Valve, the company behind popular games like Counter-Strike and Half-Life, as well as the Steam store and the Steam Deck handheld console, may be working on a new piece of hardware. A recent radio certification listing from South Korea’s National Radio Research Agency has revealed a device with the code name “RC-V1V-1030”, which is described as a “low-power wireless device” that uses 5GHz Wi-Fi.
What Could It Be?
The listing does not offer much detail about the device, leaving room for speculation about what it could be. Some of the possible candidates are:
- A new version or a refresh of the Steam Deck, which began shipping in February 2022 starting at $399. The handheld device allows users to play their Steam games on the go, with a 7-inch touchscreen, various control options, and the ability to connect to external displays. The device has been praised for its performance and versatility, but also criticized for its battery life and screen quality. Valve could be looking to improve these aspects or add new features to the device.
- A new virtual reality (VR) headset, which Valve has expressed interest in developing in the past. Valve’s current VR headset, the Valve Index, was released in 2019 and offers high-end graphics and tracking, but also requires a powerful PC and a wired connection. Valve could be working on a standalone VR headset that does not need a PC or wires, similar to Meta’s Quest series of headsets. Such a device could use the same APU (accelerated processing unit) that powers the Steam Deck, as Valve’s product designer Greg Coomer suggested in an interview with The Verge in 2021. A standalone VR headset codenamed “Deckard” was reportedly being prototyped inside Valve in 2021, according to sources cited by YouTuber Brad Lynch and Ars Technica.
- A new Steam Controller, which Valve discontinued in 2019 after launching it in 2015. The Steam Controller was designed to offer more precise and customizable control for PC games, especially those that are not optimized for gamepads. The controller featured two touchpads, dual-stage triggers, gyroscopic sensors, and haptic feedback. Valve could be working on an updated version of the controller that offers wireless connectivity and compatibility with the Steam Deck and other devices.
The radio certification listing from South Korea suggests that Valve may be preparing to launch or announce its new device soon, as such certifications are usually required for devices that are going to be imported or sold in a country. However, the device has not yet appeared in other regulatory databases, such as the United States’ FCC or the Bluetooth SIG, so it is possible that it is still in an early stage of development or testing.
Valve may have several reasons to release a new piece of hardware now. One reason could be to compete with other companies that are offering similar products or services. For example, Nintendo is rumored to be working on a successor to its Switch console, which could pose a threat to the Steam Deck’s market share. Similarly, Meta (formerly Facebook) is dominating the VR market with its Quest headsets, which offer wireless and standalone VR experiences at affordable prices. Valve may want to challenge Meta’s dominance with its own standalone VR headset that leverages its Steam library and community.
Another reason could be to capitalize on its existing success and reputation. Valve’s Steam Deck has been one of the best-selling products on Steam since its launch, and has received positive reviews from critics and users alike. The device has also attracted support from major game developers and publishers, such as Sony and Microsoft, who have made some of their games available on the device. Valve may want to build on this momentum and offer more hardware options for its customers and fans.
How Will It Be Received?
Valve’s new device, whatever it may be, will likely generate a lot of interest and excitement among gamers and tech enthusiasts. Valve has a loyal fan base that appreciates its innovative and quality products, as well as its support for modding and user-generated content. Valve’s new device could also appeal to new customers who are looking for alternative ways to play their favorite games or experience new forms of entertainment.
However, Valve’s new device will also face some challenges and risks. One challenge is to deliver a product that meets or exceeds the expectations of its potential customers, who may have high standards and demands for performance, features, and design. Another challenge is to deal with the possible supply chain issues and shortages that have affected the production and distribution of many electronic devices in recent years. A risk is that Valve’s new device may not be able to compete with the established or upcoming products from other companies, who may have more resources, experience, or market share in the hardware industry.
Valve’s new device remains a mystery for now, but it could be a game-changer for the hardware market. Whether it is a new Steam Deck, a new VR headset, or a new Steam Controller, Valve’s new device will likely offer something unique and exciting for gamers and tech lovers.