Valve this week announced that it has dropped support for SteamVR on MacOS to focus on Windows and Linux versions.
For many, I imagine the reaction to this news will be “wait, SteamVR supported MacOS?”
Indeed, though few VR games were actually ported to the platform, modern SteamVR support came to MacOS back in 2017 when Apple finally embraced VR.
While the company was marketing its latest series of computers at the time as being ‘VR ready’, that interest quickly faded. Having worked with Valve for nearly a year to optimized SteamVR on MacOS, by 2019 Apple had essentially gone silent on VR once again.
For Valve’s part, the company had continually updated SteamVR alongside Windows and Linux versions. Simply adding MacOS support to SteamVR didn’t mean existing SteamVR content would suddenly work on MacOS, developers would still need to spend plenty of time porting their games to the OS. With the vast majority of the VR audience (and gamers in general) on Windows, it seems few developers thought it would be worth their time to do so; less than two dozen SteamVR games offer support for MacOS now three years after support landed.
This week Valve quietly announced that it has ended support for SteamVR on MacOS, “so that our team can focus on Windows and Linux.” The company advised that legacy builds will remain, and that developers and users can opt into the SteamVR [MacOS] beta branch via Steam to continue to use those builds.
SteamVR was the only major VR platform to support MacOS since early Oculus development kits; since then Oculus has steered clear of MacOS.