Valve’s Alan Yates, who is in charge of VR, was having a chat on Reddit saying that when he started Valve started expanding the team.
“It has since grown to encompass about a third of the company, but the key individuals that solved most of the really hard technological problems and facilitated this generation of consumer headsets are still here working on the next generation,” he said.
Valve hires about between 300-350, depending on who you ask, so that means that it must have about 100 people on VR effort.
Yates said that employees stretching their skillsets to slowly improve the experience. This sounds rather painful. The last time we over stretched our skillset we needed deep heat, creams and massage for week.
For most of his life he was a web developer, but at Valve he does analogue and digital circuit design, firmware programming and real-time control systems and stuff he is even more utterly unqualified to do.
“It is really exciting solving these very fundamental deeply-technical problems every day. VR is by far the most interesting and challenging field I have ever worked in. The team is very multidisciplinary, you never really do stuff that is officially in your wheelhouse, and that is fricking awesome,” Yates enthused.
So far, Valve’s VR effort has produced everything from The Vive (in conjunction with HTC), to a proof-of-concept minigame collection, The Lab, to numerous tools to aid in the creation of VR experiences.
Apparently, they are working on something, which is more of a real video game, but they are not saying what.
We are also predicting that things are heading to get messy in VR land. Oculus is locking down big games for a limited time, while Valve wants to keep the VR ecosystem open. It needs a killer app and so far there isn’t one. A VR Doom would be a start, but no one seems to be rushing to build one.