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Valve's mysterious new gadget has Wi-Fi…that's all we know

steam deck open rearImage: Keith May/IDG

With the Steam Deck absolutely dominating PC gaming news over the last year and change, and plenty of gamers looking into the VR trend, it’s no wonder that everyone’s on the lookout for a new hardware gadget from Valve. And we’ve found one…at least in the most technical sense. A South Korean regulatory agency just posted a listing for a new hardware device manufactured for Valve. We know one thing about it: It has a Wi-Fi radio. That’s all there is, there isn’t any more.

The story starts with a forum post, which in turn points to South Korea’s Radio Research Agency (and spotted by PCGamer). This is the Korean equivalent of the FCC in the United States, which sets standards for any device with a wireless radio. The certification (with the aid of machine translation) lists Valve as a manufacturer, China as the country of origin, “1030” as a model number, and the fact that the device has low-power wireless networking capabilities in the 5GHz spectrum. In layman’s terms: It’s an electronic device, and it has Wi-Fi. And at least someone at Valve is preparing this thing for sale to the public.

This could be a new Steam Deck. Or it could be a new Valve Index headset. Or it could be a new Steam Controller, or a new Steam Link, or a Valve-branded smartwatch, or a microwave that can tell you when your Starfield download is finished. Some of these are more likely than others, but the likelihood that this is a brand-new, never-before-seen piece of game-playing hardware isn’t super high on the list based on the information we’re given. For example, this could be an updated listing for the Steam Deck, identical in all hardware specifications except that Valve switched to a new parts supplier for the Wi-Fi radio.

Without wishing to rain on anyone’s parade, all indications from Valve so far point to a multi-year wait for any significant redesigns of the current Steam Deck device. An update of the Valve Index is much more likely, and adding wireless capabilities seems like a natural extension of the design. There have been indications that Valve is working on a standalone VR device that doesn’t need a gaming PC, making it a direct competitor to Meta’s Quest 2 and Quest 3.

And it’s also possible that this regulatory listing is the first and last we’ll ever see of this particular device, as something in the labyrinthian process of bringing a product to the consumer market gets fouled up. Lieutenant Buzzkill, reporting for duty, sir.

Michael is a former graphic designer who’s been building and tweaking desktop computers for longer than he cares to admit. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

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