SteamVR Integration For Windows VR Headsets Goes Live In Preview Today

Starting today SteamVR is officially accessible using Windows Mixed Reality (aka Windows VR) headsets like the Acer, HP, Lenovo, and others. Previously the Windows VR headsets could only access and launch apps that were natively available within the Windows store.
Last week we got the chance to try out this functionality for ourselves at an event where we went hands-on with the Samsung Odyssey Windows VR headset and came away impressed. Playing The Lab’s Longbow game I was able to easily move around the environment, shoot stick figures, as well as knock and loose arrows with ease. Support isn’t 100% across all of Steam yet, and it won’t be for some time, but it’s a step in the right direction. You can see what it’s like to launch into SteamVR right here:

However, when I got back home and gained access to the preview version of SteamVR support the results were much worse. Walking around the Windows VR Home cliff house worked fine as usual, including controller tracking, but the same can’t be said for SteamVR access. Controllers would frequently disappear, start drifting, or lose tracking at random intervals. I couldn’t even clear more than five waves in Longbow because it would delay my arrow releases or even have the arrow and/or bow vanish for several seconds along with intermittent jittering. I tried restarting my PC several times, made sure everything was updated, and never saw an improvement.
Now it’s worth saying that all of this functionality is still in testing, it’s not officially released, and even today it’s only in Steam Preview. This isn’t a 1.0 iteration of the support by any means. According to the online documentation from Microsoft, in order to use SteamVR with a Windows VR headset you need to meet the “Ultra” specifications on this page. The PC I was testing this on was running the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update with 32GB RAM, an Intel i7-6700k and a GTX 980 Ti. All of those components surpass the published “Ultra” specifications. Although, it’s worth noting that a PR representative did tell me at least a GTX 1070 and 7th-gen Intel i7 were recommended for testing SteamVR at this time.
You should take all of that with a grain of salt for now though. Until we can test it out on better hardware, get feedback from peers and consumers, and actually see what it’s like when they deem it fully compatible, impressions from a developer mode preview iteration are far from final.
Now that it’s open to the public in Steam Preview, check it out and let us know what you think if you’ve got a Windows VR headset! Tell us your thoughts down in the comments below!
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