Windows VR Support on Steam Leaves Early Access, Claims Significant Improvement Since Launch

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Microsoft released its April Windows 10 update yesterday, and with it comes the official launch of SteamVR support for Windows “Mixed Reality” VR headsets.

After launching in Early Access in November last year, which allowed users to provisionally play SteamVR games with Windows VR headsets, Microsoft has made the integration ready for prime time thanks to five months-worth of updates that the company says improve performance, stability, haptic feedback for motion controllers, and improvements to how motion controllers appear in SteamVR. Check out the full list of updates on the software’s Steam page.

Some of the lesser highlights: it’s now easier to take screenshots in VR (hold the Windows button and tap the trigger), and it’s easier to personalize and manipulate content inside of Cliff House. , and the newest VR ‘home’ space called Skyloft.

Here’s what Microsoft has to say about its official release in a Steam update post:

“It’s important to clarify that today’s announcement doesn’t change anything about our ongoing commitment to our SteamVR experience and our community. We will continue to release regular updates with new fixes and features, and you will still find us here in the discussion forums. We aren’t going anywhere. In particular, we’ve heard the community’s requests for more customizable input and the ability to launch from the Cliff House. We’re investigating solutions and look forward to sharing more details soon!”

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The company says that 422 VR games on the Steam Store now officially declare support for Windows VR, although many ‘non-supported’ games may actually work with Windows VR thanks to the all-inclusive nature of Valve’s OpenVR API.

Windows VR devices still occupy a pretty minimal spot on Steam, accounting for a total of ~5% of total VR headsets reported in this month’s Steam Hardware Survey. The ecosystem’s partner manufacturers—Dell, HP, Acer, Samsung, Lenovo and Asus—will no doubt continue to drive down prices though of their respective headsets, potentially giving Microsoft further influence in the thus far bi-polar fight between HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.

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  • androsszit

    For the price I paid, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the hardware (acer model) I received. I felt the software that went with it was… buggy, at best. Just getting the headset setup was an all day affair changing registry keys, reinstalling windows updates multiple times, etc.

    If Windows has made great improvements here, I feel the mixed reality headsets really can be great budget competitors to the Occulus and Vive. ~$200 is a lot easier to swallow if someone wants an intro to what makes VR so appealing.

    • kontis

      Only in the US. They are priced like the Rift in the rest of the world.

    • VRthinktank

      When did you try to set up your Acer? On release week? Ever since the Creators Update at the end of last year it takes about 5-10 min with the Windows Integration. Rift and Vive took 10x longer to deal with the sensors and etc.

      • androsszit

        I set it up 2 weeks ago during the VR sale on Amazon and Steam. It was a pain. Black flickering screen, windows update issues. Got it all resolved but I’m fairly tech savvy and knew where to look for fixes.

  • MarquisDeSang

    MR is better than Vive Pro

    • James Hoskisson

      funny cos its true

  • Liam Mulligan

    Certainly agree that in the past few months i have watched my odyssey break then work then break again. All due to OS upgrades or incompatible software changes that renders it inoperable until a day or so later when a patch is released. Not good enough. I always go back to the vive as it just works without the horrors and i have 6 vives and a pro at work.

  • Mythos88

    I’ve been noticing WMR updates have been coming steadily and it is working very well now. Perhaps the biggest near term issue is to get the trackpad instructions on SteamVR re-mapped to the thumbsticks for those games that do not support the WMR thumbsticks.