You might remember back in 2019 that Valve released a VR device called Index VR which had to be tethered to a PC in order for it to function. This Valve VR headset was sophisticated but also expensive and difficult to get a hold of. But it did represent a strong competitor to the Oculus range of devices.
Excitingly, it seems that there may be a new version on the way that will give Oculus a run for its money. And if true, it could be a significant boost for the entire industry.
A YouTuber by the name of Brad Lynch stumbled across some evidence of the new device, when looking at patent applications and source code from Valve, a company that is one of the few that can rival what Oculus is doing. He found reference to project Deckard and it was later confirmed by a couple of other people who chased the story after he broke it.
This is great news for an industry that has been clamouring for more competition in the VR space. Valve themselves haven’t said anything directly about the project. But if you read between the lines into some of their interviews, it certainly seems like something is going on.
The most exciting piece of the discovery of the Valve VR headset is that it looks like the device is going to be standalone. Without requiring any additional hardware to run. This has been the holy grail for VR for some time. It will make things much more widely applicable to a range of business use cases.
It appears that Valve has been working on built-in processors for some time and even though they haven’t announced any specific VR use cases, it would make a lot of sense for them to do so if they are to compete with other standalone VR units on the market.
For organizations who use VR for their day-to-day operations, it would be a big deal to have a viable competitor to Oculus, Pico and HTC that offers a high-quality standalone VR device. Valve is known for delivering great units, albeit at quite a high price. But for those who value quality and have a specific use case in mind, this represents an exciting new entrant into the space.
Having a standalone device on the workplace floor can be game-changing for bringing VR into high-stakes work environments. As one example, it can enable practical training programmes that are not constricted to where a cord can reach. You have much more freedom and flexibility to integrate the technology into any use case that you can imagine.
With all that being said, it’s worth noting that Valve has killed off internal projects in the past, so we’ll have to wait and see how things develop. However, as this seems to be a key growth driver for the company going forward, we’re cautiously optimistic that this device will come to market in the near future.