Valve is a notorious black box when it comes to basically everything. A recent update to Steam client for VR though suggests the company is still working behind the scenes on what appears to be its long-awaited standalone VR headset.

As revealed by tech analyst and consummate Steam data miner Brad Lynch, a recent update to Steam’s client included a number of VR-specific strings related to batteries, which seems to support the idea that Valve is currently readying the platform for some sort of standalone VR headset.

Image courtesy Brad Lynch

The update also included mention of new UI elements, icons, and animations added to the Steam Client for VR—something it probably wouldn’t do for a competitor’s headset, like Meta’s soon-to-release Quest 3 standalone.

Meanwhile, South Korean’s National Radio Research Agency (RAA) recently certified a “low-power wireless device” from Valve, also spotted by Lynch. It’s still too early to say whether the device in question is actually a standalone VR headset—the radio certification only mentions it uses 5 GHz wireless—however headsets like Meta Quest 2 are equally as vague when it comes to RAA listings.

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Granted, Valve hasn’t come out and said it’s developing a standalone VR headset yet, although with mounting competition from Apple and Meta, 2024 may be the year we finally see the ‘Index of standalone VR’ come to the forefront. Valve Index has widely been regarded as the ‘best fit’ PC VR headset, owing to its excellent quality, performance, and comfort—something we called “the enthusiast’s choice” in our full review of the headset back when it launched in 2019.

But it hasn’t been entirely mum either. In early 2022, Valve chief Gabe Newell called its handheld gaming PC platform Steam Deck “a steppingstone” to standalone VR hardware, nothing that Steam Deck represented “battery-capable, high-performance horsepower that eventually you could use in VR applications as well.”

– – — – –

While a capable, high-end standalone VR headset from Valve is certainly something to salivate over, a few big questions remain: What will happen when Valve opens Steam up to standalone VR content? How would the largely Meta-heavy ecosystem react as Steam becomes a new outlet for VR games? And what if Valve’s headset is instead capable of playing some subsection of standard PC VR content? We don’t know the answer to any of these questions, but with Valve’s continued interest in VR, we’re still pretty hopeful to find out.

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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 3,500 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • ViRGiN

    “tech analyst and consummate Steam data miner Brad Lynch” was actively optimistic about DecaGear.

    Maybe Valve should invent first a handheld device that can play 2D games in at least 1440p at 60 FPS minimum, without overheating and obnoxiously loud fans.

    • Cl

      Darn him and his optimism

      • ViRGiN

        Yes, very toxic behavior.

      • Ookami

        Virgin just hates anyone who’s enthusiastic or optimistic on vr it seems, with the exception of maybe fellow Meta shills

  • ViRGiN

    Also RTVR team, please clarify what “high end” VR headset means cause you throw that sentence around all the time.

    • Cless

      When a headset is around or more than $1000USD is the common convention.

      • ViRGiN

        So nothing to do with high end but high pricing.
        Meaning even index isn’t high end as it’s just 500

        • Cless

          Not really, a high-end product tends to have good quality as well, together with a higher bracket price.

          And yeah, that would mean the Index isn’t, but not because of what you’re saying. The index was a high-end HMD when it came out. Its whole package does cost more or rounds $1000USD.

          I wouldn’t call it high-end anymore though due to age. Exact same reason I wouldn’t call a 2080ti high-end anymore, since mid tier products can and do beat it performance wise.

          Nowadays the QPro, Varjo Aero and BS-Beyond probably would match better the minimum required to match that description.

          • ViRGiN

            The original HP Reverb G1 was released on April 26, 2019, or something like that, data is hard to find.
            It had higher resolution than Valve Index that released on June 28, 2019.
            It never was high-end, and never had any single high-end feature. It’s just headset from Valve which by defaults ranks it much higher in the hearts of valve fanboys.

            Quest 1 was a much higher end headset, it had passthrough, hand tracking, wireless and wired PCVR support, OLED panels.

          • Cless

            The G1 had also absolutely trash tracking, minuscule sweetspot made even worse by its bad software IPD, its controllers sucked BAD compared to the index, had a poor audio solution, lower refreshrate and pretty meh lenses. It did have substantially better resolution though which was a plus for some.

            It was pretty awful and only like… $200 or $300 cheaper than the Index. Mid-high tier in its time I’d say.

            The Quest wasn’t bad at all, in fact, I would pick it up any day, even vs the Q2. But again, at launch it came packed with quite a lot of serious issues that wouldn’t get solved until months if not years passed. The tracking was quite lacking for example for both headset and controllers. Wireless was incredibly spotty when paired with PCs and had pretty bad compression issues as well.
            It was quite subsidized too if I remember properly, so the price was great, at around $400 or $500?
            So again, mid-high end HMD. Probably if it had had better optics, or RGB subpixels we could definitely have put it into high end tier.

            Its totally up to you if you want to put the Index also in that category, since its totally subjective. But most likely is your massive bias towards Valve speaking. People that lack it, put it in the high tier when it was new for all the features it had.
            Now sure, mid-high end, if not just mid tier, and like I’ve been saying for years now, terribly overpriced, even when new.

          • ViRGiN

            Quest 3 is “only like… $200 or $300” more expensive.
            It’s a substantial difference.

            I was super impressed by Quest 1 controller tracking on release date. It legitimized inside out tracking, especially on standalone. Zero issues for headset tracking itself. Before that we had WMR headsets that were absolutetly terrible. It only got better after launch, but it was never “bad” to begin with.

          • Cless

            I mean, its around 3/4 the price… but your experience was substantially worse. They did fix it quickly with the G2 though, much better device.

            And well, let me correct that. I too think that the Q1 finally put that kind of tracking on the map, it was a barely working mess before. The thing is, if you had worked so far with light houses for a couple years already, where you were used to already almost perfect tracking, and especially to not lose the tracking of the controllers, then it felt like a downgrade. All those things they’ve fixed progressively as years go by though, they are almost non issues nowadays.

          • ViRGiN

            Well it seems like 90% of vr talk in public space is done by the people in the 10% group.
            Lighthouse was awesome when Rift still relied on sensor constellation tracking, but that’s primarily due to volume and not having to plug it back to pc usb. Today is completly obsolete and fully failed tech as it lacked adoption from manufacturers.

            To this day there isn’t a single Oculus touch clone controller, and there are literally only two controllers on the market – og wands from htc, and the obnoxiously hyped valve “knuckles” that are fully ignored by 99.99% developers.

            And this just reminded me how awful lighthouse experience was, when you were grey screening for split second when you lost tracking due to occlusion or reflections.

          • Cl

            Index has higher fov, refresh rate, much better tracking, audio, controllers. The only thing g1 has is resolution. You can try to be a little less bias

          • ViRGiN

            Index has lower ppd, big glare, controllers that are super fragile.
            Audio in reverb is pretty similar to Index. It also cost much less than complete set. And it was all improved with reverb g2. Index came out over 4 years ago.

          • Cl

            I thought your point was that they came out around the same time. Now you are bringing g2 in the picture and say how old index is. Way to move the goalpost.

            I’m not trying to argue with you about what is better so many years later. You say it wasn’t high end when it came out, but it was. None of your examples refute that.

          • ViRGiN

            i was talking about hp g1. it was ‘higher end’ than index. and whatever gripes you might have had with it, it was improved with g2.
            whatever gripes you might have had with index – there is no updated model, for the past 4 years. it never changed.

          • Cl

            The only thing g1 had better was higher resolution screens though. Not higher end. Everything else was worse.

          • ViRGiN

            Tons of people say it’s far more comfortable than index but sure, their opinion is invalid

          • Gonzax

            Total bullshit, not surprising coming from a Valve hater/troll like you.
            The Index was very high-end. Best FOV, best audio, best eyerelief, best comforr, best controllers, best tracking.
            But I guess being the best at almost everything is just not good enough for you, of course. The Index is still, even with its outdated lens, one of the best headsets money can buy to this day.

          • ViRGiN

            Very high end troll alert!!!!!!!!!!

          • John Duncan

            Starting to think Virgin owns this website. OR he best friends with Admins , my posts removed while Virgin freely able to troll every post written here. Not one post he written here every been positive but clearly Admin here like his posts

          • ViRGiN

            Conspiracy theorist alert!
            Or maybe just don’t say shit and don’t post links. Stop trolling and accusing Admins of wrong doing just because you don’t understand how commenting publicly works.

          • John Duncan

            no conspiracy m8 just facts. Every article i read you have nothing positive to say about it and attack anyone who does. Seen you do this for last 2 +years and still your here.

          • ViRGiN

            Funny how you decided to ignore the 2 years before that the amount of hate i was getting for stating controversial opinions, which to this date remain ultimate truths.

          • Ookami

            LMAOOOO

          • Cless

            Which ones are? I’m curious to know about those ultimate truths you’re talking about!

          • ViRGiN

            After i learn more about your clearly visible long term growth trend of PCVR.

          • Cless

            I was honestly asking, but like always, you are a pathetic toxic troll. I’m done with you. Like most around there.

          • ViRGiN

            Haha blocked. Cless the pathetic troll.

          • TH_VR_RD

            Go ahead and block them, it only takes a couple of seconds and improves the discourse.

          • Guest

            This is just about the only VR news site that is not wrecked by some admin or moderator, so block the people you disagree with yourself. Trolls serve a function to try cutting through your groupthink, even if they are wrong some percentage of the time!

  • JanO

    Additional comments from Lynch seem to suggest a hybrid scenario where the HMD would have “some” standalone capabilities, but would only be a part of the whole strategy. A PC-like Valve console codenamed Galileo would provide the HMD with more horsepower and the capability of flat screen couch gaming on your TV…

    In the current context, this would be a great move from Valve..!

    • ViRGiN

      So it’s just a wireless addon for Index, just released as new headset?

      Great. Can’t wait for Youtubers showing the very same games – alyx, pavlov, vrchat, gorilla tag, you name it.

      • gothicvillas

        Why to buy new car if we drive the same roads?

        • ViRGiN

          idk, but electric trams are superior since they are tethered and dont suffer from compression engines

      • Holger Fischer

        Decisions, decisions. Should I buy the Varjo, since its price is now so low, or should I wait for Valve to release something?
        Should I play Cyberpunk, RDR2, Subnautica and Valheim, or Beatsaber? Tough times indeed.

        • TH_VR_RD

          I feel your pain

      • NotMikeD

        Before the year is out you’re going to see YouTubers showing off potentially hundreds of Unreal Engine games in full stereoscopic 3D at scale.

        • ViRGiN

          Literally couldn’t care less.
          I don’t think it’s going to be massive subject for the current tubers – but there will be new ones how great it is to have entire gameplay reduced to a single button presses.

          Those who hated VorpX, and got burned out by years of waiting for never coming up VR games will now praise praydog.

          • NotMikeD

            You are clearly special “standalone” case here; I suspect that most people that spend as much time frequenting and commenting in VR news sites as you do would be interested when a new source of potentially high-budget, high-production value games opens itself to VR players overnight.

          • ViRGiN

            It was possible for a decade to play flat games in VR.
            The injector potentially makes it easier with proper fov/head tracking, but it doesn’t make games any more VR than they were 10 years ago.
            The few games that do support 6DOF controllers are just 6DOF mouse emulators, and even if you were to play shooter games, you still need to press the button for aim down sight to reduce recoil.
            It’s completly bonkers how much faith people have into something that doesn’t make anything better, other than showcasing that PCVR games has looked like shit for ages.

          • NotMikeD

            Being immersed and feeling present in a game world in 6DOF w/ stereoscopic 3D at scale has value to me. Would I prefer to use motion controls to aim down iron sights as if I was holding the weapon in my shooters? Of course I would, but that doesn’t mean I can’t still feel plenty immersed using a gamepad to move (after all I’ve been ‘tricking’ my brain to abstract that movement input layer on flatscreen already for decades, it feels quite natural to me and other games to continue doing it). Besides, the UE Injector mod opens the door to intrepid modders to far more easily create their own further modifications to mod in those motion controls you seem to require.

          • ViRGiN

            Noone is going to modify any games beyond adding 3D mouse. There is no dive deep modding with Unreal; noone can do what DrBeef has achieved with the proper source code. Injector will remain forever a gimmick, with never holster-able guns.

            You are over exaggerating the importance of the injector. A bunch of people will be like in heaven, but for everyone else it will be something to try, say it looks cool, and immediatly forget until someone actually mods these games properly, which is never.

            What games are we even talking about?
            There is nothing really interesting on Unreal lol.
            GTA 5 VR have done shit for PC VR. Nobody cared. It was janky and non immersive. Cool for couple of minutes, maybe hours, but it was perfect evidence that 6DOF mouse is not enough to keep players engaged.

            I know flat2vr discord users are masturbating to even thought of injector, and they all read my comments, cause they are so triggered that someone is incapable to see the “potential” xD

            Just look at the list of VorpX supported games, and compare it to “hundreds” of Unreal ones.

            Injector is pure jank hype – and somehow it still haven’t released. When it does, I bet it will be behind paywall cause there is no point giving it away for free. Of course dev will say it will be free to public when it’s finished, but it’s never getting finished.

          • NotMikeD

            Wow so much I disagree with here:
            – HOLSTER my guns in a high octane 3D shooter? No way, I’m under CONSTANT THREAT of attack!
            – a bunch of people WILL be like in Heaven, no disagreement there
            – I don’t understand the VorpX comment; Google tells me VorpX supports 250 games, there are already 479 on the UE Injector list (growing everyday) and those are just the ones that have been tested; Also if you can’t discren the obvious quality difference between the experience UE Injector provides over something like VorpX then I don’t know what to tell you; I guess it makes the satisfaction with standalone experiences more understandable
            – Praydog doesn’t charge for his mods and never has; folks had to push him to even set up a (non-required) Patreon

          • ViRGiN

            – yeah, holster. put one in the pocket and grab another one, maybe from your back where it’s virtually there.
            no reloading either, one the most satisfying things to do in vr.
            – even more will look at it as a gimmick
            – 250 games is what has been tested – it works with tons of directx games regardless of the engine, and vorpx itself is highly customizable.
            it supports the games people actually care about – baldurs gate 3, arma, assassins creed, battlefields, call of duties, crysis, dark souls, dead space, deus ex, diablo 3, dirt series, dishonored, fallout series, far cry series, formula 1 series, works even with halo, mass effect series, metro series, quake series, resident evil series, stalker series, splinter cell series, star wars games of all shapes and sizes, titanfall games, multiple tomb raiders, even witcher is supported.
            what the hell unreal injector supports?
            i named you dozens of games that people actually know and play. now people like you get excited for the infinite potential of games you never really planned to play – all because PCVR sucks as a whole.
            – we’ll see if it remains free, or it will be ‘free after full release’ like that other guy who was making ~20k a month on patreon for his gta vr work (and went on the internet to give interviews how much money he makes and got consequently shut down).

          • Sven Viking

            Just mentioning that the universal Praydog mod apparently actually supports automatic 6DOF weapons for games using standard UE4 weapon setups. No idea when it’ll actually be released though.

          • TH_VR_RD

            There’s a lot of room for growth in VR in terms of physics and graphical fidelity, particularly in the product development/visualization and simulation spaces which span commercial and consumer markets alike. Standalone devices won’t be able to fill that niche effectively in the foreseeable future, thankfully PCVR devices are starting to reach a price/fidelity point that is workable for hobbyists and one man show consultancies alike.

    • g-man

      Something to keep in mind is that a non-standalone wireless headset that uses anything other than 60GHz wireless, like WiF, would need some processing capability for local reprojection. To me this seems more likely than a full standalone from Valve.

  • another juan

    By the end of the month there could be official announcements of Pico 5 and the new Valve headset. and Quest 3 reviews. Busiest week in the history of VR.

    • shadow9d9

      There is literally no evidence of this. Wishful thinking as potential.

      • another juan

        more of an educated guess. wishful thinking would be a state of the art $250 standalone

        • ViRGiN

          “educated”
          More like watched a video from guy who don’t shower and is obsessed with steamvr and so far hasn’t been right once.

          • another juan

            never watch that brad guy: he’s just too biased. however, there are many signs that both pico and valve have stuff to announce

          • ViRGiN

            quest 3 launch or the meta connect?
            valve announced index like ‘exactly’ during live meta connect show. they did that, cause they know they have cult following.
            however there was a ton of real stuff leaks and hints towards valve cooking something; now with whatever index 2, there is nothing tangible, other than patents that are meaningless (and bad overall, dont you think? patents withhold progress right?) and steamvr software updates that to this day don’t have in-headset room scale calibration. steamvr is outdated in every single way imaginable; it doesn’t support hand tracking, it doesn’t support eye tracking. why after very long years of abandonment we are to believe there is anything real and meaningful?
            PCVR experience remains unchanged since 2016.

          • Blaexe

            “valve announced index like ‘exactly’ during live meta connect show.”

            Except they didn’t. Come on, it’s not hard to check. They put the teaser website online during GDC 2019 where the Rift S was revealed, not during Connect.

          • ViRGiN

            Okay, not Connect. True. It was Facebook F8. Mandela effect.

            “In what can only be described as a giant middle finger to Oculus, Valve officially unveiled its highly-anticipated Valve Index VR headset earlier this morning, just ahead of the Facebook F8 developer conference.”

            Same day.

          • ViRGiN

            i think a much more reliable sign is google trends
            compare valve deckard to valve index.
            then compare both to steam deck and there is your answer why valve don’t care about vr.

  • Cl

    They better announce something before quest3 release… I’ll probably still buy it anyway

    • ViRGiN

      Do you want “something” or you have certain expectations/demands?
      I’m sure even Index 2 where the only change would be 2k panels per eye would get panties wet for Steamers.

      • kool

        If valve wants vr to grow they can easily put together a standalone and pot counter strike, team fortress, half life. They could help get a few of the best PC titles proper vr ports and drop their own polished version of a vrchat metaverse. My question is would this be enough to push vr to the next level? We all love vr and want more of it, but would make people who don’t want it buy it? Unfortunately the answer is celebrity endorsement unless your favorite square jawed athlete puts one on or kim k gives a bj with one on the masses won’t bite and we can’t get more of what we love.

        • ViRGiN

          People buy from steam with zero celebrity endorsement. Or zero marketing. If they make it, and it’s going to be for “real” gamers, it will sell. Alyx was made so your grandparents can handle it. Dumb downed as much as possible.

          • kool

            What so I guess cod and cyberpunk aren’t on steam.

          • ViRGiN

            Cod sales dived down since the attempt to compete with steam through their own battle net store. Gamers are just too addicted to it.

          • NotMikeD

            I know plenty of adults that couldn’t continue playing after HLA’s spookier bits, so I’m not sure grandma’s ticker could take a shot like that. I enjoyed Alyx about as much as any game I’d ever played, immersion, atmosphere, and the most perfect marriage of technology to a narrative experience I’d ever seen were enough for me. Not every game needs to be some floaty ultra-fast twitch shooter to be enjoyable.

      • ameba#23234 mdrea

        YES DADDY GABEN

  • Dragon Marble

    I am not following. “Batteries” means it’s probably wireless. What makes you think it’s standalone?

    • Ookami

      yeah, my thoughts as well. Though there are other leaks that suggest a AIO/hybrid hmd

  • Sven Viking

    VR-specific strings related to batteries, which seems to support the idea that Valve is currently readying the platform for some sort of standalone VR headset

    Or wireless. Could be a wireless headset that can connect to either Steam Deck 2 or PC (or a new Steam Machine maybe).

    When in a product’s lifecycle would the RAA certification tend to be done? Does it mean they likely have the final form of the device?

    • Was hearing on Twitter it’s about 2~3 months usually, but I’m not sure the accuracy of that.

      Index was apparently released 49 days after getting its certification.

      Steam Deck took 92 days.

      https :// x. com/Fimre77/status/1699846398429028545?s=20

      • Sven Viking

        Woah, the idea of Valve surprise announcing something 20 minutes prior to Quest 3 preorders opening is actually looking plausible at that rate.

        • We could be looking at a repeat of the Index tease, but trying not to get my hopes too high. I had never heard of RCC certification until Brad tweated about this. Shouldn’t we have found trademark and copyrights if a device was immanent? Or something with the FCC?

        • ViRGiN

          Quest 3 will be in physical stores 2-3 weeks after.

          As usual, pure valve copium and hopium.

          They haven’t done shit for Quest 2 announcement.

          • Sven Viking

            The wireless certification was the key point here. Could be something else but it’s apparently been predictive of past device announcements. The timing only happens to coincidentally match up with Connect (like some previous coincidences).

  • Very curious about what is going to happen… also the idea of it being a headset that connects wirelessly to PC is pretty fascinating

    • ViRGiN

      physics bending achievement. just what the VR needed!

    • shadow9d9

      Fascinating? It has been done this way for 3+ years now…

      • ViRGiN

        valve is the apple of gaming. it only counts when valve does it.

  • Ookami

    “EVERY game now is capable of mindblowing graphics.”
    hasn’t really been the case for vr

  • Nevets

    It would be great, wonderful even, if it were compatible with the Meta store

  • RealChris

    I Didn’t Buy Into Any VR Yet Back In The Day, Bc It Required Too Much Components At The Time, The Valve Index Seems Alright, If They R Working On A New VR, I’d Suggest If They Want Consumers Like Me, Please Drop Fakebook. Period. Force Fakebook Logins Is What Scared Me Away. Sorry Suckerberg.

    • ViRGiN

      Maybe Its Better If You Stick Away From VR

  • Gonzax

    Nice try, Virgin!

  • NotMikeD

    I couldn’t disagree more. In a world where NVIDIA can barely keep $1500+ graphics cards in stock, how are we believing that graphics “don’t matter?” If you want to point to Quest sales figures I’d argue that it sells so well because it’s 1.) Cheap, 2.) Relatively simple for the masses to understand/get working, 3.) Cheap.

    I find that even marginal improvements in graphics (texture quality, increased frame rates, extra geometry, particle/lightning effects, etc..) can often mean the difference between feeling a strong sense of presence vs “oh I just strapped a cell phone to my face.”

    • Randy H

      “I couldn’t disagree more. In a world where NVIDIA can barely keep $1500+ graphics cards in stock, how are we believing that graphics “don’t matter?”

      AI requires those cards as well. So it’s not so cut and dry there.

      • Edward Moyse

        AI in the commercial/academic sector are more likely using P100, A100, V100 etc, rather than the RTX cards. Anyway, the main point is … no, in no way are graphics “good enough” right now in VR, especially not standalone.

  • polysix

    Not even a 4090 is ‘good enough’ for PROPER VR so GTFO out of here with the XR2.2 being good enough, you’re so out of touch with what people actually want from VR before it’s finally ‘good enough’.

    I mostly play PCVR via Quest Pro (Wireless) on an RTX 3080 and even that is absolute bear minimum, all standalone games even if twice as good (on quest 3’s double power chip) are still gonna be the basic shovelware cartoony cr*p we’ve been served since VR (re) started and it’s not gaining traction/retention because graphics DO matter – ESPECIALLY in VR once the new user gets past the novelty of VR itself. It would take a console 4x the power of PS5 to really do PSVR2 justice (sent my PSVR2 back for this and other reasons)

  • between_3_Llamas

    Deckard > Quest 3