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Valve appears to have a standalone VR headset in the works

(Photo: Lux Interactive / Unsplash)
A smart internet investigation revealed that Valve may be working on an independent VR headset. According to VR reporter Brad Lynch (AKA SadlyItsBradley on YouTube), patent applications and the SteamVR binary point towards a new VR device in development. Sources for ArsTechnica confirmed rumored earlier this week that Valve is at least playing with the concept behind closed doors.

Lynch found the Deckard’s codename in a string of conveniently unencrypted SteamVR Linux ARM binaries, which also appears to indicate some form of onboard processing. This is vital for the standalone part of the headset, the predecessor of which requires a companion device (usually a gaming PC) to function. Based on the binary highlighted in the Lynchs video, the Deckard already has its own input profile and has been far enough advanced in development to have a third updated proof of concept as recently as June. . A clue to a Wi-Fi driver that could be linked to a two-antenna hardware component patented by Valve in 2020 was also discovered in a SteamVR file. , but the Vader helmetwhich died as a prototype due to its prohibitive cost does not.

YouTube video

Sources connected to Valve have not only confirmed to Ars Technica that the VR headset is currently under development; they’ve also informed the post in the past that Valve may be working on a reverse 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-to-outside tracking was once considered slow compared to outside-to-inside (tracking box) technology, but in recent years the two have basically leveled off.

A handful of comments on the Lynchs video point out that Valve could have used the name Deckard in a not-so-devious way in reference to its latest hardware, the Steam Deck, which is expected to be in the hands of consumers in December. Some speculators go so far as to wonder if the custom AMD processor from the Steam Deck could also end up in the Deckard, but Valve has said in the past that the processor is not optimized for VR. With the Steam Deck at the top of Valves’ task list right now, it’s likely that we won’t know for some time whether the Deckard will ever hit the shelves.

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