Valve Appears to Have a Standalone VR Headset in the Works

Valve Appears to Have a Standalone VR Headset in the Works

Lynch found the codename for the Deckard in a string of conveniently unencrypted SteamVR Linux ARM binary, which seems to also point toward a form of built-in processing. This is vital to the “standalone” part of the headset, whose predecessor requires a companion device (typically a gaming PC) to work. Based on the binary highlighted in Lynch’s video, the Deckard already possesses its own input profile and has found itself far enough into development to have a third “proof of concept” updated as recently as this June. Also uncovered in a SteamVR file was a hint to a Wi-Fi driver that may be related to a two-antennae piece of hardware Valve patented in 2020. The Valve Index, codenamed “Utah” during development, makes an appearance a few times in the code, but the “Vader” headset—which died as a prototype due to its prohibitively high cost—does not.

Sources connected to Valve have not only confirmed to Ars Technica that the VR headset is actually in development; they’ve also advised the publication in the past that Valve might be working toward “inside-out” tracking for the new device. This form of tracking, found in the Oculus Quest and Vive Cosmos, allows the user to enjoy the multidimensional VR experience without having to set up annoying tracking boxes first. Inside-out tracking was once considered laggy compared to “outside-in” (tracking box) technology, but over the last few years, the two have basically leveled out.

A handful of comments on Lynch’s video point out that Valve could have been not-so-sneakily using the name “Deckard” in reference to its latest piece of hardware, the Steam Deck, which is expected to be in consumers’ hands this December. Some speculators go so far as to wonder if the customized AMD processor in the Steam Deck could also find its way into the Deckard, but Valve has said in the past that the processor isn’t optimized for VR. With the Steam Deck at the top of Valve’s to-do list right now, it’s likely we won’t find out for a while if the Deckard will ever hit shelves.

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