Explore Steam in virtual reality with Oculus Rift

The beta version of SteamVR is available starting today, giving users a different way of interacting with Steam using the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset.

The announcement was made by Valve programmer Joe Ludwig on Steam's newly created SteamVR app section of the website, in a statement that explained how users with an Oculus Rift dev set can start testing the system out.

"As of the most recent Steam Client Beta steam now supports an experimental VR mode," wrote Ludwig. "If you own an Oculus Rift dev kit you can try it out by starting Steam with '-vr' on the command line. Then press the Big Picture button to enter Big Picture + VR mode.

"The first time you run you may need to do the following:

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

Users are asked to download the latest update for SteamVR to bypass a bug that prevented Oculus from working correctly alongside Steam, with full instructions detailed by Reddit user CunningCory below:

  • Go to "Library," "Tools," and download SteamVR
  • Opt into SteamVR Beta. Make sure it's up-to-date
  • Set Steam to start in Big Picture mode.
  • Create a shortcut to Steam and add -vr to the launch options
  • IMPORTANT: Set the Rift as an extended monitor and make sure it's the secondary.
  • Start Steam using your modified shortcut.

This follows earlier confirmation from Valve of being days away from launching a VR software development kit to developers with a standardized way of creating an interface for VR controllers. The VR kit will be a component of a bigger package of software tools aimed to provide developers with a standard to control games on Valve's Steam Box.

The company is currently holding its annual Steam Dev Days conference in Seattle both today and tomorrow.

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