You can stick a phone into a Gear VR headset and a few seconds later you’ll be browsing experiences from a menu in virtual reality. If you want to try the Vive, however, you’ll have to turn on your computer, launch SteamVR, and then go into VR.
In the most recent update to the beta version of SteamVR, though, Valve added a feature so that virtual reality will automatically start “when a Vive controller is turned on, a controller’s system button is pressed, or the button on a Vive headset is pressed.”
Steam needs to be running for this to work, but assuming you have your PC sleeping most of the time with Steam open, jumping into VR with your PC can be as easy as waking up the machine and pressing a button. Passwords are important for security, but it’s easy to imagine some enthusiasts with a dedicated VR setup bypassing that feature and leaving the keyboard and mouse put away. The dream being to simply turn on the PC, put on the headset and then press one button to enter VR.
Both Oculus and Valve have come a very long way integrating their technologies into Windows — the Rift will launch into VR if you have the PC on and put on the headset. There’s still a long way to go, but this latest step for the Vive brings us just a little bit closer to systems that will drop you right into VR without any obstacles.
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the Rift’s ability to launch into VR. It is now updated.