High Tech

Valve VR patent stirs up fresh hopes about rumored standalone Deckard headset

Valve’s most recent VR headset was 2019’s high-powered, high-priced Valve Index. But rumors have long been swirling that the company is working on another device — a standalone headset code-named “Deckard.” Well, here to give that rumor-pot a fresh stir is a recently-published patent application from the company that could reveal Deckard itself.

Of course, the usual caveats apply: patents are patents, not product roadmaps. And the language used within applications likes this are so purposefully broad as to resist much close-reading.

But the images — ah, the images — they do tell a story. Or at least, they give your imagination enough leeway to tell a story of its own, about the perfect standalone VR headset built by Valve itself. Perhaps. You can judge for yourself below:

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The rear of the headset.

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Another rear-side view.

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A top down view of the headset.

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The face gasket for the headset’s screen.

It’s probably not wise to think of these images as the rough draft of a Deckard headset. In fact, the bulk of the patent’s written portion is concerned (in some detail) with the device’s headstrap, and how exactly users can tighten and loosen it for the optimum fit. If you felt like a bit of idle speculation, you might compare this focus on fit to complaints that the Index was notably bulky, but prioritizing comfort is hardly surprising for a VR headset.

More notable, perhaps, is the latest round of data-mined leaks about Deckard, extracted from official code by Brad Lynch, a YouTuber who’s been tracking the development of Deckard as assiduously as, well, a bounty hunter running down a replicant.

In a recent YouTube video, Lynch pulled out a number of Deckard-coded dev tools and the like from the latest SteamVR beta, suggesting Valve is quite far along with productizing whatever this new headset may turn out to be. And with the recent launch of the Steam Deck proving that Valve can still surprise, delight (and frustrate) with its hardware efforts, perhaps Deckard itself really is getting closer. Watch this space.

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