If you’ve been plugged into the Valve leak-o-verse, you’ve probably come across the name ‘Deckard’, the supposed code name of a standalone headset allegedly under development by the one and only. While Valve isn’t confirming anything about the storied standalone, the company went on record late last year to say they are still have faith in VR, and are critically still working on VR headsets.
Valve product designer Greg Coomer spoke to Korean gaming publication This is Game (Korean) in December, saying that VR is very much still in the works. The interview wasn’t widely shared in the English-speaking side of the Internet until it landed on Reddit, Google-translated to English.
Here’s Coomer’s response to a question about what he can reveal in regard to VR, translated from Korean to English:
There isn’t much (laughter). Nevertheless, I can definitely say that we are continuing to develop VR headsets recently. Valve has a lot of expertise in VR devices and has faith in the medium and VR games.
We hope to remain open on PC platforms rather than having VR games exclusively on a certain platform. While adhering to this belief, we are continuing development.
However, we cannot confirm the existence of specific products or disclose the release date of the results. The same applies to game projects being developed internally. There are certainly many projects underway, but we cannot announce anything today.
As you might gather, Valve doesn’t openly speak about its in-development projects. Hearing that VR is still on the table from Coomer directly though, who has been with Valve since the release of Half-Life (1998), and worked on major games all the way up to Half-Life: Alyx (2020), is just about as good as you can get.
That’s especially so since the last time Valve released any VR hardware was its enthusiast-grade PC VR headset Valve Index in 2019. A year later, the studio launched its only full-length VR game to date, Half-Life: Alyx.
Still, it hasn’t been entirely all quiet on the Valve VR front. In March 2022, Valve chief Gabe Newell called its handheld gaming PC platform Steam Deck “a steppingstone” to standalone VR hardware.
“One of the things [Steam Deck] represents is battery-capable, high-performance horsepower that eventually you could use in VR applications as well. You can take the PC and build something that is much more transportable. We’re not really there yet, but this is a stepping stone.”
At the time, Coomer also noted Steam Deck’s hardware “would run well in that [standalone VR] environment, with the TDP necessary… it’s very relevant to us and our future plans.”
Meanwhile, tech analyst and YouTuber Brad Lynch has been probably the most vocal proponent of all things Steam standalone, having followed the Deckard beat since data miners first found a string in a January 2021 Steam update that mentioned the alleged VR standalone.
Over the following years, Lynch has uncovered mounting evidence in subsequent releases of SteamVR, including his most recent supposition that Deckard may include PC VR wireless streaming capabilities, eye-tracking, and passthrough AR features.
As you’d imagine, there have been no public confirmations from Valve, so we’ll just have to wait and see.