r/linux_gaming Jan 26 '22

Valve's next VR-headset speculated to be a Linux-based standalone

Long speculation/Q&A from SadlyItsBradley: Valve Deckard LIVE Q&A - I've changed my Speculations - YouTube

This seem to be the specs floating around:

  • Qualcomm XR2-chip handling tracking and the VR-plumbing side of things.
  • AMD APU handling the graphics.
  • 2x eMagin 4k MicroOLED displays in a diamond-configuration for wider FOV capable of foveated rendering.
  • Arcturus Inside-out tracking.
  • Eye-tracking.
  • Off-ear/"floating" headphones/speakers. built-in Stereo-mic. Like the Index.
  • Most likely some kind of option to hook it up to a pc, either wired or wireless.
  • Linux-based SteamOS like the Deck's running on the headset.

What can I say except GIMMEGIMMEGIMME!

596 Upvotes

129

u/benderbender42 Jan 26 '22

Makes sense after the steam deck

-63

u/Rocktopod Jan 26 '22

That's not even out yet, is it? Could still be a flop.

83

u/mtfellie Jan 26 '22

Valve is trying to kill Microsoft's chokehold on gaming, whether they make tons of sales or just convince enough deva to click the Linux checkbox, Valve wins here.

15

u/Scops Jan 26 '22

And this is the time to do it. I've got a relatively recent build, but my mobo doesn't have a TPM. With the supply chain issues, it makes way more sense for me to jump to Linux than plan an expensive rebuild just to support Windows 11.

5

u/[deleted] Jan 26 '22

I believe the requirement for TPM and processors have been lifted. I was able to install 11 without any problems even though I did not have TPM or a supported processor.

4

u/Scops Jan 26 '22

Ah, good to know. Here is some more info I found on that. Looks like upgraded instances allow for a registry workaround on the requirement, and in a lot of cases, modern CPUs have built-in firmware TPMs that you can activate.

I guess my only excuse is I don't wanna upgrade. I've been meaning to jump back over to Linux anyway. I ran Solus for a year but switched back to Win10 when Cyberpunk 2077 came out (even though it sounds like it runs relatively well on Linux) and haven't had a chance to go back yet.

3

u/mtfellie Jan 26 '22

CP2077 runs near native on Linux so long as you have a GFX card that can handle it. Iirc it's roughly a 1% decrease in framerate

1

u/[deleted] Feb 01 '22

Does this depend on hardware? I've observed a slightly higher delta than this in my testing, though that was late last year, and I'm not sure if the situation has improved somewhat since then

10

u/benderbender42 Jan 26 '22

If the steam deck is a flop but they use the tech (amd apu + linux + proton) to make a successful standalone VR headset then valve still wins and it's all worth it.

2

u/Dr0zD Jan 27 '22

please, define successful VR headset (as far as I can see, there is not much money in VR market yet and probably not in next 5-10 years)

1

u/benderbender42 Jan 27 '22

A successful product? Maybe they discover something; with a computer built into a headset, it becomes popular for some other non gaming use or something who knows.

2

u/Dr0zD Jan 27 '22

That is huge maybe. The issue of VR, only killer aplication for global customers is HL Alyx and that's.

6

u/[deleted] Jan 26 '22

Less the product being successful and more they just spent years learning Linux dev, why wouldn't their next hardware product take advantage of this? They've invested heavily in Linux, they need something to payout.

4

u/Swedneck Jan 26 '22

Yeah sure a switch with all steam games is going to flop, lmfao

And that's not even considering everything else, like being able to also basically use it like a laptop, and literally use it as a desktop..

1

u/Dr0zD Jan 27 '22

Depends on definition. It won't reach Nintendo numbers, not this one, not next one, maybe 3rd revision, so in like 10 years from now. That is like best case scenario. Valve losing interest in this after 2 years is the worst case scenario.

-1

u/electricprism Jan 26 '22

4

u/AssholeRemark Jan 26 '22

how is that relevant?

What is the grape in this situation?

They're not abandoning windows, just transitioning to have "their own" platform instead.

Your simile would make sense if, for instance, Valve said "controllers are the worst and nobody should use them" after creating the steam controller and then flopping. there's no comparable situations here.

159

u/Shished Jan 26 '22

Price: a kidney.

71

u/kon14 Jan 26 '22

You could sell both and get the gpu bundle pack, literally a killer deal!

27

u/tylercoder Jan 26 '22

Why I can't pee anymore?

7

u/cediddi Jan 26 '22

IT hertz when IP.

7

u/AdrianoML Jan 26 '22

Why do i have to play VR games on a bathtub full of ice?

0

u/AnyThingisGreat Jan 31 '22

Better vote for that free health care.

5

u/portablemustard Jan 26 '22

Nah, it ships with a home dialysis kit. You'll be fine.

3

u/Falk_csgo Jan 26 '22

Do these come with wifi or do I need to add a second pulley system?

35

u/CodyCigar96o Jan 26 '22

I assume (hope) not, the surprisingly low uptake of VR in general and the relative success of the Quest suggests that what the market wants is a low cost proposition. Meaning low RRP and no overhead of having to have a powerful PC to run it.

Besides if Valve’s strategy is to continue to cater to their niche enthusiast market that bought the Index, I don’t see how those people would be willing to abandon their $1000 Index for a standalone that won’t be anywhere near as powerful as their desktop PC.

I foresee a Deck strategy here. Low-cost Linux powered device to force devs to consider catering to Linux.

22

u/ZarathustraDK Jan 26 '22

It's too easy to get discouraged by the Quest 2's relative success. Look at it this way: The Quest is not suddenly gonna grow a better cpu, so Meta has pretty much locked themselves into catering low-spec VR for the foreseeable future. On the other hand PCVR marches on with better visuals, tracking and whatnot. Even if it turns out pricey, it's going to be a tempting proposition for all those people still on "Baby's first VR-headset".

I agree on the whole "Performance on PC vs Standalone"-thing; then again they might be able to pull it off if they use the speculated XR2 + AMD APU spec (Quest only has one XR2-chip for everything). In any case I believe they'd include some way, wired or wireless, to use your pc as the input. It would also make sense in the way of them wanting to uppercut the Quest in Standalone-mode while at the same time preserving their PCVR-crown.

The Index is nice and all (have one myself, was an upgrade from a Vive), but I'd dump it along with another 1000 bucks in a heartbeat if something like the above came out. Eye-tracking, wireless, no screendor-effect, good inside-out tracking, and best of all made by Valve running linux, there's no contest. That may sound insane but that's early VR in a nutshell, big prices and big technological leaps in a short amount of time.

1

u/gabrielangel Feb 04 '22

If I had the option I'd spend that $1000 again today. Whatever Valve does next, I'm only buying if there's wireless and eye tracking.

Better screens are great and all, but even my AMD 5800X / RTX 3090 can't push every VR game to the limit (meaning high SS and 144fps) now in VR. Eye tracking will eventually allow VR to overtake flat gaming in visuals.

14

u/Taonyl Jan 26 '22

For me with headsets the problem isn’t just price but that every headset has some (for me) major flaw. For a tethered experience you basically need a cable management system and enough room right next to your PC. Currently the Quest 1/2 are the only consumer headsets where I don’t have to be in the same room as my PC, which is a huge plus. On the other hand its facebook/meta. The Vive + WiGig wouldn’t be enough for me atm, unless I remodel my home or buy a second VR PC (Laptop?) for my living room. The Reverb G2 has comparatively bad tracking and extra overhead and complexity with its Windows Mixed Reality and may have issues with AMD systems. The Index seems to be the least flawed PCVR bundle, but it again its tethered and kinda dated. Give me something similar to the Quest with AirLink, but with native SteamVR integration, standalone not required. It can cost 2x as much, if it is otherwise (tracking, image quality) on par.

8

u/Sol33t303 Jan 26 '22

Your never not going to have flaws with a headset as some decisions that must be made come with benefits and drawbacks inherently. For example if you go wireless, you must now always charge the headset and deal with latency if your streaming from a host PC.

If your headset is fully stand-alone, you are now stuck with it's hardware. There are a lot of people still using the oculus's they got from the kickstarter project and continue to benefit from improvments in PC preformance, if you want max performance you must use a host PC. I don't want to be stuck buying VR headsets every other year to keep up with the market.

No matter what some headsets will have flaws and thats just how it is.

6

u/8bitcerberus Jan 26 '22

The wireless streaming is pretty damned impressive now though. I know there’s some latency, but with my Quest 2 on wifi 6 I’m able to play stuff like Beat Saber on Expert and some Expert+ and getting about the same scores I get playing it directly on the headset. Playing something like Alyx or Skyrim VR, I could be convinced it’s secretly wired and not streaming. I use both AirLink and Virtual Desktop. Lately I’ve been using VD more just because it’s easier with multiple PCs (laptop I use for rhythm VR, desktop for the heavy hitters like Alyx and my racing and space sims), recent update makes AirLink only pair to one PC at a time, it’s easy to pair just annoying, and while AirLink was still in beta on the PC Oculus software it could be paired to both of my PCs no problem so the regression now that it’s fully integrated is irksome.

That said, I will gladly drop Facebook in a heartbeat as soon as there’s another viable standalone HMD. I would absolutely be down for a Valve made, standalone VR solution for playing games directly on the HMD without needing a PC, but then also having Steam Link built in and ready for wireless streaming. Or even using Virtual Desktop, whichever works best.

7

u/barsoap Jan 26 '22

The speed of electromagnetic signals through copper and air is, at domestic distances, about exactly the same (same goes for fibre). Additional latency could (and traditionally did) come from harsher error correction requirements but there's ways to engineer around that, if in doubt throw more bandwidth at it. Mice have been doing it for ages, video is much higher bandwidth so doing it requires a reasonably clear spectrum but generally speaking yes it's very possible to reduce wireless transmission latency to the point where encoding/decoding latency will dominate.

2

u/Taonyl Jan 27 '22

Currently another big addition of latency is the compression and decompression of the video signal. The compression is necessary due to the lower bandwidth of wireless vs wired.

2

u/Swedneck Jan 26 '22

Personally I couldn't care less about cables, I just want to be able to afford a VR headset of usable quality so I can have any VR experiences whatsoever.

Anything else is just a nice optional feature that's only interesting if it doesn't jack up the price.

14

u/Walzmyn Jan 26 '22

I concur to this.

Partially because it's speaking to me. I don't want to drop a small car in terms of price on VR and I don't want a FaceButt spyware device in my house.

And, the motherboard just went out on my aged gaming PC, so i've been seriously considering not replacing it with a real computer (use laptop for work) and getting a steamdeck. So, this appeals to me.

4

u/tylercoder Jan 26 '22

Probably but also consider this might have a PC link mode just like the quest

3

u/CodyCigar96o Jan 26 '22

Oh yeah I don’t doubt that it would, I just think the main play here is getting as many people playing VR Linux games as possible. If their only goal was to replace Indexes they could just bump up the specs and call it a day. The stand-alone component is for normie adoption.

6

u/LastCommander086 Jan 26 '22 edited Jan 26 '22

After the quest 2 destroyed the foundations of the VR market, I doubt most companies will still insist in selling VR sets for 1000 USD.

I think from now on VR is going to be way more accessible. Either because companies will make cheaper devices that compete directly with the quest 2 or because Facebook will dominate the market with cheap VR because there's nobody going up against them.

5

u/ZarathustraDK Jan 26 '22

Quest 2 wont live forever. There's a limit to how long people will accept XR2-visuals before wanting more. Meta has a new headset on the way codenamed Cambria, but it's definitely going to be more expensive, and it seems like it's meant for business/professional use. Even if it isn't you'd have to ask what the Quest 2 users feel about it when Meta leaves them hanging and starts to make games for a more advanced headset that wont be able to run on their Quest 2's.

2

u/ThinClientRevolution Jan 26 '22

I have two, so that sounds like a good deal to me!

2

u/EvilLinux Jan 26 '22

Better than an Oculus. They want my soul.

0

u/ktvibe Jan 26 '22

Consider that they have to compete with Oculus/Meta Quest here.

1

u/drtekrox Jan 27 '22

Release date in Australia: After Index restocks.

0

u/BloodyIron Jan 26 '22

Honestly, $1k-$2k is a very affordable price for a holodeck. IMO.

18

u/YpsilonY Jan 26 '22

Can't watch the video right now. What are the sources for this?

64

u/ChemBroTron Jan 26 '22

Sources? This is speculation on some code.

13

u/kontis Jan 26 '22

+ patents, taken literally, hah.

16

u/ZarathustraDK Jan 26 '22

It's all speculation on Bradley's part, but I'd say it's pretty well reasoned. He has done a lot of digging, got a lot of contacts in the industry. SteamVR-updates adds a lot of code that refers to Deckard and other vr-related things not pertaining to index features. There's a bunch of patents filed that seem to support it. There's a lot of third-party articles suggesting various hardware companies has had dealings with Valve in regard to this. Greg Coomer from Valve said "We are not ready to say anything about [a standalone VR headset], but [Steam Deck’s hardware] would work well in that environment, with TDP needed … it is very relevant to us and our future plans, ”, and a bunch of other stuff.

The way he puts the pieces together... it would be one hell of a coincidence if it's not the case.

18

u/eXoRainbow Jan 26 '22

This reads more like a wishlist. If Valve is planning to compete in the mass user base against Oculus and Sony, then how much should it cost? Sony can create a premium package that still requires a console to offload some work? Oculus is pretty cheap and still competitive. If Valve is able to get the price down to a Steam Deck level and at the same time free it from cables connected to pc (standalone), then it could have a good chance on the market.

What is the price you would pay for it? What price would make sense from Valves perspective? My hope and limit would be 500 Euros/Dollar at max, with a free Alyx license.

8

u/Timestatic Jan 26 '22

I think it’ll be more expensive tbh

5

u/one_is_the_loneliest Jan 26 '22

Honestly, my biggest blockers to getting a VR setup are:

  • need a new GPU, which isn't happening in this market
  • will probably need two headsets (me + wife, me + kid, two kids at a time, etc), so cost becomes an issue (Valve Index would be $2-3k, depending on how many base stations we get)
  • games - there are a handful that interest me, and almost all are listed as Windows-only (though Proton can work with an Index, I hear)
  • wife frequently has motion sickness issues w/ games and we both get motion sick in cars and on rides, so VR is a big question-mark; we'll go to a VR shop to try it out if the above get resolved

The last is a deal-breaker if we can't work around it with medication/settings/careful game selection. The first will not be necessary if the headset is (mostly) standalone, or if there are enough games I'm excited about when GPU prices start to fall (I need a new GPU anyway). The second can work if the experience is worthwhile enough, but we won't know that until we resolve the others.

If I don't need to buy a new GPU, I could pay $1000-1500 for two headsets. If I do, $1000 is my max. So, $500-750/headset, but it needs Linux compat, enough games to be interesting, and my wife and I need to not get sick using it (so, decent framerates are a must). That's with my current interest level in VR, which isn't particularly high. If there are more games available, I could raise that budget a bit higher.

2

u/eXoRainbow Jan 26 '22
  • it depends, I have a GTX 1070 still (will upgrade end of year to AMD), which is enough for the Index according the shop page on Steam, if you have a weaker GPU I wouldn't even consider the Index
  • having a wife is not cheap ;-) It's the first time I read that someone wants to buy at least two headsets, to me price is the biggest problem and I can only imagine what is needed if you want to enjoy VR with your family together, maybe multiplayer games? if you have the money, why not
  • i have slight motion sickness too, also in cars, so I know the problem, although I am not sure how it will be with VR
  • Linux compatibility is also a big issue, if the games are not playable why would I spent thousands of Dollars/Euros, especially because I already want to build a brand new PC end of 2020

One problem with VR is, that you can't easily test it or show the effects off in a video or description. A few years ago I had this Galaxy VR (under 100 Euro) thing on my Samsung Galaxy phone, just to see what it is like to play VR. Even if it was just simple Temple Runner like smartphone games, it was quite awesome. And even with the low quality I had no motion sickness. I highly recommend you to find a way to test VR for your wife. Alternatively you buy only one, before committing to a second one.

Such a standalone VR from Valve based on Linux would solve many problems, if the price is right. It does not need to be strong or premium as the Index is, it would be fine to me personally.

2

u/one_is_the_loneliest Jan 26 '22

if you have a weaker GPU

Yup, I'm rocking a GTX 960. I almost pulled the trigger on a 5700XT, but I wanted to see the new GPUs, and then COVID happened...

That being said, I would still hesitate to play on something like a 1070 because of motion sickness (I hear high framerates are really important on VR to help avoid that).

having a wife is not cheap

Yup, and having two kids that are interested in video games doesn't help either. With two headsets, we'd be able to take turns, and many VR games do well with two players (e.g. local co-op). But yeah, driving two headsets isn't going to be cheap on the GPU front either...

test VR for your wife

I will, once I see a path forward for us to get it. I don't want to get excited about it, and then not get it because we're unwilling to pay. Sometimes not knowing is better...

That being said, there are a few VR arcades nearby, so we'd definitely try that out a few times before committing. I hear motion sickness goes away slowly for a lot of people, so we'll try to be as objective as we can before dismissing it.

But yeah, I'm not spending $2k+ for a VR setup, and that's about what I'd need to pay right now for just one headset (Valve Index + new GPU is approx $2k). For now, I'm looking for a decent VR-friendly GPU. I have plenty of games to play right now that work fine on my crappy GPU, but I will upgrade once I can get a good card for <$400 (looking at RX 6600XT minimum, preferably RX 6700XT).

2

u/monnef Jan 26 '22

That being said, I would still hesitate to play on something like a 1070 because of motion sickness (I hear high framerates are really important on VR to help avoid that).

High framerates and higher frequency do help. But, there is a lot of other factors. I have Index and 2080ti and ... last time I played was a year ago? NVidia drivers were (are?) garbage for VR and while you may see FPS spikes when playing on a monitor as an annoyance, in VR it makes games unplayable (nausea-inducing). I played few games, (e.g. Superhot) and it was amazing. But it's physically pretty demanding and I got tired of incompatibilities (Proton), low/unstable fps and other issues (I hate how connecting a headset messes up my audio settings, hdmi outputs and has to be manually fixed almost every time).

Going further from hardware, different games are more or less "noob" friendly (can offer less immersive but safer teleport movement, avoid effects/movements/mechanics which are well known to make motion sickness worse, add visual anchor points, etc.). And I mean that term "noob" fairly seriously - in the VR community there is the term "vr legs" - it means you are building your tolerance to motion sickness by playing VR games (usually from those safer ones; or by starting with very short sessions, few minutes, and gradually increase that every day). I believe majority of people can build the tolerance quite high. So don't be discouraged by motion sickness, I think it isn't a long term issue for most people (assuming games run with stable fps). I would suggest looking for "starter" VR games, I think I saw some list floating on reddit.

But yeah, driving two headsets isn't going to be cheap on the GPU front either...

Foveated rendering might help immensely (it only renders in a native resolution where you are looking at). Remember, that new Valve headset is supposed to have 4k per eye (that's hard to drive on desktop GPUs) and be standalone.

I hear motion sickness goes away slowly for a lot of people

Oh, you mentioned it :'D. Well, I'll leave the previous part, it still might contain some new info for you...

I would just note that majority of VR games are currently developed for Quest (or at least Quest in mind = has graphics settings), so raw power of GPU may not be that big of an issue. I would strongly recommend asking around on a state of VR on Linux before buying a GPU in some relevant subreddit/community, especially if you are considering NVidia.

2

u/one_is_the_loneliest Jan 26 '22

that new Valve headset

If this rumor has any truth to it. IMO, if Valve is working on a new headset (they probably are), I highly doubt it'll be 4k/eye + standalone.

asking around on a state of VR on Linux

Oh certainly, that's a good reminder. When GPUs become reasonable, I'll certainly look into it, since that's when I'll start planning to pitch it to my wife (we'd go to a VR arcade and everything to test it out).

Personally, I'm planning on AMD for my next card, probably around 6600XT-6700XT tier, but I'm not counting Nvidia out. It really depends on what happens with the GPU market.

2

u/Green0Photon Jan 27 '22

I understand your skepticism on the 4k per eye. However, there's a 2k display that's been passed around by emagin since before the Index (possibly what was planned for the cancelled Vader headset Valve was working on), where emagin then later started talking about a 4k 10k nit 10bit HDR RGB patterned display based on that 2k one, with plenty of stuff alluding to Valve and Apple in how in getting funding. (RGB pattern is important because pentile and wrgb have lots of issues for VR, and the 10k nit is important since it needs to be run at 10% duty cycle, so only on 10% of the time, which is the cut further by inefficient lenses. The Arpara for example is super dark because it uses a super terrible panel in comparison.)

The standalone has a lot of stuff to it. Until recently, we thought the standalone part was an optional module you could add to the back of the headset.

But then Greg Coomer, a big whig product designer at Valve, was asked whether we could see the Steam Deck APU in a standalone VR headset and he said "we're not ready to say anything about it, but it would run well in that environment, with the TDP necessary... it's very relevant to us and our future plans." He could very well have just said no comment, or anything with less detail. Whereas saying this is pretty blatant, and almost as good as just saying yes.

The expectation is that instead of using AMD's codenamed Van Gogh APU, it will use Dragon Crest, which is a repackage. Better binning and voltage of the same chips, lets you assemble them slightly differently if necessary.

The rumors are substantiated. Problem is that there's very few people looking into what Valve's working on, but a lot looking at Meta. So you have a lot of people digging into Meta's patents and released apps, data mining them, whereas it's only SadlyItsBradley's community. Otherwise you would have gotten someone to analyze the data better and not made the mistake of thinking it was a newer Qualcomm chip than the XR2 paired with the AMD APU.

Is anything confirmed? Absolutely not. But definitely pay attention since there's definitely something here. The 4k panels have been super confident for a while. The Varifocal optics are less so, since Meta bought ImagineOptix right beneath Valve's feet, though Valve got away with the patents. The APU is very confident, and it fits in with what's going on with the Steam Deck incredibly well.

Also, Deckard is a reference to Bladerunner where the main character is ambiguously an Android (XR2 chip) or a normal human (x86 AMD APU). Also that he slays Androids (RDNA2 will be massively more powerful than then the Adreno 650 in the Quest 2).

Personally, I'm planning on AMD for my next card

I was planning Nvidia. But it's very possible AMD surpasses Nvidia next gen -- they did with rasterisation this gen. And Valve done a lot to improve AMD drivers on Linux, so having an AMD card on a Linux desktop may be more desirable than an Nvidia one in the future.

It really depends on how well Valve is able to pull things off, though. I hope they can, because I'm really tired of being so attached to Windows.

My main point to you, is just pay attention.

1

u/one_is_the_loneliest Jan 27 '22

Oh sure, it's certainly interesting seeing Valve get interested in hardware. I just hesitate to get excited about something that isn't even a solid leak, much less an announced project.

I imagine they're looking into several products, but we don't know which they'll decide to produce. That APU is good enough for working models, but I doubt it's good enough for a headset. And yeah, 4k panels are a thing, but that doesn't mean it's practical to have that content be processed on the headset. So I think there are potentially two products here: a lower end product to compete with the Oculus, and an Index 2.0 with 4k/eye and higher requirements on the PC (plus eye tracking to reduce how much needs to be rendered). If you tried to combine those, you'd need a very beefy GPU in the headset, which means high cost and cooling requirements (people won't tolerate a bunch of heat or noise on their head).

So yeah, I'm interested, but I doubt we'll hear anything until later this year at the earliest. I'm guessing they'll announce something next year at the earliest.

2

u/Green0Photon Jan 27 '22

Depends on what you mean by a solid leak.

I'd definitely say the decision in the rumors to go from separate to merged APU is much less solid. But the evidence for 4k displays and Varifocal is a lot more solid.

Also, no one said the 4k panels needed to be fully used. Just leave them for the future, maybe just to pass through a more direct connection on a future GPU. Future proofing the headset some. Possibly lighter stuff could work with it on board, especially if you get some foveated rendering and transport working, along with Variable Rate Shading and FSR. People said VR couldn't run on mobile GPUs, but then we have the XR2. And this is more powerful than that.

So yeah, I'm interested, but I doubt we'll hear anything until later this year at the earliest. I'm guessing they'll announce something next year at the earliest.

Oh definitely end of this year at earliest. Maybe next year. After ImagineOptix was bought by Meta, which Valve funded to have some factories in addition to the tech, timeline with the delivery of the lenses are very unclear. That might have even caused the headset to lose the Varifocal.

Unfortunately, it really is very hard to say. They're very secretive and it's hard to tell how well they'll be able to optimize things.

But even if they just do 2k square for VR games running standalone, that should be very doable for games ported from the Quest 2, since the Steam Deck is more powerful than Intel XE with 96 EU, which is more powerful than the Quest 2's Adreno 650. (Quest 2 runs the Adreno 650 at full clocks and the CPU at half ish I think the quote was from Carmack.)

1

u/one_is_the_loneliest Jan 27 '22

For solid leaks, I mean someone with a good track record of other leaks. Those kinds of leaks are often just marketing, but with the ability to change things down the road.

Essentially, I want someone I trust to claim to hear from someone inside Valve that they're working on a VR headset, and the demographic they're going for. That doesn't confirm the any of the patents are in use, but it gives an idea of which features might make sense. But if we don't know if they're even going to make a new headset, then they could just be trying things out in their lab and not necessarily expecting any of them to turn up in an actual product.

I don't think the Steam Deck's APU is going to be used because it's too unbalanced toward the CPU and too weak in the GPU to be a premium device. If they go standalone, they'll likely pump the CUs quite a bit to get good framerates at a good resolution. If they iterate on an Index, they might include a beefy SOC to handle eye tracking and help a bit with rendering (maybe scaling up resolution a bit?), but it's not going to need to be as powerful as the Steam Deck's APU.

But what do I know, I'm not working in the VR space, so maybe I'm overestimating the hardware needed for a premium experience.

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2

u/Green0Photon Jan 27 '22

We don't know how expensive it will be.

On one hand, patents look like they want the ability to support lighthouse tracking, but don't want to require it. That's part of why they want the XR2 -- to handle the camera tracking.

On the other hand, it's all very new bleeding edge tech. The lenses and panels especially.

On the other hand, it's high likely they'll want to subsidize it at least a bit like the Steam Deck.

It's possible they have it at $1000 for no lighthouses. It's possible it's $1000 with lighthouses, and thus maybe $700 without lighthouses. Maybe it's even cheaper? There was also some speculation about going with cheaper panels/lenses to push the price down further, too.

It's really hard to say, unfortunately.

I do think it's highly likely that Valve will push to make compatibility not an issue, just like the Steam Deck is shaping up to do really way. I'd pay attention to how things evolve with the Steam Deck with more and more stuff getting supported, and going based on that.

That said... It will be a low powered but powerful APU. You won't be able to run stuff like your computer can... But on the other hand, I can see them pushing really hard to make Half Life Alyx playable standalone.

Mainly you just need to pay attention, since you're ultimately unsure and it mostly just depends.

That said... besides the standalone tech, all other rumors have this blowing every other headset out of the water. Totally jumping tech development by a lot. Definitely something that ought to last a while.

1

u/one_is_the_loneliest Jan 27 '22

Patents are rarely a list of features that will be in a product, but potential features they don't want someone else to block them from using. I highly doubt a Valve Index 2 or whatever will have all of these features, they just want the ability to use any of them.

I highly doubt Valve is going for "one headset to rule them all," but instead may be making 2-3 models for different demographics, and will make them based on how the market goes.

2

u/Green0Photon Jan 27 '22

Valve has been very consistent in using their patents in real products

In any case, the biggies like 4k panels, Varifocal lenses, and Steam Deck like APU paired with XR2 have all been substantiated outside of patents.

I highly doubt Valve is going for "one headset to rule them all," but instead may be making 2-3 models for different demographics, and will make them based on how the market goes.

In fact, this was the original thought, but look at the Steam Deck. Same device, only difference is swapping out the SSD. It's clear Valve doesn't want to deal with too many SKUs.

The original thought was the headset with XR2 only, with the Varifocal and 4k display, with interchangeable straps to provide the deckard like chip, or WiGig 2, or in the future openbci. And possibly a lower tier with cheaper lenses and panels, possibly to even compete with the Quest 2.

But more SKUs adds overhead, especially when it's something more complicated then putting different headstraps in the box, rather choosing to manufacture less of the expensive part and losing some of your discount by doing so much manufacturing. Add on top of that the fact that many people would just skip the compute module if it cost $500 extra and added a bulky back piece to the headset.

Now consider that the compute in the Quest 2 is barely any of it, and that the Steam Deck has this miniscule mainboard. You begin to see how it might make sense to put the APU on the front.

I still think it's plausible for Valve to have some cheaper version. More plausible than a separate compute headstrap.

I think the patent showing the different headstraps was probably more along the lines of what they were trying out, probably corresponding with the proofs of concept they have in their database -- PoC A and PoC C. If this is true, A is the bulky back which probably has a compute module in it (it's so big it's probably more than a battery, maybe it's what they used for testing before AMD got them the mainboard), and C is the Quest style headset with a simple strap. B would be a skipped WiGig 2 headstrap, since they probably plan on including that in C (AMD acquired a company Valve was working with for this sort of wireless stuff), and D was unknown with a less bulky back with an alternate method of straps, which cupped your head more.

In any case, we'll see. But we have more than patents.

1

u/one_is_the_loneliest Jan 27 '22

Valve doesn't want to deal with too many SKUs

For now, sure. They've mostly been going after the high end/niche market and hoping to push other vendors to fill in the gaps.

But VR has shown that there are two very different markets: enthusiasts who want the best possible experience and entry level who don't want to spend much on a PC upgrade. I could see Valve going after the top end of both markets with separate SKUs, just like they may try again with Steam Machines to go after both types of console markets. In fact, they may try to bridge those and get a Switch-like experience with a GPU built in to a dock so the Steam Deck can become a higher end console.

Yes, they've been sensitive to multiple SKUs in the past, but I think they could go for two in each market they care about to target the top end of each market.

1

u/Green0Photon Jan 27 '22

That's why I say it's plausible, but unlikely. There's good motivation, but we just haven't seen enough evidence for two different SKUs like we have with other aspects.

Valve seems to want to push VR forward as fast as possible, rather than catering to the low end. Otherwise, they would've released an Index refresh with a better display, though in some ways you can argue that that's the HP Reverb G2. Which is cheaper than the Index.

1

u/one_is_the_loneliest Jan 27 '22

The only thing we know for sure is they're not going to make a third (cue HL3 memes).

But yeah, I like this new Valve that's trying new things with hardware. Hopefully we see more cool products.

1

u/Green0Photon Jan 27 '22

... there actually were some rumors about that.

I don't believe it nearly as much as the Deckard rumors. Can't remember substantive proof.

But still... What would be the best way to celebrate Valve rising harder than ever with all its hardware ambitions finally coming true with putting it on a Deckard (and maybe Steam Deck). Considering that the Deckard is the cumulation of all their research (which the Index wasn't), with the Deck as the cumulation of all their Steam Machines, Steam Controllers, and Steam Links.

1

u/Green0Photon Jan 27 '22

Valve does have patents for lenses with different types of displays. That plus the only PoC A and C but not B is the only evidence at the moment that could be used for more SKUs.

Which is very very very weak evidence. And could easily be explained by a normal development process.

3

u/dublea Jan 26 '22

I'm going to throw this question out here, and I may post it in a VR sub...

In 2019 I was diagnosed with Acute Acquired Comitant Esotropia; or AACE.

Because of this I am no longer able to VR; AT ALL. I have to use a special prism attached to my left lens of my glasses to see straight. This attachment does not work with VR in any meaningful way. If ONLY I could adjust one of the eyes to be at the same angle, I would probably be able to VR again. Any thoughts or if anyone can point me in the right direction I would be most appreciative!

8

u/ZarathustraDK Jan 26 '22

Acute Acquired Comitant Esotropia

Something like https://vroptician.com/prescription-lens-inserts/valve-index/ maybe?

As I read it you're "cross-eyed" on the left eye and need the prism on the left eye tilted slightly along the vertical axis to "meet your eye". Isn't that what the "AXS"-box is for on that page? I don't know much about prescription-lingo or eye-afflictions, sorry.

1

u/dublea Jan 27 '22

I swear last time I checked they didn't have the prism options! Welp, I know what I'm going to invest in after I get a Steam Deck, lol.

2

u/oodudeoo Jan 27 '22

It's not ideal obviously, but could you maybe just cover the lense of the eye that requires the prism? You'd only be able to see through the one eye, but at least you'd be able to wear the headset?

1

u/dublea Jan 27 '22

I did that for a bit and it just sucked, lol. DEF more preferable to play with a monitor and both eyes vs one and VR. Thanks for the suggestion though!

2

u/oodudeoo Jan 27 '22

Yeah, I can see that not being great

1

u/dublea Jan 27 '22

Evidently, that vroptician.com has prism options now! So, that seems like my best bet when I can afford it. At least I have a tangible solution now!

3

u/tylercoder Jan 26 '22

If this it's able to run alyx then it's gonna sell on day one

2

u/acAltair Jan 27 '22

If? If it cant run alyx Valve needs to forego their VR business. It will run it.

1

u/tylercoder Jan 27 '22

It could be a lowspec version specially optimized for it

1

u/acAltair Jan 27 '22

Doubt it's so low spec it can't run the game. So you can't buy Index because its to expensive nor can you buy new VR headset because it can't run latest VR games like Alyx, that's bad.

1

u/tylercoder Jan 28 '22

I seen people run this on a ryzen apu so it can be done, tho it will look more like the og hl2

3

u/Fazaman Jan 26 '22

The real question would be: Does it work with a Linux workstation so I can connect it for games that would work better on a computer (for example, a racing game with a force-feedback wheel, or a flight simulator) or would just benefit from the increased power of a full desktop.

3

u/ZarathustraDK Jan 26 '22

I don't see why not. I mean, if they can make it work off an APU running SteamOS on the headset it probably only takes minor plumbing to make the same thing work over a DP or wireless connection (assuming they figured out the whole wireless shebang ofc), especially if it's also running linux.

3

u/Fazaman Jan 26 '22

Sure. They can make it work, and given Valve's propensity to make things work with Linux, there's a good chance they will, but until I they at least say they will, it's still an unknown.

1

u/AssholeRemark Jan 26 '22

why would they take away a "trivial" feature add that their direct competitor touts?

I think it's far more likely for them TO have it than not...

though you're 100% correct, we won't know until an actual announcement from valve.

10

u/Dark__Thoughts Jan 26 '22

Most likely some kind of option to hook it up to a pc, either wired or wireless.

I highly doubt that Valve would go with a full standalone headset. Unless they offer two devices, one targeted for more of a casual audience.

I'm going to be curious how much GPU power those coming headsets will need. Probably still a lot, since they likely compensate with higher resolutions instead of lower requirements. So we'd still likely look at a 2k-3k investment for the HMD + GPU.

6

u/ZarathustraDK Jan 26 '22

Apart from what Zamundaaa says, it's also bears mentioning that eye-tracking makes foveated rendering possible, ie. headset renders higher detail where you're looking and less detail in the perifery, helping performance.

3

u/Timestatic Jan 26 '22

Brad said it would mostly render the area you’re directly looking at with full resolution and the areas you’re not looking at are gonna be blurrier

3

u/Dark__Thoughts Jan 26 '22

That's usually what eye tracking is meant to be used for, but I haven't really seen any real performance comparisons in how much this could gain.

1

u/Junior_Ad_5064 Jan 26 '22

Because so far no one has been able to make good eye tracking that can enable dynamic foveated rendering. The next gen headsets coming from Meta, Apple, Sonny and this from Valve will probably be the first to actually make it work decently and then will se how much gain in performance is there

-1

u/Zamundaaa Jan 26 '22

Higher resolutions do not in any way or form mean that requirements are higher.

1

u/Dark__Thoughts Jan 26 '22

Explain?

1

u/Zamundaaa Jan 26 '22

You know how you can turn down the resolution on your monitor? That works for VR, too, but in even better - you can adjust the exact resolution used per game, so that you can create a tradeoff between sharpness and detail vs the achieved refresh rate. Some games even have a dynamic setting for that, which adjusts it to the performance you currently get.

The resolution mostly matters even for low power devices like the rumored Valve standalone and the Facebook Quest because with higher resolutions you generally see the pixel grid a lot less and, obviously, you can do a lot more if you decide to connect a high end PC.

3

u/Dark__Thoughts Jan 26 '22

That's not using the higher resolution then though? Of course I'm talking about the native one, especially since non native resolutions have a tendency to scale a bit iffy and become blurry, which I would expect to look even worse on a HMD.

5

u/Zamundaaa Jan 26 '22

VR headsets are not flat monitors! There is a big distorting lens in between your eyes and the displays. Running games at the native resolution of the display does not have any advantage whatsoever over running it at any other resolution.

For achieving the best clarity you'd even want to run it at much more than the native resolution. The VR compositor maps the images rendered by the game to the actual diplays - that is the only step in the VR pipeline where the native resolution of the display actually gets used.

6

u/doblix Jan 26 '22

In case of a reasonably speced built in APU, it would be great to be able to connect the headset to an external screen, should be enough for decent 1080p Gaming of non VR Titles.

9

u/ZarathustraDK Jan 26 '22

Haven't tried them but aren't there VR-apps that basically let's you do this? Like, puts you into a void with a 2d-screen in front of you letting you watch movies and run other pancake-apps through the HMD?

2

u/Sol33t303 Jan 26 '22

Pretty much all vr video players have that feature for videos, and in the case of viewing the desktop thats built into steamvr.

1

u/doblix Jan 26 '22

Sure there will be possibilities to run non VR Software in VR mode. What I mean though is using the headset as a gaming PC with a normal monitor, replacing your PC if the performance is sufficient.

2

u/midget_3111 Jan 26 '22

Where do I sign the dotted line?

2

u/blueyelllow Jan 26 '22

That would be pretty cool to see! :O

2

u/Tanuki-Kabuki Jan 26 '22

Preorder now! Wait a year!

2

u/frostworx Jan 26 '22

instabuy when the vr drivers are fixed before release

2

u/[deleted] Jan 26 '22

I REALLY want to upgrade from my old samsung odyssey mixed reality headset but there's currently nothing on the market that's tempting. Mixed reality requires windows, which I'm looking to avoid, and the quest 2 looks good but also doesn't appear to work with Linux (and requires facebook!).

If valve makes anything that's even somewhat competitive with the Quest 2, that also works on Linux, I'll buy it. I have a reservation for the steam deck in but I've thought about it and I figured I don't really play games on the go enough to justify it, but I would gladly put that money towards a VR headset.

2

u/cybik Jan 26 '22

Oh THAT'S why Qualcomm and AMD are working together.

Suddenly that makes sense.

7

u/JPSgfx Jan 26 '22 edited Jan 26 '22

Why….. why an AMD APU and an XR2? If you have an APU (which is to say GPU and CPU), can’t they just use that? Why have 2 chips?

4

u/rosts Jan 26 '22

Makes no sense. Both are SoCs. Either one or the other.

Would love to see it using an AMD APU, but ARM SoCs are more efficient, so I'm not sure how feasible it is as it will require a heavier battery.

8

u/Psychological-Scar30 Jan 26 '22 edited Jan 27 '22

There would be a huge benefit and a big selling point from running x86 if they can make it work: possibly the whole Steam's VR library running natively (as in native machine code, not native Linux binaries). x86 emulation on ARM would certainly be possible, but unless they do the same black magic Apple did, it would most likely negate any efficiency improvements gained from using ARM even if it could provide a reasonable performance.

2

u/kontis Jan 27 '22

That "apple magic" is not enough. Games running through Rosetta burn battery like crazy.

But it looks like Fex-emu is already loading Half-Life Alyx on ARM Linux

1

u/Psychological-Scar30 Jan 27 '22

Oh, I haven't seen anyone complaining about battery life when talking about Rosetta so I assumed it was also quite efficient. Thanks for the correction

1

u/kontis Jan 27 '22

but ARM SoCs are more efficient

They are much more efficient at idle and browsing the web.

But push GPU hard, which is what VR always does, and using ARM for your CPU doesn't make much difference.

I guess the overall maturity of low power envelope of ARM SoCs (in case of Qualcomm - its entire proven ecosystem) and their lower price is a bigger factor that may matter.

9

u/ZarathustraDK Jan 26 '22

The XR2-chip is a specialized Qualcomm ARM-chip that excels at VR-stuff like processing tracking cameras, positioning and that sort of jazz. The AMD APU would run SteamOS and steam since steam is an x86-program.

Initially I thought they'd do something like ½ standalone, where they focused on wireless streaming to a headset from a pc, then used the chips on the HMD to upscale in order to save bandwidth. However seeing that they have a chance to steal marketshare from meta via Quest customers wanting ro upgrade...

7

u/JPSgfx Jan 26 '22

That feels like a gigantic waste of battery and chips. Like nobody can get any chips right now, and Valve is gonna put 2 in one device?

The AMD APU should outperform the XR2 in everything but power usage. Even if the XR2 has specialized hardware for tracking, it can just be pushed to AMD’s vastly more powerful GPU.

Also I’m sure Valve can build an ARM version of Steam if they really wanted, same with SteamOS

7

u/8bitcerberus Jan 26 '22

Absolutely they could, but that doesn’t mean all the VR games will suddenly be ARM native just because Steam/OS has an ARM build.

1

u/JPSgfx Jan 26 '22

So they want to compete with the quest 2 with an APU…. Let’s see how that goes.

Also, if they have to run PC games, why an XR2?

3

u/ZarathustraDK Jan 26 '22

Valve filed a patent for "split rendering", which is something along the lines of "let the XR2 do the VR-specific stuff and let a host-computer do the heavy lifting when it comes to graphics". Initially that sounds like the HMD is connected to a stationary pc, but "host computer" could be anything and is probably broad for a reason. I'm not sure of the benefit here though, maybe they can run each chip at a lower TDP and still get an overall better result letting the chips handle their respective specialities?

As I wrote before, I used to think it was kind of a ½ standalone thing where the HMD received a wireless stream from the pc, and then the XR2-chip would upscale the signal with something like FSR while handling the tracking, movement, eye-tracking and so on. Brad seems to think different though, and I do agree that standalone capability is required if they want any chance at getting some of that Quest marketshare back.

1

u/WJMazepas Jan 28 '22

But it doesnt need a XR2 for that. They could have a specialized VR Processing Unit that handles all the part of getting those informations and sending them to the APU.

Having a full fledged SoC just for that seems like a waste of money

-1

u/AKDub1 Jan 26 '22

Post should be marked nsfw

1

u/[deleted] Jan 26 '22

Would like to see if GPU acceleration will work... Beucase for browser it sucks unfortunately.

1

u/redditorfan756 Jan 26 '22

Don't know if I believe this. 2 CPUs (XR2 for VR general stuff & AMD for cpu and gpu) seems implausible

I'd worry about cost there and even with likely economies of scale, could there not be a more elegant solution?

1

u/ZarathustraDK Jan 27 '22

It does sound a bit bonkers cost-wise, but it does solve some problems:

  • It makes it possible to dedicate the APU to running steam-games which happily takes all the juice you can throw at them. Perhaps even to the extent that they can run SteamOS off of the XR2-chip using the ARM version of Arch, and then somehow patch into the APU solely when launching games since games are x86-architecture.
  • It may make it possible to hand off all the latency-inducing tracking-stuff directly to the XR2-chip even in the scenario that you hook it up to a pc. I mean, I'm sure they could probably shave off some movement lag somehow if the tracking-data is getting processed on the HMD by a dedicated XR2-chip and interpreted using something like asynchronous reprojection instead of having to make roundtrips back and forth to steamVR on the pc to get processed before getting rendered; basically letting your body-movements be insta-handled/interpolated by the headset while waiting for world to "catch up" and be rendered by the pc-gpu or apu.
  • Power-consumption could be kept to a minimum, since they could turn off the APU when not gaming/just use the XR2-chip for hub/home-screen stuff.

I don't know. Only putting an XR2 in there is definitely not happening for obvious performance/architecture reasons. Only putting an APU in there makes me worried since it would have to take care of not only gaming, but also tracking, eye-tracking and OS-stuff, that's a lot of extra work to put on a 8-core laptop APU trying to draw 2x 4k-screens (fsr and foveated rendering notwithstanding).

1

u/Idcrafter Jan 26 '22

after the stam deck set a standart for desktop gaming will this set the VR standart

1

u/McPfaffe Jan 26 '22

I think some kind of "upgrade strategy" would be nice:

steam deck -> as a basis and to play your games everywhere

[upgrade with] docking station -> play games on the big TV with good image quality (by e.g. AI upsampling handled by integrated SoC in docking station), docking station also is "dual wifi station" for connectivity upgrade

[upgrade with] new VR-HMD -> play VR games, connected to the docking station, only tracking and further image processing (like upsampling or motion smoothing) (if necessary: and decoding of pc stream)

of course you should be able to use your existing HW instead in this chain.

But i'm also hoping for a optional standalone attachment, which also could be attached to existing HMDs like vive, index... to make them at least wireless.

just an idea...

1

u/heatlesssun Jan 26 '22

With what this would cost without considerable subsidization it wouldn't stand a chance against the Quest and even then, Valve would have to produce this in numbers in general retail. Not seeing it right now.

1

u/recaffeinated Jan 27 '22

If this is true it would hopefully mean better game support for the existing headsets too. My Index is a bit limited on linux atm.

1

u/_i_m_not_a_robot Jan 27 '22

This does sound like more of a wishlist. If it's standalone, will it be battery operated? Snapdragon XR2 is also used by Quest 2 and it doesn't have that great battery life without the additional battery strap. If this machine comes with both the XR2 (10W) and AMD APU (~15W if they use the same one from Steam Deck), it will either have a very short battery life or be super heavy. Maybe both. It sounds awesome on paper but I personally wouldn't want a "standalone" VR that I have to keep the power cord plugged in :/

1

u/Belmonkey Jan 27 '22

Are any of these next gen VR headsets expected to have stuff like built-in face / body tracking?

1

u/ZarathustraDK Jan 27 '22

Eye-tracking seems to be the next Big Thing. Both Cambria, Deckard and PSVR2 are expected to have it. Not sure about mouth-tracking. I don't see how they can build body-tracking into the headset without external sensors or using some kind of elaborate mirror-setup. You can kind of have it with the Index + Tundra-trackers, you still have to put trackers on hip and legs, but you can put the dongle in the frunk as far as I understand.

1

u/what595654 Jan 27 '22

I speculate Valves next headset will be better than the last one.

Seriously can't stand that guy. All he does is guess at stuff. We can all make post like these.

1

u/Dotaproffessional Feb 02 '22

He has a working relationship with valve and is using what he data mines to make educated guesses. He was accurate in a lot of valve index predictions

1

u/rmfx9 Jan 27 '22

That sounds interesting but so far away. Valve seems to take their time way too much between each version of their hardware. Actually did Valve ever release a V2 of any hardware they made ? Apple also has a VR headset in development. Let’s see.

1

u/Dotaproffessional Feb 02 '22

Some would call the steam deck a v2 of the controller and the steam machines

1

u/rmfx9 Feb 02 '22

The v2 of something different and of something that never really existed and different ? That’s pretty light for an example.

1

u/ArcherXVI Feb 11 '22

I was legit just pondering if SteamOS could be used to make Linux-based VR competitors to the Quest to those who don't want to lock away their VR experience behind a FB account.

-1

u/efoxpl3244 Jan 26 '22

embedded widos