A patent application (opens in new tab) made by Valve in December 2021 has surfaced, as of June 16, and in it, there appear plans for a new VR headset that could form the basis of a standalone unit. This is a patent application, so it’s no guarantee that such a headset exists, or will exist, although it does highlight the fact that Valve is still actively working on VR.
The patent itself mainly focuses on the securing mechanisms between a “front housing” and “rear housing” of the HMD, that’s a head-mounted display by the way. There are side members that have room for wires as well as a member that goes over the top of the head, with a pair of tightening mechanisms on the rear unit to make sure that the headset is secure and comfortable.
Most of the patent appears to focus on these retention mechanisms and the side arm elements. But towards the end of the 53-page patent application, there are a few notes about what could be contained in that rear housing, including “battery(ies), antenna(s), processor(s), printed circuit boards (PCBs), etc.” Essentially the sort of stuff you would absolutely need for a stand-alone VR headset akin to the Quest 2 (opens in new tab).
The fact that Valve has been rumored to be working on such a device for a while now, and that we even know there’s a codename “Deckard” doing the rounds, lines up to make this an interesting release.
The Oculus Quest 2 has proved that there’s plenty of interest in untethered VR, and while we PC gamers may be more interested in high-end tethered offerings, the maker of the best PC VR solution working on a standalone headset does make sense. The Quest doubles as a tethered device, anyways, so the same could be true of some future standalone Valve number.
If it isn’t self-powered, I just hope it isn’t powered by a Steam Deck (opens in new tab), because that’s a recipe for disaster and vomit. Wirelessly streaming from a PC would be a far more interesting concept, but we’ll have to see what Valve releases if anything at all.