Valve Patent Filing Shows It is Working on a New Wireless Headset
Valve may soon announce a new Virtual Reality headset codenamed “Deckard” based on information from a SteamVR beta update.
Valve’s flagship Index headset has been in the market for three years now and still offers best-in-class audio quality and tracking although its 1600 x 1440 resolution has since been outdone by subsequent low and high-end virtual reality headsets such as the Quest 2, HTC Vive Pro2, and the Varjo Aero.
Hints of the new headset which has been codenamed Deckard were first discovered in a SteamVR driver last September by YouTuber and XR analyst Brad Lynch (SadlyItsBradley).
Deckard is the surname of the protagonist in Blade Runner and is probably also referencing Steam Deck.
Valve product designer Greg Coomer said last year that the Steam Deck’s chip would “run well in that (standalone headset) environment” and that it was very relevant to Valve and its future plans.
In February this year, Valve president Gabe Newell said that Steam Deck is a stepping stone toward a better high-performance standalone virtual reality headset although he noted that the company isn’t “really there yet” in realizing that product/vision.
Ars Technica, quoting its sources, reported that Valve had at least virtual reality headset concepts lined up and that these had diverged gradually, with one needing a PC and tracking base stations and the other headset being standalone and with an onboard computing unit like the Meta Quest headsets.
The Brad Lynch discovery suggests that Valve’s Deckard headset will be a standalone device. Lynch discovered a “Standalone System Layer” option inside the hidden SteamVR ‘Valve Internal’ tab. He also discovered a Linux-only binary referencing of the Deckard headset which reportedly instructs the device to reboot to a default application. Valve’s Linux distro is dubbed SteamOS and this is also what Steam Deck runs.
Lynch also reports that a driver known as VRLink was incorporated in SteamVR with a code that references a Wi-Fi 6 driver and that this update broke some of the wireless setups in HTC Vive temporarily.
Based on these discoveries, it is likely that the Deckard standalone headset will feature a PC VR streaming function like the Virtual Desktop and Quest’s Air Link.
Steam VR will be able to simply create a Wi-Fi Hotspot for Valve Deckard to easily connect to for Wireless PC VR pic.twitter.com/Iz2YMm1Tpr
— Brad Lynch (@SadlyItsBradley) June 15, 2022
Another Lynch finding this week also suggests that SteamVR will allow PCs with Wi-Fi connection to more easily create a direct hotspot to the virtual reality headset. Meta is likely planning the same functionality with a USB dongle.