Over the previous yr, a lot of the thrill surrounding Valve, the corporate behind Steam, has involved the Steam Deck. However, regardless of the hype-filled launch of its handheld game console, plainly Valve hasn’t forgotten about its different gaming gadget endeavor: digital actuality (VR). In reality, it seems as if the corporate’s dive into transportable gaming expertise with the Steam Deck could also be an indicator of what’s to return from Valve within the VR area.

Valve is already planning a Steam Deck 2, and, throughout an interview about this future gadget, Gabe Newell, the co-founder and president of Valve, stated that some sort of VR functionality might make its strategy to the Steam Deck. Beyond the Steam Deck itself, the expertise powering the hand held console would possibly allow Valve to supply a wi-fi VR headset akin to Meta’s Oculus Quest 2. Back in August of final yr, Greg Coomer, a product designer at Valve, answered a query about whether or not the Steam Deck’s customized APU would possibly seem in a standalone VR headset by saying, “We’re not ready to say anything about it, but it would run well in that environment, with the TDP necessary… it’s very relevant to us and our future plans.

Design photos included within the patent software

Fast ahead to this week, and the US Patent & Trademark Office made public a design patent software filed by Valve in December. The patent software depicts a head-mounted show (HMD) or VR headset, although the patent appears to be for an adjustable strap with included audio system, moderately than a full VR headset. The patent software contains many detailed photos depicting the interior workings of the strap’s two adjustable knobs, in addition to the articulating headphones.

Nonetheless, the pictures and descriptions appear to level to a attainable wi-fi headset. The total design depicted within the photos appears fairly just like Valve’s present wired VR headset, the Valve Index. However, where the Index is open within the again, the design depicted within the patent software features a rear housing. In regards to this extra element, one of many descriptions reads, “The harness may couple to a rear housing disposed at the back of the HMD. The rear housing may accommodate various computing components of the HMD.” Another part of the doc (PDF) says that attainable parts may embody each a battery and processors.

Screenshot of SteamVR settings displaying a Wi-Fi hotspot characteristic (source: Brad Lynch)

This info might level to a standalone wi-fi VR headset from Valve, however a wi-fi VR headset doesn’t essentially need to function unbiased of a desktop PC. An prolonged actuality (XR) {hardware} analyst by the title of Brad Lynch discovered a preliminary setting for SteamVR that may create a Wi-Fi hotspot, presumably so a VR headset may connect with a gaming PC in a wi-fi method. The PC would drive the HMD in such a configuration for higher efficiency than a cellular chip may handle. A wi-fi VR headset with an built-in APU may doubtlessly have the choice of working independently or connecting to a PC through Wi-Fi for improved efficiency and graphical constancy.

This similar analyst beforehand discovered proof in SteamVR software program that Valve’s subsequent technology VR headset is presently codenamed “Deckard.” Deckard is the final title of the protagonist within the sci-fi novel, later tailored right into a film, Blade Runner. The title additionally contains “Deck,” doubtlessly indicating that the headset will certainly be powered by the Steam Deck’s customized APU.

Top picture courtesy of Valve