Valve’s new programme will let developers and companies use its 3D tracking technology without charging any licensing fee. Developers will be able to integrate the system to their own hardware. Under the Steam VR Tracking licensing, developers can use the 3D tracking elements of the Vive headset to create an indoor quad-copter, or a VR gold club. Valve’s StreamVR tracking uses company built hardware and software to track devices in real time within a room, and will now be available to others without licensing fees.
Programmer Joe of Valve, responding to the question of the company’s reasons to opt zero licensing fee said, “We believe that the largest value for our customers and for Valve will come from allowing SteamVR Tracking to proliferate as widely as possible. The existence of more SteamVR-compatible devices will make the SteamVR community more valuable for customers and developers. Having a wide community of hardware developers pushing the platform forward will result in innovations that we Valve would never think of or pursue on our own. Also, all SteamVR devices and hardware components will become cheaper if more of them get made.”
HTC Vive for instance is powered Valve’s SteamVR and in fact HTC is the contract manufacturer for the device.
The Licensee Dev Kit will include-
• A modular reference tracked object for attaching to prototype devices
• EVM circuit boards to enable rapid prototyping
• 40 individual sensors
• Accessories to enable custom prototypes
• Two HTC Vive base stations
The finished product that is created by developers using the SteamVR tracking can be sold whenever, and to whomever without Valve’s review or approval, but the device needs to comply with the license to be able to use the technology, names, brands or trademarks.
SteamVR Tracking according to the company is complicated, and Valve requires at least one individual representative from each licensee company to attend an in-person training programme that will cost $3000 per participant, and will be payable to Synapse. Classes will start in September. The training will be a combination of lectures and lab work covering topics like, designing tracked objects, object testing and calibration, SteamVR integration, Simulation tools, Troubleshooting, etc.