The HTC Vive virtual reality headset hasn’t yet reached store shelves, meaning only a select few developers have gotten their hands on pre-release kits and explored the possibilities of “room-scale” VR. For one staffer at Valve Software, the Vive’s official SteamVR partner, that meant an opportunity to claim first dibs on doing something nobody 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—under the pretenses of trying out a range of SteamVR demos (including the very-impressive Tilt Brush art app) that the company has shown off at various gaming expos in the past year.
“So there I was, typical day… on a sunken ship deck; fixing robots; painting three-dimensional fire; walking through the Alps,” Tortorice wrote. “Suddenly, a virtual engagement ring started floating my way.”
As Tortorice’s Facebook photos reveal, Murch had walked toward her while holding a trackable HTC Vive wand controller, which she saw through her headset as a ring floating toward her in mid-air—meaning, this was perhaps a bit higher-tech than a Google Cardboard proposal that was publicized in April. She then took the headset off to see Murch on one knee, where she’d seen the virtual ring floating, with both the wand and a real engagement ring in his hands. “It wasn’t imaginary anymore,” she noted. (Pardon the suspense: She said yes, and she described the atypical proposal as “a hilarious and fun surprise.”)
The Vive’s retail launch window is still being advertised as the end of 2015, in spite of any harder release-date confirmation this close to the end of the year. We’ll have to wait and see whether Steam or HTC mention this proposal as an example of what its “room-scale VR” product can offer compared to Oculus Rift’s current sit-with-a-controller requirement.