Valve released the SteamVR Beta 2.1.1 update which includes a new way to play flatscreen games in VR.

Called SteamVR Theater Screen, the new function is said to replace the old Desktop Game Theater app, which was first released in 2016.

Like Desktop Game Theater, the new Theater Screen is a way of playing non-VR games from a large, virtual screen—i.e. it doesn’t turn your non-VR games into actual VR games. You’ll need bespoke mods for specific games to do that, with games such as the Half-Life 2 VR mod or the Portal 2 VR mod.

To start using Theater Screen and all other included features, you’ll need to first opt into both Steam Client Beta and SteamVR Beta. Here’s a quick guide on how to do both:

SteamVR Beta Opt-in

  • With Steam running, navigate to your library.
  • Right click on “SteamVR” in your library list, then click “Properties” in the context menu.
  • Select the “Betas” tab on the left.
  • Select “Beta – SteamVR Beta Update” from the drop-down list

Steam Client Beta Opt-in

  • With Steam running, click on “Steam” in the upper left, then choose the “Settings” menu. (Preferences on Mac)
  • On the “Interface” tab under “Client Beta Participation” select the dropdown menu
  • Select the “Steam Beta Update” from the drop-down list and click “OK”
    You will be prompted to restart Steam, please select the “Restart Steam” button
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With both betas, you can simply head to a dashboard tab to find the new Theater Screen toggle at the bottom of the screen. Toggle it, and the dashboard will automatically hide to display the content on the new Theater Screen.

If you aren’t opted-in for both betas however, you may still see the old Desktop Theater, which we captured below:

Newsletter graphic

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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 3,500 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • Neat but nothing really new. How about a real passthrough mode?!

  • g-man

    So what’s different about it than DGT?

  • ViRGiN

    Competition to praydog

  • Pab

    Vorpx hace exactamente esto con muchos juegos.

    • El Pato Producciones

      Y esa herramienta es fácil de aplicar? Se puede con los visores Meta y PSVR 2? Creo que lo ideal sería de forma nativa, con una opción desde el mismo juego.
      Y si fuese en plataforma streaming Xbox Cloud ya sería espectacular!!

      • Pab

        Solo funciona con juegos de PC (ej. por airlink) y requiere cierta potencia de GPU. Es relativamente sencillo de usar (pero es PC, no consola). Hay una gran cantidad de juegos compatibles (le da nueva vida a viejos juegos) y se ven espectacular.

  • eadVrim

    Good, it needs an option to automatically convert it to 3D stereo depth. (Like reshade).

  • Andrew Jakobs

    Maybe they’ll add a mode like VORPX someday.

  • CrusaderCaracal

    CRAZIEST NEW STEAMVR FEATURE EVER ANNOUNCED?? (THIS CHANGES THE GAME)

    Bigscreen already did this way better, and this has existed for so many years.

    • ViRGiN

      r/valveindex loves this, deckard is obviously coming soon, most likely for christmas!

  • Ad

    It’s good but doesn’t feel great to control with either the laser mouse or the VR keyboard. Nor can you use a gamepad to control the steamvr dashboard like with WMR.

  • drhouse

    VorpX’s Desktop Viewer with Ambience option turned up full is still the best VR viewer out of them all, the Ambience feature is like Atmos lights, it creates colors around the edges of the screen that matches the content