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The HTC Vive headset
The HTC Vive headset

Developers who want to get early access to Valve’s virtual reality headset can now apply for a free development kit that should help jump-start their development for the company’s platform. Under the program, selected developers get a free HTC Vive headset that they can use to build games for the SteamVR platform when it launches later this year.

The applications will be competitive, but Valve said that it wants to make the hardware available to as many people as possible.

“Our goal is to support as many VR content creators as possible and, to that end, we will be distributing dev kits continually, with new units going out every couple weeks,” Chet Faliszek, a writer at Valve, said in a blog post announcing the plans. “However, supplies may be limited.”

The program should help both developers and Valve as the hardware hurtles toward release. Valve will need plenty of content to get its platform off the ground and make the Vive an interesting product for consumers, and developers will need hardware to test their experiences before SteamVR goes live.

Developers who don’t get the hardware right away will still be able to follow along with the developments on Valve’s platform thanks to a public SteamVR Developer Hardware group that will provide them with updates about what’s going on with the hardware and SteamVR as a whole.

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