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.
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.
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.
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.
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.