We know for a fact that Valve’s hardware ambitions didn’t end with the Steam Deck. Over the past two years, Valve has suggested it would like to see a standalone VR headset, a new Steam Controller, and a Steam Deck revision with better battery life and screen.
Now, Valve may be actually getting ready to ship at least one of its hardware ideas. South Korea’s National Radio Research Agency has certified a “low power wireless device” from Valve with the designation “RC-V1V-1030,” as spotted by @dxpl at Arca.live (via Brad Lynch).
The South Korean certification tells us basically nothing about the device, save that it uses 5GHz Wi-Fi, which most computers already have at this point. It could be pretty much anything.
But telecommunications regulatory agencies typically don’t require certification for internal prototypes — only if you’re going to import at least a small quantity of devices in a country, and maybe put them on sale. (For what it’s worth, it looks like the Valve Index was certified by South Korea days after it was first announced.)
The Valve device has not yet appeared at the United States’ FCC database, nor the Bluetooth SIG — and it may never appear at either one. Valve managed to get the Steam Deck past the FCC without being spotted early, by having its Wi-Fi / Bluetooth vendor Realtek re-certify the wireless module rather than certifying the Steam Deck itself.
There are other hints in Valve’s own code, however — Phoronix’s Michael Larabel spotted that Valve has added new changes around the Steam Deck’s Van Gogh APU, including the mysterious product name “Galileo” and product family “Sephiroth.” (Aerith, closely connected to Sephiroth in Final Fantasy VII, is another name for the Deck’s APU.)
While Larabel initially suggests it might just be a Steam Deck refresh reference board, Valve’s Greg Coomer told me in 2021 that the Steam Deck’s existing APU might make sense in a standalone VR headset. A new Steam Controller gamepad wouldn’t have an entire Steam Deck chip inside, though, so a controller seems less likely.
“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 told me.
A standalone VR headset codenamed Deckard was at least being prototyped inside Valve, sources confirmed to YouTuber Brad Lynch and Ars Technica back in 2021, and some patent images made the rounds last June. But this device certainly could be a Steam Deck refresh instead. Either way, it might be smart to announce it before Nintendo reveals its Nintendo Switch successor.