Here's how to get going with Steam's own virtual reality platform!

Whether you're just getting started with an HTC Vive or opted for Oculus Rift, SteamVR is looking to be a major player in desktop VR. Serving as a central hub for game distribution and social experiences, the platform is a must-have tool for having the best virtual reality experiences. Here's what you need to know about SteamVR and how to use it!

What can I do with SteamVR?

SteamVR is Valve's own virtual reality platform, which stems from the company's successful Steam client for distributing traditional desktop games for PC, Mac, and Linux. Since Steam's debut back in 2003, the program has developed into a mature ecosystem for gaming experiences. With a developed gaming network and even its own line of specialist hardware, Steam is the prime place for desktop gaming.

Hence, with the rising interests in virtual reality, SteamVR is the latest progression in the Steam service. With support for leading PC-based headsets, SteamVR is quickly emerging as a central hub for virtual reality in the home.

Which VR headsets can I use with SteamVR?

Out of the box, SteamVR has been designed with support for both leading consumer virtual reality headsets – both the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. Games and experiences for both headsets are available through the Steam store, however, hardware differences have resulted in headset-exclusive titles.

As a result of a partnership between HTC and Valve, SteamVR also offers a number of features and tweaks exclusive to the HTC Vive. While Oculus Rift users will still be able to access most of SteamVR's offerings, SteamVR has been built alongside HTC's headset from the outset.

While the HTC Vive has been designed for use with SteamVR out of the box, the Oculus Rift needs some minor tweaks to support the platform. These changes can be applied through the Oculus application, by following the steps detailed in the guide below.

How to get your Oculus Rift working with SteamVR

Getting started with SteamVR

Once you've got your virtual reality headset primed and ready, you'll need to install SteamVR. Available as an extension of the traditional Steam desktop client, SteamVR can be easily installed through the following steps.

  1. To use SteamVR you'll need to have installed the desktop Steam client. If you haven't done so, follow the link here.
  2. Upon connecting a compatible VR headset, you'll be automatically prompted to install SteamVR. To complete the installation, follow the on-screen instructions to initiate the download.

Note: If you're not asked to install SteamVR after connecting a headset, a manual install can be triggered under the Tools Library of the Steam desktop client.

Using SteamVR

After SteamVR has been installed, you'll soon be able to get started with your first VR adventures. Provided your headset is plugged in and ready to go, follow the steps below to get immersed in SteamVR!

  1. Find the VR icon on your Steam desktop client. This should be located by the minimize and maximize buttons at the top right of the windows.
  2. Click the VR icon to start SteamVR.

And with that, you should be able to put on your VR headset to see the virtual representation of SteamVR. From here, you can browse your library and start any of your VR experiences!

Have any problems?

Having any problems with your SteamVR installation? Make sure to take a look at our SteamVR troubleshooting guide! Otherwise, don't hesitate to leave a comment below!