The Valve Index 2 could essentially act as a VR Steam Deck, according to new data mining analyzing steamOS and SteamVR updates. If true, this revelation could signal a paradigm shift of VR tech towards mainstream adoption. The Valve Index successor, often referred to by its codename, Deckard, is speculated to release next year, but could arrive as late as 2025.
This new information, shared by YouTuber Brad Lynch, is underpinned by data mined from updates on Valve’s platforms. Developers have been allegedly adding a series of VR-related updates to the Gamescope compositor used by the Steam Deck operating system. Since it’s unlikely the Steam Deck itself will be involved with any VR shenanigans, this led Lynch to state that “Valve is going to release a headset running an x86 APU inside for a full standalone experience”. Considering the Index required a wired connection to a PC to work, a standalone VR headset would be a big upgrade for Valve.
But the most astonishing supposed finding is the addition of strings in Github which look to be used for adapting games to VR, allowing the in-game assets to give off reflections and incorporate dynamic lighting in a VR environment. It seems like Valve is working hard on making more games VR-compatible. It’s not just that, though, as Lynch claims that “Valve is going to position their next headset as not only a VR device, but as a high-end Steam Deck device that can play all of your games.” Huge.
This development would likely make the Valve Deckard, or Index 2, whatever you want to call it, an absolute must-have headset. One of the main limitations of VR, aside from its price, is the lack of games you can play on existing devices. If Valve solves that problem, it’s got a good chance of pushing its next VR product into the mainstream.
It’d also make the Index 2 a big improvement on its predecessor, which wasn’t exactly a bad bit of kit back in the day. Our Valve Index review gave the 4-year-old headset a 9/10, calling it the “best consumer VR kit available” at the time. But it’s not just Valve in the VR space, of course. The Meta Quest 3 release date is arriving Fall 2023, and we expect it to be a huge leap forward for VR tech.