01-2019

exactly this too

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10:16 May-01-2019

not sure if i'm gonna pick up the index as i already have a HTC vive pro, but i sure as hell is picking up the controllers

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