It appears that Valve may be working on a competitor to the Oculus Quest. Eagle-eyed data-miners have discovered what appear to be references to a new Valve-made VR headset codenamed Deckard, and those references suggest that the new headset will be a standalone device. There’s no telling if this device will ever see the light of day, but these clues are enough to suggest that Valve has at least explored the idea of making its own standalone VR headset.
This information comes from YouTuber and VR enthusiast Brad Lynch, who, in a new video, dives into public SteamVR branches to showcase multiple references to Deckard. Combined with information discovered in Valve patent applications, Lynch believes that Deckard is a new VR headset that can operate as a standalone device. That stands in opposition to the Valve Index, which needs to be connected to a PC to function. We’ve embedded Lynch’s video below, so be sure to give it a watch.
While the video is packed from beginning to end with information, there are a few key discoveries to note. The first two are SteamVR internal menu options called “Prism” and “Standalone System Layer,” the latter of which suggests that the VR headset will indeed operate as a standalone device. In addition, Lynch has also discovered a reference to Deckard in a Steam Linux ARM binary.
Ars Technica made things even more interesting by confirming with its sources that Valve had been working on at least two new VR headsets. One of these prototype headsets would need to be tethered to a PC like the original Valve Index, while the other used a built-in processor and offered “inside-out tracking.” Ars even states that Valve has brought on at least one outside company to help it develop inside-out tracking for its standalone VR headset.
Of course, these references are not hard confirmation that Valve will release a standalone VR headset, and Ars notes that Valve has started working on new devices only to kill them off in the prototype phase before. Furthermore, the impending release of the Steam Deck could delay a launch of such a standalone headset as well, but we’ll just have to keep our eyes peeled for any official announcements from Valve in the future.