SteamVR Home Beta Adds Social Features In Major Update

by Joe Durbin • May 18th, 2017

SteamVR is an essential platform for virtual reality and, starting today, exploring it is about to get a whole lot better.

In a community post published today, Valve Software is announcing a major update that will vastly improve the way users can interact with VR content and friends. SteamVR Home is the name of a new beta program that will bring a wealth of new options to users including new environments, avatars and social capabilities.

According to Valve:

“Today we are updating SteamVR with a new home experience that is richer, more interactive, and more social than the existing launch area. SteamVR Home is currently in beta and will appear for everyone who opts in to SteamVR Beta…

We’ve also heard loud and clear that creators want the ability to make more detailed home environments, with sound, animation, interaction, and social elements. All of these features and more are now available with the new SteamVR Home update.”

Environments are the first thing getting a major makeover in SteamVR Home. The sterile background and basic menus of the previous iteration will be replaced by spaces that “can now be higher resolution and support animation, sound, games, and interactivity.”

New environments can be made by users inside the SteamVR Workshop.

You’ll also now have the ability to create a personal avatar from a selection of pre-loaded pieces and parts. You can “choose your avatar’s head and accessorize it with wearables and props. Additional avatars and wearables can be found by completing quests in other SteamVR environments.”

Invite Friends To Your Virtual Home In Steam

VR social interactions will also be possible with your Steam friends for the first time:

SteamVR Home has social functions built in, making it easier than ever to connect to friends and other players. Invite friends to join you in your home space, or open any environment up to friends or the public. Voice chat with other players, interact with tools and props, and explore different SteamVR environments with others.

Lastly, this all may look familiar to longtime SteamVR users. This is because the entire thing is essentially an updated version of another SteamVR application: Destinations. Valve explained the future of Destinations in a separate posting which states that:

“The short of it is that we are building the core functionality of Destinations into SteamVR as SteamVR Home (Beta). This means that richer environments, props, tools, multiplayer, and avatars will be available to all players by default…Once this update is out of SteamVR Beta the Destinations application will no longer be updated.”

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  • Mane Vr

    this is what oculus home should have been from the start “SteamVR Home has social functions built in, making it easier than ever to connect to friends and other players. Invite friends to join you in your home space, or open any environment up to friends or the public.” I how many people can u invite in could we have vr party with a dj and all just people jump off to an adventure then come back to the party man I can see it all in my head this need to get big spaces with up to 16-20 players in a room lol the new chat rooms of the future being created

    • Роман Семенов

      They are working on it, called Facebook Spaces. Give it some time and I think it will be a cool socialization platform.

    • SandmaN

      Yep, I have to agree that was a huge miss and oversight by the Oculus team – they even had the groundwork for the environment laid. I can’t tell you how many times I thought “man, it would really be cool if we could move around in our ‘house’, interact with it, and even customize it just like Playstation Home had the ability to do years ago.” Fail.

    • CQCoder

      The last thing I want is ‘FaceBook’ VR. No way.

    • Mario-Galouzeau de Bocsa

      Funny how ppl put it. “What Oculus Home should have been from the start”. Why not “what Steam VR should have been” ? At that time, Oculus Home looked way better than Steam VR, not to mention crashes. VR parties is on the way. It’s like having 2 houses being built next to each other, 1 just finished the roof, the other hasn’t. “Should have a roof from the start”. Before fundations, really ? And if it’s that easy, what took Valve so long ?

  • Bibelo

    OASIS

  • Xron

    I liked that Island resort idea…
    It would be nice to be able to build our own vr world, even if its small at the start. (Without using unity or u4).

  • Robbie Cartwright

    I love how Oculus has worked on Avatar’s and Spaces for years as a promoted feature, like “You can have an Avatar in VR with Rift” and Steam is just like, “yeah, here’s an update. Yeah, it’s got Home in it. Yup, make an avatar. Here ya go.” So non-chalant. xD

    • NooYawker

      Valve is made up mostly of geeks who just love gaming and tech. Gabe is not much of a showman, it’s a private company and they don’t have to tap dance for shareholders.

      • Robbie Cartwright

        Oh yeah, I totally get that, it’s just so funny to look at the marketing differences between the two companies. >w<

  • NooYawker

    Time to dust off the Vive.

  • JonBishop

    I use Steam VR almost exclusively. I like the Oculus Home mansion and all, but all of my games are now on Steam VR. The update is appreciated!

  • Candy Cab

    Sounds like they are building toward what Playstation Home used to be.

  • Onyx Blue

    Fantastic effort by Steam! – very encouraging! –