Valve Launches Virtual Reality User Interface for Steam

Soon we’ll all be able to see just how many games are stacked up in our Steam backlog in virtual reality.

Ahead of the anticipated release of the Steam Virtual Reality Software Developer Kit tomorrow, Valve has launched VR mode for Steam.

Word came down via the new Steam VR community page, where Valve encouraged any early Oculus Rift adopters to try using its experimental version of Steam in virtual reality.

The key word here being “experimental.” The Steam VR forums quickly filled with posts noting various bugs, including trouble getting it to run and a persistent drift that makes the virtual user interface float to the left. After a good deal of trial and error last night as well as a quick hotfix from Valve, here’s the best way to get Steam VR up and running:

  • 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.

Great start to 2014 for virtual reality. At CES last week, Oculus took the wraps off of its new Rift prototype, the Crystal Cove, which features a new OLED display and significantly reduced latency. Now we’ve got Steam in virtual reality, and at the Steam Dev Days Conference, which begins tomorrow, Valve is expected to launch its Steam Virtual Reality Software dev kit.

Having tried an earlier version of the Oculus Rift and being floored, I’m confident in saying that, when all is said and done, gaming in 2014 won’t be seen as the year of the Xbox One or the PS4 or even Steam Machines. It will be the year of virtual reality.

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