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Developers can now get a free virtual reality headset from Valve

The virtual reality headset that HTC and Valve has been working on, known as Vive, was promised to be completely free for developers when it was first unveiled last month, and not it looks like that promise is being fulfilled. In order to get your hands on a free Vive developers kit, you need to sign up as a development team, which involves sharing numerous details about your company and team with Valve so that it’s certain you’re legit, and then waiting to see if the company actually considers you. Regular consumers will be able to purchase the headset at a later date. 

As promised last month, Valve is letting developers apply for an early edition of its Vive virtual reality system. Ars Technica noted this morning that the SteamVR site now includes an application form for a free Vive development kit. Unlike the Oculus Rift DK2, which sells publicly for $350, Vive kits will be free to selected developers. According to a Valve statement, they’ll start shipping “later this spring,” going out in batches through the summer. The company warns, however, that “supplies may be limited.” The Vive, created in partnership with HTC, involves a lot more hardware than its competition at Sony, Samsung, and Oculus. In addition to the headset, developers will receive two base stations, which scan a 15-by-15-foot patch of room with tracking lasers. They’ll also get two custom motion controllers, one for each hand. Altogether, the current Vive might be the best consumer VR system we’ve tried yet; its biggest drawback is the long, unwieldy wires that connect the headset to a computer.

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