Valve released the full specs and pricing details for its original VR headset, the Valve Index. Buckle up, because at $1000, the complete Valve Index package is one of the most expensive consumer VR headsets on the market.
The Valve Index is Valve's original VR headset. The company previously partnered with HTC to create the HTC Vive. But with the Index, Valve is captaining its own VR hardware.
And the specs are just as beefy as you'd expect. The Valve Index sports dual 1440x1600 LCDs with full RGB per pixel, and frame rates at 80/90/120/144Hz. There are built-in headsets which interestingly are off-ear, meaning they don't press up against your ear, but rather hover above them. The Valve Index sports a dual microphone array, stereo 960x960 cameras, USB 3.0, DisplayPort 1.2, and is compatible with the SteamVR 2.0 and 1.0 base stations.
The headset by itself will cost you $499. The Valve Index controllers cost $279, and a Valve Index Base Station costs $149 per unit. Valve has a Index VR Kit that includes the headset, controllers, and two base stations for $1000. The Valve Index is also compatible with older generations of the base station, but those aren't that much cheaper than the new second-generation stations.
If you're an experienced VR user, chances are you can get away with spending less than a $1000 to upgrade to the Valve Index. But new users are facing a steep buy-in. However, VR has always been relatively pricey. The HTC Vive is available for $500, but the Vive Pro retails for $800. The PS VR and Oculus options are cheaper. PlayStation's costs about $400 (but is easy to find on sale), while Oculus has several models ranging from $200 to $400, depending on whether you're looking for something that can play games or something more casual.
Either way, Valve is fully invested in VR at this point, and if you're serious about the technology then the Index might be the way to go. You can expect at least three, full VR games developed by Valve for the Index (if Gabe's words still stand) and presumably more projects in the future.
Pre-order the Valve Index on Steam through this link starting tomorrow, May 1.