Livestreaming a VR experience isn’t exactly hard with the availability of software like OBS and services like Twitch, but anything that can make the process easier or better could help accelerate adoption of virtual reality and have a ripple effect on the industry as a whole.
SteamVR already supports mixed reality capture through a plug-in but now it turns out Steam users can easily watch friends play with the click of a button. The feature opens up the possibility of a variety of new behaviors in VR, like letting a far away friend watch to offer advice, and offering prospective customers another way to see how the game is played before buying it. The feature might be useful in other ways too, like e-sports. I know I’d tune in to see how the best Space Pirate Trainer players are able to achieve such high scores.
The feature comes with privacy controls that range from invite-only to anyone. According to Valve, to activate the feature in the HTC Vive “invite a friend to watch from the Dashboard, or accept a friend’s incoming request by pressing the System button when you receive the notification.” Broadcasting starts automatically when someone starts watching and ends when the game does.
Bellevue, Washington-based Valve is rapidly evolving its SteamVR platform in tandem with its dominant Steam software store. Meanwhile, Oculus is building a platform from scratch, including the ability to add friends, for example, very recently. The two platforms are heading toward the same goal of making VR more compelling and, over the long term, features like live broadcasting from within VR or connecting with friends could drive adoption of one platform over the other. Oculus recently added the ability to capture videos and screenshots within VR but hasn’t yet offered anything like this latest broadcasting feature from Valve.
UploadVR is testing out different methods of capturing and streaming virtual reality experiences. We’ll give this method a shot in the coming days so stay tuned for updates.