Though Valve‘s Steam Deck is still nowhere near close to getting sent out to everyone with a reservation, the company is seemingly intent on not putting all of its hardware eggs into just one product category basket. Rumors have long swirled about its purported “Deckard” headset, and they now seem to have finally materialized into something concrete.
Specifically, Valve has now submitted an all-new patent to the US Patent and Trademark Office, and sure enough, it’s got the blueprints for a bona fide VR headset. Though the blueprint doesn’t actually reveal much about the headset’s specific features, it does have a few interesting tidbits of information contained within.
Whereas Valve Index is a premium-tier VR headset with numerous bells and whistles separating it from the rest of the devices available on the market, rumors have suggested that Deckard would be potentially more subdued in this respect. In fact, the patent suggests roughly the same level of complexity as is present in Meta’s own VR products, which may confirm the rumors that Deckard is supposed to compete with Quest and Quest 2. Instead of going after the top-end, cutting-edge section of the market, Valve may now be trying to appeal to a more value-minded audience.
Granted, this isn’t a new concept for Valve. The recent launch of the Steam Deck disrupted its niche’s pricing scheme, with Valve’s lowest spec $399 device being substantially more powerful and appealing than any of its immediate competitors. Before the Deck came out, handhelds such as the AYA NEO and OneXPlayer cost upwards of $1,000, making this particular market segment effectively impenetrable for a great number of otherwise interested users.
Potentially even more important is the fact that Valve is supporting Steam Deck with crucial feature updates and improvements across the board. Odds are good that its future hardware endeavors will be approached from a similar angle, immediately making the potential release of Deckard that much more interesting. Even more pertinent is the idea that Deckard might provide users with a Meta-like experience at a Meta-like price point, but without locking them into Meta’s burgeoning ecosystem.
Whatever the case may be, research claims that there will be 45 million active VR headsets by 2025, and the only way for this statistic to make sense is for more companies to jump into the fray with readily available and remarkably affordable product lineups. Historically, Valve’s VR offerings have been on the pricier side of things, but if the rumors about Deckard are true, this too may well change in the coming years.