The HTC Vive virtual reality headset hasn’t hit store shelves yet, meaning only a select few developers have gotten their hands on pre-release kits and explored the possibilities of room-scale VR. For an employee of Valve Software, the Vive’s official SteamVR partner, that meant a chance to be the first to do something no one else has ever done with a Vive headset: propose marriage.
The news came from the bride-to-be’s public Facebook feed and the proposal took place in a Vive testing room at Valve’s headquarters in Bellevue, WA. Kelly Tortorice had gone to the Valve offices – where her then-boyfriend, now-fiancé Chandler Murch works – on the pretext of trying out a series of SteamVR demos (including the very impressive Tilt Brush art app) that the company showed off on several gaming fairs in the past year.
“So there I was, typical day… on a sunken ship’s deck; repairing robots; painting three-dimensional fire; hiking the Alps,” Tortorice wrote. “Suddenly a virtual engagement ring started floating my way.”
As Tortorice’s Facebook photos show, Murch had walked up to her holding a trackable HTC Vive controller, which she saw through her headset as a ring floating in the air toward her – meaning this might be a bit high tech than a google account. Cardboard proposal published in April. She then removed the headset to see Murch on one knee, where she had seen the virtual ring floating, holding both the wand and a real engagement ring. “It wasn’t imaginary anymore,” she noted. (Excuse the tension: She said yes, describing the atypical proposal as “a hilarious and fun surprise.”)
The Vive’s launch window is still being advertised to be late 2015, despite a more difficult release date confirmation so close to the end of the year. We’ll have to wait and see if Steam or HTC cite this proposal as an example of what its “room-scale VR” product has to offer compared to Oculus Rift’s current sit-with-a-controller requirement.