Rumor: Valve's Next VR Hardware and (Possible) Handheld

d_stilgar

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jul 7, 2004
Messages
440
Recently, two videos have been posted regarding Valve's next steps for VR. One is from Tyler McVicker. The other is from Thrillseeker. I haven't seen much discussion of this online except for a few news outlets that report on rumors and leaks, so I wanted to get people's opinions here.



There are a few interesting takeaways. The first is that Tyler is saying this is a handheld system while Thrillseeker is decidedly on the idea that this is standalone VR only. I don't have an opinion either way (it's just rumors), but it did get me thinking.
  • Multiple SKUs. You can't have everything in one package.
  • An Index Pro or Index 2 with eye tracking, brain-computer interface (BCI), higher FOV and/or resolution with a premium price tag is still something VR enthusiasts would like to see. $900-1200 for something premium.
  • A handheld device with an onboard screen and CPU. This sorta makes sense and could benefit from Valve's Steam Link software for more demanding games.
  • A standalone HMD to compete with the Quest 2, which is currently dominating the VR space. A closed ecosystem like the Quest is a threat to Steam/Valve. This is a no-brainer.
  • Steam Controller 2. I think this might be a thing. I would like to have something that can be tracked in VR and be reprogrammable like the first Steam Controller.
  • What might be interesting would be a combo of the handheld console + a standalone headset. Except, instead of having a CPU/GPU in the HMD, rendering is offloaded to the console and the video wirelessly beamed to the HMD. My thinking is that,
  • 1) you will likely have a dock anyway, similar to how Switch has a dock, so this dock could connect to your PC (if you have one), similar to the breakout boxes in the original Vive for high-end VR
  • 2) Steam Link on the console will rely on fast wireless anyway, so that hardware will already be there. By separating the CPU from the HMD, you can minimize weight. The drawback is double the wireless hardware, batteries, and screen. This would bring the cost up.
  • 3) This would allow people to get the HMD and use it in wired (or wireless paired to computer) mode if they don't want the handheld, or to take the handheld and the HMD with them if they want to do VR on the go (a use case that I think is much more infrequent for most VR users).
  • Another thing that's probably happening in addition to an Index 2.0 is some kind of upgrade to the Index 1.0 to give it an external CPU or BCI or whatever is coming out next so that the early adopters don't feel like they're missing out on features.
  • Why I think that last note is interesting is that it signals to me that whatever these new features are, Valve thinks they're going to be required for whatever next game they are working on. If BCI or eye tracking are that important to Portal VR or Half-life VR or whatever is next, they don't want their early adopters to feel like they're missing out or have to spend $1000 on the new next thing.
What do the rest of you think? Valve has had a weird track record for these things, with a mix of hit and miss products and ideas.
 

bobzdar

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jun 6, 2003
Messages
1,863
I don't think we'll see anything revolutionary, just some slight evolution, maybe the first to (finally) have eye tracking and foveated rendering with a res bump and similar 120fov. If they can do that standalone and with wireless streaming from a steamPC, then I'll be in, even when it's 3-4x the cost of the quest 2. Otherwise, unless it's some quantum leap, I won't be going back to external tracking and it'd have to be a really refined package with amazing image quality to make me go back to wired.
 

sharknice

2[H]4U
Joined
Nov 12, 2012
Messages
2,590
I don't think we'll see anything revolutionary, just some slight evolution, maybe the first to (finally) have eye tracking and foveated rendering with a res bump and similar 120fov. If they can do that standalone and with wireless streaming from a steamPC, then I'll be in, even when it's 3-4x the cost of the quest 2. Otherwise, unless it's some quantum leap, I won't be going back to external tracking and it'd have to be a really refined package with amazing image quality to make me go back to wired.

The patents showed inside out tracking, and talked about wireless. Basically the front part of the headset would be your normal "dumb" screen with video/audio/power connectors and the headstrap would have a standalone system built into it or wireless adapter attached to it to use for PCVR.
And the headstraps could potentially be used with the existing Index to turn it into wireless PCVR or maybe even a standalone system.

If it has a significant FOV increase over the Quest 2, and better resolution but with eye tracking so you can actually take advantage of it with foveated rendering, and also has good inside out tracking and and built in wireless PCVR I would buy it even though it will probably be over triple the price of a Quest 2. I think a lot of PCVR enthusiasts would. Being able to use it as a standalone would also nice but at the price they're likely selling it probably won't be the main attraction for most buyers.

It could actually be the premium, top of the line headset people want. Right now there really isn't a premium headset, just premium prices and a lot of compromises.

Valve also seems to be obsessed with brain interfaces, which could potentially be built into a future headstrap if they do go with the modular design.
 
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John117-

n00b
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Jun 5, 2021
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I think that Valve is the only company very interesting at offer the best experience VR for PCVR gamer. An new Index 2 would be cool for the technology that It can offer in this moment. Index 1 is a amazing device but It's not a breakthrough in the VR. An Index Pro or Index 2 with eye tracking, brain-computer interface (BCI), higher FOV and/or resolution would be amazing for us hardcore gamers.
Eye Tracking is a technology very important like Variofocal lenses.
I doubt that We will see Eye Tracking, BCI, FOV and higher resolution into only headset, not for the moment.
 

Vega

Supreme [H]ardness
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Oct 12, 2004
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6,670
We really need an Index 2. The first one didn't do anything for me. Low resolution/SDE, washed out colors, poor contrast/blacks, godrays out the butt. The most overrated of all headsets.
 
Joined
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We really need an Index 2. The first one didn't do anything for me. Low resolution/SDE, washed out colors, poor contrast/blacks, godrays out the butt. The most overrated of all headsets.
Totally agree we need an Index 2, but I'd argue it is the most comfortable/best overall design - especially when it comes to IPD adjustment, facial interface, headstrap, controllers, sound, etc. Granted the resolution is now very lacking/dated compared to the very latest, but I definitely wouldn't call the Index "the most overrated of all headsets". Nothing that I've seen out there does as good a job in tying it all together while maximizing comfort.
 

sethk

[H]ard|Gawd
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I hope we see OLED used again at higher res and with RGB stripes, and some new announcements soon.
 
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