As rumored, SteamVR support for the new Windows 10 VR headsets will not be available in time for launch two weeks from now, but customers should get a taste of it later this year.
At its event in San Francisco today Microsoft revealed that a developer preview for the SteamVR support on its new devices, made in partnership with companies like Acer and Dell, is now available. This will allow developers to try out their own content within SteamVR. Microsoft expects to make this preview build available to everyone later this holiday season. Valve released the following statement to us about how the integration will work:
“Microsoft is providing an OpenVR driver that allows SteamVR to automatically identify Windows MR hardware. From a consumer’s experience, this should allow SteamVR titles to ‘just work’ on these devices. On the dev side it is also possible for developers to tune their application for specific aspects of the headsets and/or for the Windows MR controllers.”
This support means Microsoft’s new headsets should get access to hundreds of VR games on Steam. The platform already supports Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and OSVR, meaning anyone with one of those headsets can jump into any VR product on the store, though specific optimization is required to fine-tune control schemes for each platform.
Feature-wise, Microsoft’s headsets offer a very similar experience to Rift and Vive. The headsets themselves offers six degrees of freedom (6DOF) tracking, as do their motion controllers. The main difference is that this tracking is delivered through an inside-out system, meaning all the movement sensors are located on the hardware itself and not placed around the room like with Rift and Vive. Whether the tracking system can keep up with the these tried and true headsets remains to be seen.
It sounds like gamers will have to hang tight on SteamVR support for a little bit, then. Fortunately, Microsoft will also have VR games on the Windows Store, many of which appear on Steam too. We recently went hands-on with Superhot’s Windows Store version, for example, and we’re looking forward to exclusive content like the new Halo experience too.
The first Windows 10 VR headsets launch Oct. 17.