It’s safe to assume that the Valve Index 2 headset may be in development. While there’s no verified confirmation yet, Valve’s record of success in the VR space since 2019 shows that another device is in the cards. Moreover, we already see hints of what it may contain before the official unveiling.
For example, it could be a wireless standalone VR headset, and there’s growing evidence that Valve is iterating on its next VR product. Right now, finding the best VR headset is hard. It’s not like choosing a new phone or headphones – there aren’t many options available. But the Valve Index VR goggles are some of the best VR goggles you can buy – and one of the best VR experiences for your home.
According to the official Steam Hardware Survey As of October 2022, over 17% of all Steam VR players use the Valve Index. That makes it the second most used VR headset right after the Oculus Quest 2. With such success, we expect Valve to want more with a sequel that improves on the brilliant original. But given that the original Valve Index is only two years old, we may have to wait a bit.
Valve Index 2: Get to the point
- What is this? Rumor has it that the successor to the VR headset from Valve
- When can I play it? to be confirmed
- What can I play it on? TBC, but almost certainly on PC
Valve Index 2 release date
There’s currently no official word on when Valve Index 2 might be released, so guesswork is just a stab in the dark for now.
We know the original Valve Index came out in 2019, so considering other iterations of the headset have taken at least two years, we can expect an announcement later this year. However, with the disruption caused by Covid-19 in 2020, an announcement is more likely to come in 2023. A release date next year also seems like the best we could hope for.
Price Valve Index 2
Once again, there’s nothing solid about how much Valve Index 2 would cost, but we can make some guesses. Given that the Valve Index is priced at $999 / £919 (around AU$1,425), we’d expect the upgraded headset to cost at least as much – although we wouldn’t refuse to drop the price if possible.
We also know that the Oculus Quest 2 – a much cheaper VR option – is the most popular headset on Steam. SteamVR’s current 41% market share is what Valve probably wants to eat, so we wouldn’t be surprised if it released a budget competitor.
This could mean Valve releasing two separate headsets – one aimed at the high-end and the other for the more accessible all-in-one mobile device. But while rumors suggest it’s not out of the question, we won’t know what he’s up to until the official announcement.
Valve Index 2 Features: Rumors, Leaks and Official Information
Here we start to build a picture of what Valve Index 2 and other Valve VR products could look like, based on patents and some SteamVR files that seem to relate to standalone VR headsets.
Patents filed in early 2021 show the Valve Index 2 could be wireless, with wired capabilities becoming optional on some versions of the headset. The patent shows three different headsets that explore different options between being wireless and standalone (like the Oculus Quest 2) or wirelessly connected to a computer.
The patent also details new comfort options, such as new methods for more efficient heat and weight dissipation for each VR goggle design.
With all patents, we have to take this information with a grain of salt – there’s no guarantee that this means Valve will produce a headset with these features – but it does show that the company is continuing to push VR technology forward.
Proof of model in development
The latest rumors come from a VR reporter and YouTuber Brad Lynch (opens in a new tab)who was reported to have the codename “Deckard” in some public SteamVR files, which seems to refer to a VR headset in development at Valve.
Lynch points VR fans to a “Lighthouse driver file” that cites the “Deckard POC-A” device in a file released in January, with POC likely referring to a “proof of concept” – and the “POC-C” model cited in June’s Instead the documentation suggests that Valve has been working on improved iterations of its device over the past six months and has ensured that SteamVR is up to date with its support.
There are other tidbits in Lynch’s video, including a mysterious “Prism” feature and a VR Link file that hints at a Wi-Fi 6 connection for the wireless headset – alongside the VR headset patents we reported on in March.
Valve Index 2: what we want to see
While the Valve Index is a fantastic VR headset, it’s by no means perfect. Here are some areas we’d like to improve on Valve Index 2.
A better selection of games – straight from the Valve teams
While this isn’t a direct issue with Valve’s latest Index headset, gaming is nevertheless a major factor for all gaming hardware. There are some fantastic VR games out there like Valve’s Half-Life: Alyx, but the platform cannot be built on just a few titles.
If Valve wants to get involved in VR, we don’t just want to see a brilliant device, we want them to make more games on it. Be it a sequel to Half-Life: Alyx, a VR adaptation of another IP like Portal, or a brand new IP from the studio. The quality of the games will also be important, but a little more quantity won’t hurt.
In an interview with TechRadar Robin Walker, director of Half-life Alyx you mentioned wanting to make an XCOM VR game – so maybe we could have something like that looking forward to it?
Facebook recently revealed its plans for AR experience without a controller using hand tracking, and we would like to see similar technology also appear in virtual reality. Hand tracking looks like it’s been ripped straight out of sci-fi, and we’d love to see something like that in any VR headset.
While we’re more likely to see this in future Oculus devices – such as the rumored Oculus Quest 3 – Valve may be developing its own version of the technology for a future headset.
No more base stations
Base stations are devices that help Valve Index and other headsets like the HTC Vive track users, their headset, and controller in a room-scale virtual environment. While they made the headset work fine our reviewwe hope Valve Index 2 drops them.
Base stations aren’t the worst thing in the world, but if you ever want to change your room – or just want to dust it off and poke one of the sensors – you’ll have to go through the whole recalibration process again. It’s tedious and we could do without having to endure them, especially since other headsets like the Oculus Rift S do fine without base stations thanks to insider tracking.
Higher resolution screen
Valve Index used two screens with a resolution of 1440 x 1600 pixels – one for each eye. While the visuals are very sharp, the better screens wouldn’t be unexpected, especially considering the Apple VR headset reportedly uses dual 8K screens – that’s 7,680 x 4,320 pixels.
We think 8K is a bit of an overkill, but there’s a nice trade-off between that and what we currently have, which would be nice to see at Valve Index 2.
Ability to adjust the size of the headset
All people are made differently, so one headset for everyone is hard to pull off and keep comfortable. With that in mind, we’d like Valve to delve deeper into Valve Index 2’s ergonomics, adding new bars and features to make it more customizable. This would allow anyone to customize the headset to suit their needs and provide more VR experiences.
Valve Index controllers featured haptic feedback and clever designs that made the virtual world feel more realistic. While he’s good, we’d love to see him go further in the future.
Apple has patented haptic socks that can be compatible with VR and AR devices, so we know some companies are already thinking about it. A few more haptic peripherals for Valve Index 2 could be a great way to push your VR realism to 11.