Vision Pro isn’t supposed to be able to play SteamVR games, although an independent software developer has been able to modify a popular Wi-Fi streaming app that could open the door to PC VR games like Half-Life: Alyx (2020) on Vision Pro—if it weren’t for the Apple’s strategic omission of tracked motion controllers.

Vision Pro can do an impressive number of things, including running over a million iOS apps along with a growing number of native visionOS apps. For all its uses as a general computing device, it’s not designed to hook to your computer to play SteamVR games, which is pretty unsurprising considering… it’s Apple.

Zhuowei Zhang, a developer who works on Android, iOS, and Web-based software, however has reportedly been able to install ALVR on Vision Pro, a third-party app for standalone VR headsets which lets you stream VR games from your PC via Wi-Fi—not unlike Steam Link or Meta’s Air Link for Quest.

SEE ALSO
Apple Confirms Vision Pro is Launching in China This Year, Going Where Meta Can't

Zhang didn’t have a Vision Pro headset to test it out, so the programmer enlisted others to try out what was originally only tested in the visionOS simulator provided by Apple to developers. We get a quick glimpse of it in action in SteamVR Home, courtesy programmer ‘shadowfacts‘ via James Abev:

Shadowfacts, who also goes by the handle ‘J. Walter Weatherman’ (a reference to TV show Arrested Development), calls the implementation “very rough right now, but it does function.”

That doesn’t mean you’ll be able to jump into any of the room-scale games you’d come to expect, like The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners or Half-Life: Alyx, because those require motion controllers. Apple is supposedly not planning on shipping VR controllers either, so it may be up to more clever hackery to solve that problem, something we really can’t wait to see.

Update (9:45 AM ET): Here’s an additional look at X/Twitter user ‘ShinyQuagsire’ who shows the ALVR hack working to use Vision Pro’s hand-tracking in VRChat. We’ve removed the ‘report’ from the headline to reflect our general confidence level that it’s indeed possible.

 

– – — – –

If you want to try installing ALVR on Vision Pro, follow Zhang’s microblog for detailed instructions and links to download all of the software needed. Installing third-party stuff is risky, so do so at your own discretion.

Newsletter graphic

This article may contain affiliate links. If you click an affiliate link and buy a product we may receive a small commission which helps support the publication. More information.


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.
  • ViRGiN

    It’s an interesting exercise, as the article says Apple aren’t trying to complete with more mainstream headsets so it will likely take talented individuals to develop a sideloading solution, like Revive for titles that were limited to the Oculus store thanks to Meta’s walled garden (as Apple does for it’s own store).

    Having said that, the more software that can go cross platform, the more benefits for the consumers, whatever the hardware.

    And as a side note, I personally can’t think of anything better than having more Steam titles told, and consumers using SteamVR where all headsets are welcome, independent of manufacturer.

    • Gabe Zuckerwell

      Pathetic imposter

      • Gabe Zuckerwell

        I’ve changed my mind: “wise, measured words.” is what I meant to say.

        • Gabe Zuckerwell

          Insane in the membrane

          • Gabe Zuckerwell

            “Insane in the brain!” (c) Cypress Hill

          • ViRGiN

            We are working on three full VR games/wireless is a solved issue in 2017 – gayben

          • ViRGiN

            I hate PCVR, and all PCVR users (because I can’t afford a PC), so I don’t know why I say these things when I seem to be the only one who’s mourning the perceived loss of a couple of PC titles…

          • ViRGiN

            I’m a PCVR fanboy and I love Steam Next Fest! So many great VR demos available today! Instead of being jaded, you should save a few bucks and spend money on digital garbage! After all, Valve is promoting it! Why would you skip on that? It’s news worthy! I hope there will be a front page article about it.

          • ViRGiN

            Pathetic imposter

          • ViRGiN

            gayben

          • ViRGiN

            Mommie, I wanna a PC, all the other boys have one, why can’t I? What, you say your clients can’t feel the sides anymore? But how am I supposed to make myself feel better??? I know, I’ll make all the other PCVR players feel bad, then that’ll make me feel better about my sad life! And why would anyone else spend the time doing this, finding articles that aren’t even in the newsletter as I type this with one finger, are they unemployed or something? I’d better make myself another account, that’ll show them I have a large cult following, and in no way will this look pathetic to other people on this free website I don’t contribute anything noteworthy to…!

          • ViRGiN

            ok

          • ViRGiN

            It’s now up to you. I won’t start on the commenting for new articles from today, if you steer clear of insulting people and stick to verifiable facts when you post. If you don’t, you’ll be dealing with this forever more- whatever user account you choose to make it with, because I have a lot of time on my hands, and I’m quite enjoying the irony of troll vs troll.

          • ViRGiN

            what

    • ViRGiN

      imposter

      • Guldhammer_DK

        Oh okay now I better understand, why you suddenly were so positive ;-)

        • Christian Schildwaechter

          The “original” one’s disqus URL ends in Rj, the “new and improved(?)” one’s in Pu, for a quick check. I blocked both, the first for what he writes and how he deals with others, the second because I cannot approve what is basically identity theft either.

      • Gabe Zuckerwell

        It’s all lies! Someone doesn’t know when to quit!

        • ViRGiN

          imposter

  • another juan

    but will apple ever allow pcvr streaming in their store?
    they have famously fighted tooth and nail to forbid sideloading in their devices…

    • ViRGiN

      I don’t see the point – ALVR might have been the first for streaming, but it was never quarter as good as Virtual Desktop.
      Supporting dead platform, poorly at that is not a win-win situation for Apple.

    • Christian Schildwaechter

      iVRy has been available on Apple’s App Store for iPhone/iPad since 2017. It allows to stream SteamVR titles to an iPhone inserted into one of the many Cardboard compatible plastic headsets you can get on Amazon for a few bucks. VRidge is an alternative, also available on App Store.

      So Apple already allows PCVR streaming on their store. ALVR is published under the Apache FOSS license, so someone releasing a client on the AVP store won’t even run into problems with not being able to provide the source there, which stopped some GPL licensed software from being released there.

      Apple has also allowed other streaming types like VNC or Microsoft Remote Desktop. They tried to block native iOS clients for game streaming services like Nvidia’s Geforce Now, arguing that those provide “multiple games” that have to be reviewed individually, though it was very obviously about the ginormous piles of money iOS games made them. The recently allowed these services too, not sure how much they charge, but it will be a lot. Apple was never bothered by streaming that doesn’t involve regular payments, so PCVR streaming should be fine.

      • iVRy

        I don’t think that Apple will approve VisionOS-only streaming solutions. It should be possible to modify an iOS app to include support for VisionOS, and be one of the million or so iOS apps that gets allowed on VisionOS, and doesn’t need separate approval.

        • Christian Schildwaechter

          We haven’t really seen any games in AVP’s “Immersive Mode” yet, which would be the closest thing to VR. So it’s hard to even guess what direction Apple wants things to go, or not to go. Or what their general plans for gaming on visionOS are. The situation is also rather volatile, as they’ve just been forced by the EU to open up the platform a little bit, with more trouble coming from the US. So there will be some “let’s wait and see”.

          Compatibility through regular iOS apps should be fine for the AVP users, though I have some problems figuring out how Apple would argue that a visionOS-only stereoscopic streaming app won’t be approved, when that content cannot be properly viewed on a regular iPhone without additional hardware. Any plans for extending the iVRy app for AVP/visionOS? No doubt there is a demand, even if the number of headsets will remain rather low compared to phones for a long time.

          • iVRy

            Yes, although it will take a lot of sales to cover the cost of the hardware and the development time, it is part of the strategy of the iVRy driver (to support as many device types as possible).

          • Christian Schildwaechter

            AFAIR you had to buy a lot of rather expensive equipment to be able to figure out how the PSVR2 communicates with the PS5, so iVRy could use the PSVR2 with a PC. Plus there was no documentation whatsoever. Hopefully this will be somewhat easier for AVP, even if the HMD itself is way more expensive.

          • iVRy

            The headset is designed to run 3rd party software, and the majority of the iVRy iOS app code can be used. The iVRy mobile app is largely cross-platform (mostly written in C++) and can be extended easily by adding tracking/rendering plugins.

          • iVRy

            “I have some problems figuring out how Apple would argue that a visionOS-only stereoscopic streaming app won’t be approved”

            Apple has stated that VisionOS-only apps will be curated, and from their guide-lines it sounds very much like they wouldn’t currently approve a VisionOS-only VR streaming app.

  • John Grimoldy

    “Difficult” should not be a word associated with a $3.5K VR headset.

  • Christian Schildwaechter

    SteamVR Streaming Works on Vision Pro, But Adding Controllers Will Be Difficult

    From the number of articles Scott has written about this, it’s quite obvious he really wants Apple to (natively) support tracked controllers, but this is the one situation where using them with AVP is already (almost) trivial. When you are streaming from a VR PC anyway, there is no need to have the controllers connected to the headset, you can also connect them to the PC. This way you can already stream wirelessly to a Quest 3 while using Index controllers, and will be able to stream to AVP via ALVR/ALXR with SteamVR compatible 6DoF controllers too.

    You’ll currently be limited to controllers that work with lighthouse tracking, as most other VR controllers need to be tracked from the HMD itself. The most interesting alternative, the self-tracking Quest Pro controllers, AFAIK so far only work with Meta HMDs. Up to now the main reason for someone to try and implement a 3rd party driver would have been to replace subpar WMR controllers for e.g. a HP Reverb G2, but maybe AVP will now provide for some extra motivation to get Quest Pro controllers to work with other headsets too.

    • Eldrach

      Well – sure, you could do that – but that tethers you to the proximity of your wireless dongles.

      • Christian Schildwaechter

        I’d say the bigger problem is that it tethers you to your PC and the range of your lighthouses, which are a lot less portable than the dongles. The PC/dongles could be made semi-portable with a gaming laptop, but the lighthouses will seriously limit your motion range, unless you manage to fill every corner with v2.0 base stations.

        Which is one reason why the self-tracking Quest Pro controllers are a more attractive solution. Paired via a Quest and a gaming laptop carried in a backpack, those could provide a truly portable solution again that. If someone finds a way to connect the controllers directly to AVP, allowing to pass the tracking data to a PC, it would be possible to use backpack-free streaming from e.g. a ShadowPC to wherever you have sufficiently fast WiFi or extremely fast 5G connectivity. Or you wait for Deckard to play PCVR on a freely moveable standalone headset.

  • David G

    ” Here’s an additional look at X/Twitter user ‘ShinyQuagsire’ who shows the ALVR hack working to use Vision Pro’s hand-tracking in VRChat.”

    is incorrect. You can see him using index controllers in the video, presumably with Space Calibrator.

  • John Grimoldy

    Just buy a Quest and spend the other $3K on cocaine.