Valve is keeping busy. The company has dramatically increased the number of changes made to SteamVR over the past two months including updates that could be aimed at a new headset. Whether this is Valve placing the groundwork for its next-gen VR headset—it's Valve, we really don't know what that company is up to—it does appear that a major rework of SteamVR is on the horizon.
SteamVR powers virtual reality experiences via the Steam client. The software, which drives the Valve Index among other VR headsets, is currently on version 1.27. Though some expect the recent flurry of updates to accumulate into a major feature release.
News comes from Brad Lynch (SadlyItsBradley) over on X, who has been keeping an eagle-eye on the releases for SteamVR so far. They note a couple of key updates.
First and foremost, a new VR dashboard coming to Steam. From various lines of code, it appears this will include new icons, UI, and settings for VR headsets using SteamVR. More importantly, they also spotted code for battery indicators and status within the dashboard—you don't need those for a tethered headset, such as the Valve Index, so what might they be for?
Steam VR Client had another ridiculously large update with a ton of new VR focused implementations. Gonna be a wild night on my Twitter!Lets start off with these! Which include battery information for.. some sort of Standalone HMD thing 🤔 pic.twitter.com/tSvwKSSJxpSeptember 21, 2023
There's also a new feature for Steam's Remote Play that is able to check if users are streaming games with a VR headset, and a new collection for VR apps in the library.
SadlyItsBradley even put together a handy graph to show the recent flurry of activity.
Amount of changes to the Internal-Valve version of Steam VR per monthThey’ve been working very hard recently on what I’m expecting to be the legendary SteamVR 2.0 pic.twitter.com/7ue4Kz2gdCSeptember 20, 2023
Within the same time frame as these updates, a mysterious Valve hardware device was registered for radio certification in South Korea. What that is remains a mystery, but all these leaks are happening suspiciously close together. I'm not the only one who thinks there's something afoot. In fact, true believers think this is all leading up to one thing: Valve's Deckard headset.
The Deckard headset has been rumoured since 2021, when patents filed by Valve for a wireless VR headset with eye tracking were uncovered. Then, later that same year, SadlyItsBradley noted the name "Deckard" in driver files included with SteamVR. Another wireless headset patent appeared in 2022, filed late in 2021, and since then we've never really heard the end of this would-be Valve hardware.
If this recent activity tells us anything—and it's not that a new VR headset is absolutely guaranteed, I'm afraid—it is that we can expect to hear about the shiny new thing very soon. Whether that's a fresh-faced VR integration in Steam, SteamVR 2.0, or a standalone headset, keep an eye on Valve's feed over the next few months. Something's cooking.