The Meta 2 AR headset SDK now supports SteamVR, making it easy for developers who have built SteamVR applications to add support for the headset.

With support for the Vive, Rift, and soon the Windows VR headsets, it seems that SteamVR is slowly becoming the multi-headset hub that Valve originally envisioned. Thanks to Valve’s OpenVR API, the Meta 2 AR headset has now also added initial support for SteamVR to version 2.3 of their SDK. That means the developers who have been building games and apps based on the OpenVR API will be able to easily add support for the Meta 2 headset.

According to a blog post from the company, the initial support is still limited, allowing the headset to render SteamVR content but with older tracking no input. The company says they’ll soon be adding optimized tracking and allow user’s hands to function as controllers thanks to the headset’s hand-tracking tech. There’s also plans to make the headset interoperable with the Vive controllers.

Exclusive: Meta 2 AR Demos Revealed in Full

Meta says they plan to “build a thriving AR ecosystem on SteamVR,” which makes it sound as if they’re targeting the platform as the headset’s primary hub for content distribution; we’ve reached out to confirm the company’s future plans.

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  • Firestorm185

    Wait, so like, you could play Budget Cuts on this thing? Is that what this is saying?

    • Nimso Ny

      They’re pretty much the same thing.
      AR is basically just VR with a 3D camera on the front.
      In headset you simply render the camera view so you can see the real world, then render the in app content on top.

      Basically, take your phone, go on the camera app, put a magnifying glass on top, hey presto, you have Augmented Reality. You have a “HUD” on top which is essentially the augmented content in that case.

      If it allows SteamVR, you can play any VR games on it. (including Oculus games through ReVive)

      • NooYawker

        Yes and no.. on Phones AR is viewed in the camera, or in a VR headset. But real AR will be viewed with goggles or glasses, you won’t be looking through a camera, they will be overlayed on the glass.

  • starchaser28

    We need a video of how this actually works. :)

  • I continue saying: what’s the point? Playing a VR game on an AR headset has no sense

    • Caven

      “I continue saying: what’s the point? Playing a VR game on an AR headset has no sense”

      Playing Mortal Kombat with a mouse makes no sense either, but it doesn’t stop Steam from selling Mortal Kombat, nor does it stop Steam from selling games that do require a mouse.

      You might say that my previous statement makes no sense because fighting games and point-and-click games are two different things. My response to that is: Exactly. They’re not supposed to be the same thing, so they get played differently. Despite those fundamental differences, the games do have a couple of points in common. One is that they’re almost certainly using a standardized graphics API to render their graphics, and the other is that they’re being sold on the biggest digital distribution platform available.

      So what does this have to do with AR on a VR platform? Well, SteamVR is a standardized API, and despite the name, it’s not limited to just VR. SteamVR can easily be adapted for AR use, since the only real difference between VR and AR is that the AR display is see-through. With the standardized API comes easier developer support for the Meta 2 or any other AR headset that should happen to come along later. And if a developer wants to distribute their AR game or app through Steam anyway, why not take advantage off an API provided by the platform that allows support for many different devices?

      It’s true that playing a VR game in AR generally makes no sense (even though I can think of some exceptions), but so what? Just play AR games on Steam with an AR headset, and VR games on Steam with a VR headset–just as you might play Mortal Kombat X or Street Fighter V with a tournament fightstick and Civilization 5 or Day of the Tentacle with a mouse, but not the other way around.

    • Armando Tavares

      «The Meta 2 AR headset SDK now supports SteamVR…» Now, the IMPORTANT bit «…making it easy for developers who have built SteamVR applications to add support for the headset….»

      I don’t see everything being ported to AR but the possibility will be there from now on and that’s HUGE.

      Also, being present in the STEAM universe is a major step forward for this kind of device.

    • Doctor Bambi

      I think it’s less about playing VR games and more about providing AR a platform to grow on. OpenVR makes sense because a lot of the core technology for VR applies to AR as well. The general consensus among the VR/AR circles is that these two technologies will eventually merge. If that is indeed the case, it would benefit SDKs like OpenVR to start laying that groundwork now. Oculus has been reported researching AR as well and likely intentd to add AR specific functionality at some point in the future.

  • YmpulsiV

    For now, I prefer VR. The only thing I can think of with reference to AR is the “cool” factor. Remember a scene in one of the Iron Man movie when Stark was designing another armour version, manipulating the design with his hands and ended up tossing it in the trash. Pretty cool! And before Iron Man, in Minority Report, when Cruise’s character was manipulating the system’s interface for info. Again, pretty cool.
    Until AR gets to that stage where it is totally useful… (almost like Windows’ operating system) for me, then it’s VR.
    But keep up the awesome work guys. You gave me VR… something I wanted to experience since I was a kid.

    • NooYawker

      VR for games, AR for productivity.

    • Richard Bettridge

      I foresee a “near” future where VR and AR are achieved on the same device. It’s a matter of whether you show the real world or not, but the tracking and rendering would remain the same. I think a dead simple way to achieve this in a prototype is by adding electrochromic glass to a well rounded AR unity.

      I’m also really excited for a future where the VR world you play in is mapped 1:1 with the real world. So all of the physical walls in your house are remapped with artificial textures. Same geometry but different skin.

      If you were to play a game where 100% of what you see fits the physical geometry of your home, but also 100% of what you see are virtual textures, is that Virtual Reality or Augmented Reality at that point?

      I almost feel like it deserves its own word but I dare say the M(ixed) word considering the garbage marketing that microsoft has used to taint that name.

      Anyway I’m ranting but I agree with your sentiment. However as a VR developer, I’m actually more excited about AR. I feel like VR is a stepping stone, and after I’ll also say AR is a stepping stone. I think VR/AR/MR is a matter of what pixels you see as real or artificial. When you have fluidity as a choice between real world “pixels” and virtual pixels taking up your vision, you can start to invent some pretty amazing stuff.

  • Armando Tavares

    Wouldn’t it be possible to move all (or most) the hardware bits to the back and sides to keep the device balanced and lose that clunky sun-shade look in the front? Ever since I saw HoloLens I thought about this and now other devices seem to go in the same direction.

    Just move everything to the back and keep it clean in the front with only the lens and whatever is needed to project stuff to them.

    What do you guys think?