Valve boss trashes his own 'marginally adequate' VR headset

Valve CEO Gabe Newell wants to sell you VR games, but he's under no illusions about the challenges his products are facing.

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Josh Miller/CNET

Gabe Newell, CEO of game developer Valve, says he's not going to lose any sleep if VR doesn't take off.

"We're optimistic. We think VR is going to be great," Newell stated in an interview with Polygon. "We're also pretty comfortable with the idea that it will turn out to be a complete failure."

One of VR's biggest hurdles right now is the high cost of major headsets such as the Oculus Rift and the Vive, which Valve developed in partnership with HTC and requires a powerful gaming PC to run. Yesterday HTC announced that it will release a mobile VR device to compete with more affordable products such as the Google Daydream View and the Samsung Gear VR.

"[HTC] Vive is the most expensive device on the market," Newell said. "It's barely capable of doing a marginally adequate job of delivering a VR experience."

Newell admitted that VR's other hurdle is the lack of good content. "I can't think of a single piece of [VR] content that would cause millions of people to justify changing their home computing," he said.

Last week Valve announced plans to produce three full-length VR games.

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