Valve’s secret virtual reality headset is codename ‘Deckard’ and could take on Facebook’s Oculus Quest

Valve reportedly has two designs for the virtual reality headset, one that connects to a PC and one that can be used without any cables

Adam Smith
Thursday 30 September 2021 15:20

Video game company Valve is secretly working on a virtual reality headset codenamed “Deckard”, according to leaks and a new report.

Company patent applications reference the device via its codename, with multiple iterations of the headset discovered alongside a “proof of concept” version, first found by YouTuber Brad Lynch.

The device will seemingly use SteamVR in both a “prism” and “standalone system layer”, and although it is unclear exactly what those descriptions refer to “standalone” could mean that the system will work without a connection to a computer.

Valve, according to sources who have spoken to Ars Technica, reportedly had two designs for virtual reality headsets: one that would connect to a PC, and one that would use a built-in processor.

Other specifications found include references to 160MHz wireless signals, which could point to a standalone system but would also match the Wi-Fi 6 controller found in Facebook’s Oculus Quest 2 headsets, so is not a guarantee. There is also a hint of processing built-into the headset as opposed to sending calls to a gaming PC.

According to Ars, Valve initially had difficulty getting “inside-out tracking”, which use cameras mounted on the headset to map the room, to meet the quality of the Oculus Quest 2, but such systems may have improved in quality since.

In the future, virtual reality devices could use lenses that are closer to a user’s face, which may offer better weight distribution, comfort, and performance – and it is suggested that is the direction Valve is now moving towards.

Valve did not respond to a request for comment from The Independent before publication, but a virtual reality headset is not the only product the company has coming.

The Steam Deck, a handheld computer similar to the Nintendo Switch, was announced last July. As well as being able to play games on its own screen, it would also have an accompanying dock to plug it into external displays.

As Ars points out, though, Valve has a long record of starting projects and then killing them before the consumer sees them, such as the infamously rumoured Half Life 3 video game, but these hints indicate that a standalone VR headset from the company is at least being considered.

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