At the Game Developers Conference 2017 in San Francisco, LG announced its new virtual reality headset prototype, which will be powered by Valve’s SteamVR platform. This brings it into direct competition with the HTC Vive headset - currently the only VR device using SteamVR - as well as the proprietary Oculus Rift and Playstation VR variants that launched in 2016.
Though it hasn't been officially announced, Dutch-speaking site Mobiel Kopen discovered an LG trademark application for the name LG UltraGear. Categorised as "Head-mounted holographic displays; Virtual Reality headsets", it's believed that this is the name of LG's upcoming VR headset.
So what does LG bring to the party? We take a look at the latest LG UltraGear rumours. Oh, and if you're new to the world of virtual reality, take a look at our complete guide to VR.
LG UltraGear VR release date and UK pricing rumours
So far there are no firm details on either the release date or price. One LG spokesperson did say that the unit would probably be comparable to the HTC Vive, which currently sells for £599, and we’d expect it to need high end PC hardware to run smoothly.
We’ll update this page as soon as LG announces more details, so be sure to check back regularly to see what the South Korean giant has in store.
LG UltraGear VR design, features and spec
The most distinctive part of the LG SteamVR headset design is the way that you can adjust the visor position. Most units we’ve seen so far resemble blacked out safety goggles, with the only adjustments that can be made to the chassis being how tight the elasticated strap is fastened.
LG has taken a rather novel approach and come up with a visor that slides forward and then can be flipped up over the wearers head - something like you’d see on an old Knight’s helmet or a welding mask.
The benefits of this design is twofold. First, it means you can talk to people who might come into the room, or take a quick drink or snack, without having to remove the helmet entirely. Second, if you wear glasses you can adjust the distance of the visor from your face, thus making it easier to find a comfortable sweet spot when wearing the device.
Inside the helmet you’ll find twin 3.64in OLED panels with resolutions of 1440x1280 for each eye, both of which refresh at a rate of 90Hz. The PPI is a very impressive 540, which should keep images crystal clear, plus the field of view is a generous 110 degrees. The headset also comes with two handheld controllers similar to that used by the HTC Vive that use the Lighthouse tracking technology to act as your hands in the virtual world.
What is SteamVR?
SteamVR is a platform for virtual reality hardware and software. Created by Valve, the company responsible for the Half-Life, Portal, and Team Fortress game franchises, not to mention Steam, the now de-facto entry-point for PC gaming, it allows companies to build VR equipment that conforms to the wide variety of games available on Steam.
So far this has been the sole preserve of HTC’s Vive, but LG's announcement means that there will soon be competition in this emerging Virtual Reality area.
Rather than just standalone headsets, SteamVR employs the use of two base stations that users place in corners of the room. These stations track the position of the VR device to give it a sense of place and movement in the Virtual world.
As well as being a great way to create an immersive experience within a game, this Room-scale technology (which Valve calls Lighthouse) also means VR is no longer a sedentary activity, with the added safety feature of warning players if they’re about to run head first in a very unvirtual wall.