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Valve says April 1 leak was real, to launch Index VR headset in May

Company confirms accidental April 1 leak was not a prank, will announce more on May 1

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A new virtual reality headset from the Valve video game company was accidentally leaked on its own website this week.

Called the Index, the headset had been officially teased a few days earlier, in late-March, but on April 1 more images and information were shared by Twitter user Wario64. Initially thought to be an April Fools Day prank, Valve later confirmed that the information was accurate, but has since been pulled from its website.

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The company also said that it intends to reveal more about the Index VR headset and open pre-orders on May 1, ahead of a planned release date sometime in June. The leaked product page, which briefly appeared on Steam's website, suggests an on-sale date of June 15.

Valve acknowledged the page, saying: "The tech info on that page, while not comprehensive, is accurate".

The Valve Index comes amid a wave of positive news for the virtual reality industry. In late-March, Facebook-owned Oculus announced the Rift S all-in-one VR headset. The same month, HTC said its Vive Focus Plus will launch on April 15, and Sony announced it had sold over four million PS VR headsets to date, with over a dozen new VR games coming by the summer.

The accidentally-published page contained images of the same device teased by Valve on March 29. The VR headset appears to have two outward-facing cameras for inside-out tracking, which means it might track the wearer's location without the need for external cameras or base stations (as used by the original HTC Vive).

That said, the page also states: "Controllers, Base Stations, and PC required" so that detail is still up in the air for now. Another placeholder page was spotted mentioning "Valve Index Controllers", but no further information was provided at the time of the leak.



Valve's first own-brand VR headset also appears to have a pair of integrated earphones. While there's nothing unusual about that, what's slightly strange is how they appear to be open-backed. This will likely mean they let in sounds from the outside world instead of offering a truly immersive audio experience.

While some gamers would rather this wasn't the case, others may well prefer to be aware of their environment, rather than being completely immersed in virtual reality. That way, you can still hear what friends in the same room are saying to you, and be aware of when your phone or doorbell rings.

What's also interesting here is the lack of any mention of HTC, a long-term partner of Valve. The two companies worked together on the HTC Vive, the first VR headset to let users walk around in the virtual environment, rather than just turn and lean while standing on the spot.

The page also mentions supported inputs of DisplayPort 1.2 and USB 3.0, and the recommended system requirements mention an Nvidia GTX 1070 graphics card or better. The headset also asks for a computer with Windows 10, a broadband connection, and at least 8GB of RAM.

The page states: "Experience the infinite virtual worlds of Valve Index" but also includes Lorem Ipsum, the placeholder text used to fill space on a page yet to receive its final written copy.

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