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Behind the scenes: Valve’s hardware department has been keeping itself busy as of late. In addition to the upcoming launch of the Steam Deck handheld PC, the company has apparently been working on a standalone VR headset behind the scenes. Whether or not the device actually materializes into a retail product, however, remains to be seen.
YouTuber Brad Lynch discovered references to a product codenamed “Deckard” in a Valve Lighthouse driver file dating back to January. In an update in June, Valve added a POC-C designation to the reference, suggesting a third proof of concept revision. Such a rapid revision could be an indicator that Valve is investing a lot of time and effort into the project, but the current state of the affairs would seem to suggest otherwise (more on that in a moment).
Lynch also noticed two new entries in the Valve internal menu: Prism and Standalone System Layer. It’s not yet known exactly what these menu options do, but he believes they are related to the new hardware Valve is developing.
Further corroborating the claim is the fact that Ars Technica’s sources were able to confirm that the “information in the wild” is legitimate, “at least in terms of products being made within Valve’s headquarters.” But, whether or not those products will ever see the light of day is a different story.
Valve has a history of conceiving and prototyping projects that ultimately get killed off before they are announced. But perhaps the bigger roadblock for a new VR headset at this point is timing. Valve is already working on manufacturing its Steam Deck, and based on estimated ship dates, they’re already well behind in that effort. The ongoing chip shortage certainly isn’t helping matters, nor is the initial demand for the Steam Deck. So why would Valve further stretch itself to build a standalone VR headset right now?