Published: Sat, July 21, 2018
Industry | By Terrell Bush

NVIDIA, Oculus, Valve, AMD, and Microsoft Collaborate on VirtualLink VR Headset Standard

NVIDIA, Oculus, Valve, AMD, and Microsoft Collaborate on VirtualLink VR Headset Standard

Jason Paul - General manager of gaming and VR, NVIDIA. For example, an Oculus Rift cable will only work with an Oculus Rift.

In fact, the list keeps growing every year with new technologies enhancing the VR experience.

What are the companies at the forefront of the new universal connector adoption? A new standardized spec has been confirmed by the VirtualLink Consortium, a group that includes GPU manufacturers NVIDIA and AMD as well as Microsoft, Valve, and Oculus.

Known as "VirtualLink", the open industry standard uses USB-C ports to function.

Virtual reality headsets in the future will only need a single USB-C cable to connect to a PC for both power and data, compared with current versions that require multiple connections.

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The answer should be fairly obvious to anyone who has seen the connectors for first-generation VR headsets. No external power sources are needed either. Also, having a full USB 3.1 Gen 2 connection provides 10Gbps of bandwidth for data transfer for the VR headsets to the host device. A single-connector solution brings immersive VR to small-form-factor devices that can accommodate a single USB Type-C connector.

This comes as an huge boon in further integrating VR as a teaching tool.

Fortunately, today's announcement won't actually muddy the waters of all those APIs, because VirtualLink isn't an API, but a physical connection standard for connecting the rat's nest of cables to your head-mounted display.

The advantage of Virtual Link, however, is crystal clear. And just in time, it seems, with the popularity of headsets starting to explode.

KitGuru Says: This is a good move that will hopefully help cut down on the clutter of VR headsets and improve ease of use. While companies like HTC have been investigating doing away with wires altogether via high-bandwidth and low-latency wireless connections and battery packs, the VirtualLink consortium has a different proposal: Simplifying things down to a single cable with a single USB Type-C connector on the end. But it's easy to have that sense of immersion broken by reams of trailing cables coming from a headset, not to mention the frustration they cause when initially setting up.

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