Valve has filed a new patent for what looks to be a new VR headset, separate from the Index. Leaks call it the "Deckard", a successor and likely what was first reported in September 2021 as an Oculus Quest 2 competitor.
The patent page lists it as being a wired headset with notably large speakers and a wider facial interface. Interestingly, as pointed out by XR hardware analyst Brad Lynch, there's also communication between the front and back units.
However, while wired, there are hints that the Deckard will also work wireless as Steam VR's beta settings list a Wi-Fi hotspot you can toggle for the Deckard. Lynch also notes the Deckard Dev tools which, in a code snippet, show lighthouse paring. But for the average user, the highlight of the Deckard looks to be its more ergonomic design and slimmer build. Comfort appears to be a key part of the design.
It's unclear when we can expect it to be announced, let alone launched. Patents, leaks, and information found in VR betas point to the Deckard being close to finalising production but, similar to when the Deck was first announced, it could be as far as a year out before we can get our hands on it. Maybe longer. All we can do is speculate.
However, it should be said that the patent features sketches of the design, not an actual look at the product. Nonetheless, you can see the components, its general design, and more embedded above, giving a good indicator of what the Deckard will look like when it is revealed.
In other Valve tech news, the Steam Deck's docking station has been delayed indefinitely "due to parts shortages and COVID closures at our manufacturing facilities". Valve added, "We're working on improving the situation and will share more info when we have it." However, this won't impact the production schedule for the Steam Deck itself.
Regardless of these setbacks, Valve is still pushing forward with its tech development and the Deckard is the latest in that line of advancements.
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