Valve wants to make VR accessible to those with GPUs less powerful than a GTX 970.
Valve is trying to reduce the cost of VR. The way it's doing this actually has more to do with the type of hardware VR requires, rather than the cost of the headset itself.
The company's Alex Vlacho said as much at a panel at GDC 2016 last week. "We’ve said the recommended spec is a 970, same as Oculus, but we do want lesser GPUs to work. We’re trying to reduce the cost [of VR]," Vlacho said, as reported by UploadVR.
To demonstrate this, Vlacho used an Nvidia GTX 680 to run the Portal demo from Valve's The Lab collection of VR mini-games.
"I can run Aperture [Portal-themed VR demo] on a 680 without dropping frames at a lower quality, and, for me, that’s enough of a proof of concept," he told panel attendees.
"Most art we’re seeing in VR isn’t as dense as that. So we should be pretty good to go… everything should be able to support that low-end hardware. But we need the right safety nets in place."
Another of way achieving this is through a plugin for game engine Unity that Valve is working on. The rendering plugin will be released in the coming weeks, alongside its source code. It allows VR scenes to be rendered more efficiently, which greatly benefits old GPUs the most