July 8th, 2017

Valve releases SteamVR beta prior to Dev Days event

rift man

Well, we knew that Valve were thinking of doing something with VR, and now users of Steam’s beta client are reporting that a beta version of SteamVR has been sneakily and quietly released.

Located in the Tools section of your Steam library, SteamVR apparently… well, it runs Steam Big Picture, only in VR. That’s all I’ve managed to make it do, anyway, and even that’s got quite a few little flaws.

According to Valve’s Programmer Joe (Joe Ludwig) on the Steam Community page for the tool, what you’re meant to do is this:

  1. Run Steam in the desktop client without the -vr option
  2. Find “SteamVR” under “Tools” in your library. (If you don’t have it installed, install it.)
  3. Bring up properties on SteamVR and opt-in to the “Beta Update” beta. Let the update download.
  4. Quit the Steam Client again and start it with -vr

Doing this results in a Big Picture login page, placed on a curved screen directly in front of your head. You can look around, and click on things. It works surprisingly well (and is probably the best-implemented text-y menu I’ve seen in the Rift thus far), although it definitely seems a wee bit buggy. Actually logging into my account instantly just puts it into regular Big Picture mode, for instance. I have no doubt there are ways around this (others on the community page are reporting they’ve managed to – for instance – start up Euro Truck Simulator 2 in Oculus Rift mode via this client) but, er, yes. Right now it’s definitely beta.

It’s worth noting that this appears to have some sort of Oculus Rift-based approval, since running the SteamVR tool directly from within Steam actually just opens up the Oculus Rift configuration utility.

I’ve spent the last ten minutes trying to get a screengrab of Steam Big Picture working with VR, but no dice. Sorry, everyone.

As far as I can tell, RoadtoVR get credit for spotting this one.

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