Unexpectedly on Friday night, Valve has launched a teaser site featuring a brand-new virtual reality headset, called the Valve Index, which appears to be a device of its own making and not one in partnership with its longtime VR partner HTC. The teaser site spotted by Ars Technica offers no information other than that the Index's assumed release date is May 2019.
That said, there's an awful lot we can see in that image, and a lot we can piece together from previous Valve leaks. We can see that the Valve Index has as many as four prominent wide-angle cameras, strongly suggesting that, like the Oculus Quest and other second-gen VR headsets, it will have an in-out tracking to allow players to move around a room without worrying about placing base stations or external tracking cameras.
It's got a slider adjustment, presumably for IPD (interpupillary distance) so it can accommodate people whose eyes are set closer or more apart than average. It's a fairly common feature, but something new the Oculus Rift S lacks. (Oculus says you can set your IPD in the software settings of the Rift S.) Beyond those details, we are still in the dark about specs, peripherals, or whether this is going to be a standalone headset like Quest, or one designed to be tethered to a higher-end PC, like the Rift S and HTC Vive and Vive Pro.
As for as previous reports go, UploadVR reported last November that Valve was really working on its own headset with a wider, 135-degree field of view , and we also know that Valve has been working on its own set of so-called "knuckles" motion controllers that have been testing with developers for quite some time. But Valve layoffs earlier this month complicated speculation about a new VR device, as the company reportedly slashed its VR hardware division, according to a Reddit leaker who previously posted pictures of a prototype headset that could well have been an in-progress index .
Regardless, it's clear now the headset does exist. We will hopefully get some additional information ahead of the May 2019 target, which may just be a reveal event window and not at all related to the launch. Ocelus plans to launch both its standalone Quest and Rift S headsets this spring and HTC has just launched its enterprise product, the Focus Plus, and is gearing up to launch its new Vive Cosmos headset some time this year or next.
When we asked Valve if it could offer any additional hints – or clarify if this was just an early April Fools' joke – Valve's Doug Lombardi only replied "Not April."