When it comes Valve, there’s no telling what’s going on behind their Bellevue, Washington doors. As one of the most reclusive developers of both games and hardware, that goes doubly so for its efforts in VR. Now, reported images of what appears to be a never before seen Valve headset have come to light, and it certainly looks the part of a next gen device.

With only the images to go on for now, it’s not clear exactly what we’re looking at, be it a definite next step in Valve’s VR strategy, or a iterative step along with way.

The images were discovered by Reddit user ‘2flock’ in an Imgur album, which contains a number of shots detailing a stack of VR headsets baring open PCBs emblazoned with the Valve logo.

Image courtesy 2flock

Another keen-eyed Redditor, user ‘shoneysbreakfast’, points out that the headset could be sporting some cleverly integrated SteamVR sensors, the type found on HTC Vive, Vive Pro, and Pimax “8K”. They’re difficult to make out, but they’re just barely visible as dimpled imprints in the upper-hand lip of the headset in the shot above.

Image courtesy 2flock

A pronounced slot in the front can also be seen containing what appears to be a USB port for what could be an add-on device. The padding on the headstrap also appear to match the same found on Valve’s latest controller prototype, Knuckles.

Image courtesy 2flock

A remarkably large pair of lenses could mean the headset is intended to give users a wider field of view (FOV) than the HTC Vive’s ~110 degree FOV. A slight flare to the outer rim of the front of the headset suggests a larger display as well to match. A guide for a cable can be seen, marking it as a VR headset intended for use with PCs.

Image courtesy 2flock

Two camera sensors adorn the front of the headset, possibly meaning that it has some sort of optical tracking on-board—although supposing it’s tracked via SteamVR basestations, it’s possible the sensors could be used for AR, or even hand-tracking.

Integrated audio can also be seen, much like HTC’s Vive Pro. The headstrap is also very similar to Vive Pro’s.

There aren’t any legible markings on the headset itself though indicating a manufacturer, so there’s no telling which company was charged with manufacturing the device. The lack of branding, and large quantities of the headsets could also suggest it’s an early developer kit or late stage prototype.


This story is breaking. We’ll update as more information comes in.

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  • gothicvillas

    This came out of nowhere!!

    • dk

      unless they get rid of the whole development team ….they and everyone else will be always working on something behind the curtains

  • Jordan_c

    If you look really closely at the last picture, you can see the positions of the SteamVR IR sensors.

  • S

    The Valve logo is photoshopped. The camera is close enough to warp the board, so if you look closely at chips on the left / right sides you’ll see that they appear to point in different directions. The logo should’ve been photoshopped to appear slightly rotated to the left but they fucked up and rotated it downwards. The actual logo has straight lines so it should stay true to how the rest of the actual HMD is shown.

    Wish it were true, though.

    • T
      • Sandy Wich

        I just edited the logo myself onto 3 dummy headsets in several different places, “I’m an experienced editor btw”, and first try the website believes it’s real.

        Be skeptical.

        • Rosko

          Sure be skeptical it certainly looks a bit wonky but one must consider the fact that this is clearly a high spec unreleased HMD. What motive is there to add the valve logo?

          • Sandy Wich

            What motive has anyone ever had to fake a picture then post it on reddit?

            Luls maybe? Dunno bud

          • Rosko

            Normally its for stuff that has insane hype like next iphone HL2 for example. I don’t think there is much hype around a hmd. I also think if this was fake original pics would have shown up by now. There are some better 4k pics out there as well they don’t look fake to me.

          • Sven Viking

            Though if that was the case, I would’ve expected someone from Valve to have denied it by now. Sure they’re not big on communication (to put it mildly). but not in a way that prevents them from saying a photo’s fake when news sites begin covering the story.

        • Bob

          It’s completely fine to be skeptical and completely fine to be optimistic so there’s no wrong in this area. Yes if it turns out to be fake then tough luck lets move on but if not then at the very least there is something to look forward to.

          • Sandy Wich

            I never said anything was wrong in an area. I just said I used the website myself with my own photoshopped valve logo on and it didn’t show errors.

          • Bob

            No I’m talking about expectations. Obviously you have gone to some lengths to replicate the process that this individual has taken with these photos in order to prove it’s credibility is non-existent.
            And obviously you’re putting some effort in to help people to keep their expectations in check which is not wrong either. But unfortunately things don’t seem to be going in the “right” direction these days in terms of any real gains made with the technical side of VR especially with the whole Oculus and Facebook fiasco, so if some people are adamant that these photos are real then best not to shit on their parade so to speak.

          • Sandy Wich

            I’m not shitting on anyone’s parade, I just noticed oddities and spoke about them. Someone linked a website to prove it’s vilidity, I debunked it with my own edit.

            Maybe it is real, maybe it’s not. TBH I’ve had enough arguments here with desperate VR fans letting addiction cloud their reason and judgment.

            Time will tell if it’s real or not.

  • Leon

    Of course they are working on a second generation headset. Of course it will have a wide FOV. Question is when will it be released. 2019, 2020? But this is no surprise.

  • Jistuce

    I hope the headset is named Half-life 3.

    • SkOrPn

      LOL

    • Cornelis Berg

      nah i heard the prototypename was headcrab..

      They will add the fluffy part later

      • Alpharius

        OMG, if they make a case for the visor that is a giant headcrab, that would be the shit!

  • nipple_pinchy

    Beyond hyped. I’m so excited I’m gonna go punch my neighbor.

    • brubble

      :D

      • nipple_pinchy

        I clobbered her, but then told her “VALVE IS MAKING A VR HEADSET!” and she popped up and high-fived me!

        • brubble

          Yes quite! To be expected.

  • brubble

    Buh buh buh Bonertron! Poke me when its “real”

  • MW

    No specs (and price)-no hype. Especially after vive pro fiasco. If this will be slightly better hmd for more than 1k USD… its really nothing to be interested about.

    • G-man

      when have valve ever priced hardware at a rip off like htc?

  • Meow Smith

    What does the writing on the paper say on the first picture, i can make out the ‘do not’ part but not the rest of it.

    • Mentil

      It says ‘panels do not enumerate properly’. All of the headsets shown have tags attached with similar problems written on them, in addition to a stick with a QR code and various checkboxes. Clearly these are defective units, being sent to QC to iron out production issues. This suggests they are planning to produce a significant number of units, and isn’t a mere internal prototype.

      The angling and number of cameras suggests they’re for passthrough or hand tracking rather than positional tracking, although their lens size suggests higher fidelity than required for hand tracking. That they’re not in the center as with the Vive/Pro makes me wonder even more what plugs into that front USB port. I imagine some EM-invisible faceplate goes over that cavity, where… something… goes and is plugged into that port. A Leap Motion? Compute unit for standalone use? Auxiliary battery to drive the display and sensors when in wireless mode? Clearly they have something important in mind that goes there, an optional accessory.

      Now we know why they’ve been dragging their feet on releasing the Knuckles: they want to release them with this new headset. I expect a CES announcement as with the Pro. The question is, how will they position this headset versus the Pro? The higher FOV would seem to make the Pro obsolete. I always suspected the Pro was intended to be a low-volume stopgap to hold the high end until a Vive 2 came out shortly afterward. The recent addition of asynchronous spacewarp could suggest higher system requirements. I expect this will compete favorably with the Pimax 5k+.

      It looks like the lenses are a fresnel hybrid, with finer/less prominent ridges compared to that of the Vive, which should reduce artifacts.

      • dk

        looking at the size of the module ….it should be an upgradable hand tracking and/or pass through ar module kind of too small for the other things u mentioned …..it would be cool if there was a headset where the entire front of the headset was removable and u could have processing cameras and all sort of stuff in there

      • Meow Smith

        thank you for your in depth reply.

      • Baldrickk

        “Now we know why they’ve been dragging their feet on releasing the Knuckles”
        Well, we all know about Valve time, but yes, it seems so.

    • Log

      My guess is: “Panels do not enumerate consistently” not sure about the first word, “panels” as its pretty obscured.

  • impurekind

    Valve has never convinced me it has the chops to make either great hardware, especially stuff that doesn’t look like prototypes, or genuinely good user interfaces and menu navigation stuff like that (I mean, Steam is a mess imo), so this doesn’t excite me that much to be honest. It’s just going to be another VR headset cluttering up the market and muddying the waters imo. I’m still more excited about the stuff Oculus is doing all round.

    • dk

      well head mounted monitors will be as diverse as desktop monitors ….the more options and more competition the better …as long as they still run the same stuff

      • impurekind

        Yeah, that would indeed be ideal, if they all ran everything and it was just a matter of choosing your preferred platform. I really wish that were the case.

    • K E

      Yes, it’s hard to see what is exciting about this, what’s actually new here? How do we even know the lenses and FOV are bigger, maybe it’s the features around them that are smaller?

      • Jistuce

        The width of the headset and straps is a pretty reliable metric, since it all has to fit over an average human head. The lens centers are also going to be a predictable space apart because of average human head.

        Those are definitely pretty big lenses, though they’re also sticking incredibly far out of the headset, which makes them look even bigger.

        • dsadas

          yeah they are definetly at least 120 fov horizontal, which by comparison vive has 100 and rift 85

          • Baldrickk

            These have been reported elsewhere to have a 135 degree FOV
            As to whether that is horizontal or diagonal, I don’t know, but the Vive and Rift were both marketed as 110…

    • Bob

      This is where HTC comes in. What this project entails is a concept production unit and nothing else…

  • Sandy Wich

    Looks like the logo was photoshopped on to me.

    It’s not hard. Grab a render of the Valve logo, toss it on a new layer and then paste.

    Why would it be off angle? Why is the logo in the back larger in the device than the logo is in the front? Why does the label in the back have smeared gaussian blur while everything else has focus blur?

    Be skeptical.

    • dk

      check the comment about that below

      • Sandy Wich

        I did, and I edited the picture myself with several new logos, “I’m an experienced editor”, and the website they used believed it’s real.

        Again, be skeptical.

        • someoneperson

          Do you have proof?

          • someoneperson

            It’s a shame that it was faked, was oh so looking forward to it D:

          • Sandy Wich

            It’s not garranteed that it’s fake, I might not be reading the website properly so the logo may in fact be real. I’m just saying i quickly edited the logo on several times in different ways and none of them showed up as far as i could tell, so the website could be wrong

          • Sandy Wich

            I also want to emphasize that it was by my standards a very poor edit, someone who does this for luls all the time could have done it significantly better.

          • someoneperson

            One of the pictures were taken on 7/25/2018

          • Baldrickk
        • dk

          yes I am skeptical of u :P ….because yes obviously the slight angle is super mildly interesting and the logo on the headset in the back has something additional under it ….and obviously u can photoshop anything no shit ….aaaand there is no reason to do it in this case and it can’t be demonstrated to be photoshoped
          ….and according to uploadvr……. “According to our independent sources this is in fact a Valve HMD. We’ve also heard the field of view will be 135 degrees with the Vive Pro resolution and it should come bundled with Knuckles controllers as well as a Half-Life based VR game.”
          aaand these images don’t mean anything as far as what r their exact plans and even if they make it it’s a super mild update compared to existing stuff

          • Sandy Wich

            You’re skeptical of me because I found oddities in a leaked picture from the internet? Why did you even type that paragraph?

          • dk

            everyone can see those “oddities” u didn’t find anything….I found those interesting too for half a sec ….there’s no reason anyone to alter it or to assume that it is ….and it can’t be demonstrated that it is photoshoped ….u would have found something if it can be demonstarted that it is photoshoped ….like this https://petapixel.com/assets/uploads/2016/01/photoshopped.jpg
            I wrote all that because apparently I like to waste my time……no other particular reson

          • Sandy Wich

            You’re so desperate for it to be real you’re letting your addiction make you combative for no good reason. I’ll pass on talking to you about this further.

          • dk

            xD lol I don’t give a shit if it’s real it’s not a massive improvement in any way …it’s actually kind of annoying how tiny is the improvement over existing stuff
            1 u can’t demonstrate that it is photoshoped
            2 there is absolutely no reason to get some dev headsets from somewhere that no one has seen and stamp valve on them
            3 uploadvr has verified to some extent that it is valve headsets
            …..these things doesn’t mean I’m desperate for it to be real ….it’s just the facts …..for all we know they r just developing stuff in house in hope to one day release something ….and in the end nothing will reach the market ….or it might come 2 years after these pics

    • Rogue Transfer

      You’ll notice the logo in the back appears to be stretched due to the camera’s edge barrel distortion(the ICs next to it suffer the same vertical stretching). It’s unlikely to be a photoshop, as there appears to be additional white text under the second logo, that a fake editor would have removed(or not introduced) around the logo.

      There’s also a subtle curving down of the components that matches the front Valve logo’s angle, from the camera’s lens distortion.

      • Sandy Wich

        The logo is smeared while the circuitry right beside it on all sides isn’t? The wording on the black chip is the same size just blurred while the valve logo box has doubled in size?

        As for the extra white underneath the text in the background I’ve already upscaled the image with imaging software and it’s circuitry not text. For whatever reason why there is circuits in the back headset where there aren’t any in the front is beyond me.

        But idk, maybe it’s hand stamped or something? maybe they were units made at different times that aren’t completely identical?

        Hmm, I remain skeptical.

    • G-man

      yeah, just photoshop the logo onto some pictures of vr headsets that look exactly like valve knuckles that some other company made, why?

      • Sandy Wich

        Don’t ask me why thousands of people have faked images of stuff online and them posted them on reddit. Maybe it gives em kicks? Maybe they’re trolls. ./shrug

      • A possibility but then Valve would come out and denounce it to save face with their current hardware partners. Their current hardware partners would announce that to the world straight away. That has not happened.

        • G-man

          what hardware partners? htc? i think htc has burned the bridge with valve at this point after what they did with the pro.

  • Tom Szaw

    nice

    • G-man

      that would be even harder to make work then a flat screen.

      • Yes, it would be, but it adds more flexibility in design, less weight, smaller HMD, larger FoV. Definitly not something for gen 2 tho.

    • James Cobalt

      Would require eye tracking to account for the distortion.

  • Andrew McEvoy

    Hello!

  • Smokey_the_Bear

    We know when they were taken. :p
    The second pic, pc screen, 12:04pm, 7/25/2018

    • I have noticed that as well

    • HybridEnergy

      They’ll check camera logs now and someone’s fired. lol

  • Firestorm185

    that slot looks about the size of a Leap Motion, don’t ya think?

    • mirak

      It’s also the size of an intel compustick.

  • Bob

    The secret has been revealed which means Valve has now officially scrapped this project.

  • Cool! I wonder if Valve plans to build its own headset or will just produce a reference design for HTC and other partners (like LG?) to follow. Currently, selling licenses for hardware and games, they’re doing pretty well, so maybe the second, but who knows.

    • Bob

      Valve is a technology company that creates the technology and then licenses to other partners that have the manufacturing power to mass produce and move units that use their technology i.e. HTC.

      Most likely is that this is a reference design (hence the terrible form factor and aesthetic design shown on these images) to prove that the technology works and then other companies will consist of the same internals but be “superficially” different.

      On a final note getting into manufacturing (mass production) and moving units is a completely different beast from actually doing the R&D and creating the technology so it’s certain that Gabe Newell doesn’t want the massive cost and risk associated with selling HMD’s themselves especially after they tried and in some way failed with the Steam Controller.

      • G-man

        they literally bought a factory/manufacturing devision so they can produce their own hardware.

        • Proof XR Lab

          large automated plant in illinois

  • ummm…

    count me in!!!!!

  • Brian Brown

    I’m going to come out and say it. These photos show real SteamVR HMD’s. You can argue semantics all day long, but when you look at the details it’s very clear.

    Also: https://uploadvr.com/images-of-prototype-valve-vr-headset-leak/

  • Maciej Soinski

    They planned to release Knuckles in 2019, so regarding its Valve I guess we should expect release of HMD + Knuckles + Half Life game in 2020.

  • John Horn

    It’s hard to tell how large an FOV the lenses will project, but first impressions is: Fresnel lenses with similar dimensions to Vive. If they don’t go higher FOV on this, and if they don’t include eye tracking, I’ll be very disappointed.

    • dsadas

      watch again dumbass this is much bigger fov than vive

      • Andrew Jakobs

        Oh you can see it without any real prove? Maybe you shouldn’t call someone a dumbass if it isn’t clear cut.

        • John Horn

          I’m sure he thinks calling people dumbass works great in his life.;)
          Some poor sod has to work with him irl.

  • Foreign Devil

    Valve can easily pull ahead of Oculus now for premium VR experience. Facebook is no longer making that market a priority. I’ll switch over when they do release their next gen HMD.

    • mirak

      It’s here that Oculus have shot itself in the foot by not supporting other headsets in their store.

  • AJ_74

    For the low low price of $1999.00.

  • Ome

    Something I would really like in VR that I think is overlooked in near future is a ventilation system so you can feel fresh air on your face. Little fans or something. One of the reasons VR gets uncomfortable long sessions is the feeling of a suction cup on your face and no airflow.

    • HybridEnergy

      This was tried in the lab by the people who made the little fan attachment and they said it caused massive dry eye and irritation.

    • Strawb77

      the mesh parts could be for some form of vent/ilation- perhaps a more subtle application than the fan attachment, perhaps circulate air around the frame.
      a passive system using no parts would add no weight, expense to production costs- or de-immersive vibration, noise or draught.

    • MadMonkey

      We’ve been using fans for headsets for years in the RC FPV world but that’s usually only for a few minutes at a time, as HybridEnergy said it can dry your eyes out quickly during a long play session. For FPV it’s more of a necessity to prevent fogging because they’re mostly used outdoors; I would think that venting would suffice for VR if it’s used in a cool room.

  • dsadas

    If I had to have a blind guess it looks to have 125 horizontal FOV. It’s not anywhere enough for me other than buy it and then returned it back after 1 month. Anyway it’s a significant improvments from the last gen, but nowhere near to be considered gen 2. For example vive has 100 Horizontal Fov and oculus 85 horizontal fov(lol this is really small).

  • Skippy76

    I sure hope its a new iteration of Vive. My 2 year old headset and controllers are falling appart and I dont want to invest in the vive pro. I want a whole new setup instead of replacing overpriced components.

    • G-man

      yep, hopefully valve will release these soon and htc can go bankrupt

      • Strawb77

        htc can go [dosomething] to themselves the greedy [somethingelse] [someotherthing]ers

  • Aeroflux

    If Valve were to release a headset, I would buy it without hesitation. I have no love for HTC and their divisive and pricey tactics. They capitalized on the vitriol of outliers to spearhead their product. I would have put up with the Vive’s small sweetspot and perceptible fresnel steps in the lens design, the crappy microphone, and the elastic headband otherwise. With each step taken by Valve/HTC (tracking pucks, Wireless solution, improved headband, improved base stations), reason is whittling down my reserve. Now that Valve is turning to their own manufacturer, the only argument I have against their VR solution has been absolved.

    I have long been a supporter of the VR dream, and anyone with a history to it would also have been a dedicated fan of Oculus–even if the measure of time they supported the company differs. I would argue that Oculus is now a shell of the VR enthusiast’s dream it used to be. “Still working” on PCVR is a hollow statement in the face of actual progress being achieved by competing pioneers.

    Instability in their competition is the only saving grace by which Oculus can stagnate the advance of their hardware, and soon that strategy will crumble. They choose not to strive beyond the boundaries of PC VR, instead focusing on the perception of what mobile VR is, pandering to masses that have no love for the potential of VR in general.

    It is now clear to me, in what should be called the 3rd generation of mobile VR, that Oculus is not focusing on PCVR. Comparatively, they have focused on mobile software as well, leaving PC users to little or no advance. I would boldly claim we were lucky enough if we received the scraps from their table of mobile development.

    OC5 was a blatant “Fuck Off” to PC users with their decision to livestream only to mobile VR users with their core software. It is a statement I cannot forget. PC users were reduced to watching the conference in BigScreen, which was ridden with audio and visual bugs.

    I have been waiting for a viable alternative for a while. Though I am among the few with this perception as many would argue, that did not deter me from supporting Oculus when they were unknown to most. I will still buy the Quest–because it presses innovation into the vacuum of mobile VR, but it will play a distant second to the focus I now put on Valve. I am a PC user first.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      For pcvr to move forward to real gen2, the gpu’s need to get much more powerfull for half the current price (and I’m referring to the regular 2080 in regard to pricing). Up tillthen, advanced pcvr will only be for companies and done by small specialized companies with headsets costing thousands of dollars (which isn’t a high price in industrial settings).

      • Baldrickk

        More powerful is nice, but there are definitely optimisations that can be done – foveated rendering for one – that will allow more detailed/higher resolution environments on current hardware.
        I’m looking forward to what could be done with ray-tracing tech – look for the two part nvidia feature article on this site to see more about that.

        • Andrew Jakobs

          But for foveated rendering to work properly it also needs extra hardware like good eyetracking (which is still in it’s infancy).

          • Baldrickk

            True, but it’s something that they are working hard on – cracking it will allow “PC” level graphics on mobile devices, and much more realistic graphics on tethered headsets, but also lower bandwidth requirements for wireless links.

          • Ama Trykowski

            Foveated rendering and eyetracking is in a more than usable status and works very good. Star VR started to sell devices with this features for 3200€.

        • nipple_pinchy

          Exactly. PC VR is great for demoing to people but it won’t be the future that makes VR mainstream and attracts billions of people.

          Foveated rendering will narrow the gap between PCVR and mobile VR performance and graphical potential.

      • Icebeat

        wrong, programmers need to optimize more their code, why Skyrim VR can run without problems while the rest of games look like dogshit cantoons?

        • Andrew Jakobs

          Wrong, it’s not as simple as just optimizing your code, especially on PC. On a console you can try an optimize it as best as you can do it, as the whole system is identical for everybody and has less overhead than a PC. And with Skyrim VR you should not forget that it was already developed by a very professional team (it actually uses a lot of the original skyrim game itself), and most of the games you refer to are simple indiegames.

  • James Clerk Maxwell

    Gus Fring building his underground lab is an amateur

  • JesuSaveSouls
  • JesperL

    What a bomb it would be, if Valve fooled everyone, and released a new Halflife3 for VR with their own Valve VR HMD haha. Maybe a month exclusive for Valve VR, then released for rest of SteamVR headsets.
    Just dreaming here. That would be the 1 title, that would get the entire gaming market on its toes. That would be the killer app, that VR needs.

  • HybridEnergy

    but we’re all used to wireless now. No mention of wireless adapter support. Just interested in the Knuckles and HL VR I guess.

  • Sandy Wich

    Blows me away how much desperation there is in the VR community that people blindly believe a completely random posted picture beyond any amount of common sense or history of leaks.

    Like, yea. The headset could be real, but the need for it to be legit is so strong it’s completely overwriting common sense. I see people here just flat out agreeing with blind hope for no logical reason. It blows my mind. Aren’t VR enthusiasts supposed to be older? Supposed to be wiser?

    Thousands of, “leaks”, like this have happened over the years, totally fake, yet everyone immediately treats this one like it’s fact?

    Are you people serious?

  • Andreas Setterlind

    To me it is almost clear that the pronounced slot in the front must be meant for hand-tracking options like the Leap Motion.

    Leap Motion has at least that exact footprint, maybe Valve means that anyone can make hardware accessories though?

  • oompah

    I would urge Valve to hire a supercomputer
    calculate Computer Generated Holograms(CGH)
    stream CGH to each user as monochrome pattern .
    At user end a laser light would reconstruct the hologram
    or
    stream ray traced (or otherwise) its games using back end servers.

  • AZ

    Valve talk alot but when it comes to releasing… they are never to be seen

  • I’m more wondering if their new headset will cause me vastly less pain then their old one. It’s like a nail in the back of my head! Even the new strap didn’t help. I haven’t touched it in months. Oculus, FTW!

  • Kenji Fujimori

    Crap

  • G-man

    why are you talking about pimax now? valve isnt pimax.