Steam is working on its own virtual reality headset, but it plans to support any and all including the now much-improved Oculus Rift via a user interface tailored to VR devices that launched in beta last night (via Engadget). According to those in the know, the beta software for the Steam client essentially puts a VR-friendly version of Steam’s Big Picture mode (designed for TVs) in front of your google-encased eyes.
Our own Anthony Ha recently took the new Oculus Rift “Crystal Cove” prototype for a spin at CES, and he found it much-improved over versions past. The new Oculus Rift supports more types of head movement and tracking, doing away with any dissonant experiences that might’ve led to nausea in the earlier developer hardware.
Immersive VR is all well and good, especially now that you can game for longer periods of time without feeling weird about it, but popping back to a desktop user interface to manage your Steam library is bound to be frustrating and disorienting, so this new UI should help gamers who NEVER WANT TO LEAVE THEIR VIRTUAL PRISON.
Steam clearly wants to be everywhere gamers game, including on their own new Steambox partner devices. It’ll be very interesting to see what they bring to the table with a VR headset of their own, because for now at least, Oculus Rift is leading the charge pretty much unopposed for that type of gaming.