Although the Meta Quest 2 (formerly the Oculus Quest 2) is the most popular VR headset on Steam by quite a margin, the Valve Index is the closest second thanks to its industry-leading tracking features. Valve’s reportedly working on its next kit that’ll take the fight straight to the Meta Quest 3, banking on maintaining its best-in-class lead.
Valve is currently looking for an experienced software engineer in computer vision to help develop what might be the next best VR headset. The job listing (via UploadVR), explains that the “main scope of this position is to prototype, ship, and support consumer gaming products leveraging visual-inertial tracking (HMD and controllers), camera passthrough, environment understanding, eye tracking, and hand tracking.”
Advanced tracking is a core part of the vision for what little we currently know of the Meta Quest 3 and Meta Quest Pro (otherwise known as Project Cambria). It’s likely no coincidence that Valve’s job posting went live on October 7, mere days before the Meta Connect 2022 event that’ll reveal all about its competitor.
We first heard of Valve’s new headset from a leak last year, which suggested it would be wireless and currently carries the codename ‘Deckard’. Valve CEO Gabe Newell points towards the Steam Deck as a breakthrough in this technology in an interview with Edge Magazine, highlighting its “battery-capable, high-performance horsepower that eventually you could use in VR applications as well.” Since the Steam Deck itself is an amalgamation of previous Valve technology, blending the accessibility of the Steam Controller with the capabilities of the Steam Link into the handheld gaming PC we know and love today, it stands to reason we’ll see its influence carry forward.
Details on Deckard get even murkier after these reports, but it’s possible it could support mixed reality with inside-out head and controller tracking. This is more akin to the Meta Quest Pro than the Quest 3, targeting social experiences like the Metaverse rather than being a straight-up gaming device. We’ll need to wait for more information before jumping to conclusions, though, so we recommend the usual dose of salt in the meantime.