SteamVR 2.0: Valve Teases New Generation SteamVR Platform
Beyond its roaring success in 2019, Valve has also been busy in the background working flat out to expand its SteamVR virtual reality platform. Valve’s latest beta update even includes a completely new interface. Now the company has announced the SteamVR 2.0 update that is set to be released later in the year.
The company revealed this in a post today where it also teased the upcoming SteamVR 2.0 which is an updated version of its current virtual reality system. The new platform comes with a slew of new customer experience improvements. Valve has, however, not revealed what these upcoming features will entail but has stated that its team is currently “hard at work” developing the platform.
Steam Usage Data
Valve is also promising to publish a number of blog posts that will analyze data from its Steam platform. This should be interesting and will provide deeper insights into VR hardware usage. The company says this has been precipitated by a number of a third-party analysis that are trying to figure out how Steam games are performing. The company wrote that since it has access to more data, it deems it “useful” to perform its own analysis which should be more detailed and provide a more accurate picture of Steam stats.
Valve is also promising to add new features so as to better support gaming soundtracks. Later in the year, the company will be rolling out Steam Trust to all its partners. In 2019, Trust shipped as a closed beta. It is the technology powering the CS:GO’s matching system which matches players according to their Trust Factor. Valve hopes that this technology will lead to better quality matches that players will find enjoyable.
Users will be seeing more new features out of the Steam Labs where Valve does some of the top-secret experimental features. The Steam mobile app will also be refreshed with new login options. Finally, Valve has promised that there will additional sale events in 2020. The company is exploring new ways of rewarding its users for their participation in sales events for the rest of the year.
SteamVR in 2020: SteamVR Beta Sees Further Refinements
Valve kept rolling out updates during the first weeks of 2020. Early this month, Valve released the v1.10.9 and v1.10.10. The v1.10.9 was the bigger of the updates and added a completely new SteamVR dashboard that has an updated quick launcher. Valve also moved the position of the dashboard closer and it is now auto-positioned according to the proximity sensor of the headset.
The Beta Update 1.10.9
The beta update 1.10.9 brings a new and clear virtual reality dashboard that has been designed from scratch. From this dashboard, the user is able to access the internet browser, PC desktop, their own game library, the environment, the Steam Store Volume Control and settings.
The new Steam dashboard was long overdue and replaces the four-year-old SteamVR interface that was inspired by the Big Picture mode.
Apart from some of its extra improvements along with the bug fixes, the new update also brings an Oculus Quest icon when the user connects Facebook’s standalone virtual reality headset to a PC via Oculus Link and is using SteamVR.
To try out these new Steam innovations, the user has to activate the beta version of Steam and SteamVR. This can be accomplished as follows:
Activation of Steam Beta
- In the main Steam Window, click on “Steam” which is situated on the upper left corner. Then click on “Settings”.
- In the subsequent menu on the left side, select “Account” and then click on “CHANGE” under the “Beta Participation” that is found on the right side.
- In the following drop-down menu, select “Steam Beta Update” and then confirm.
- Now let Steam restart and update.
Activation of SteamVR Beta
- Start by right-clicking on the “SteamVR” app in the game library and then select “Properties”.
- Click on the “BETAS” tab and in the following drop-down menu, select “SteamVR Beta Update”.
- Let Steam update to the beta version of SteamVR
Valve has been busy at work in 2019 which can be attested to the slew of successes that it accomplished for the year.
In the past year alone, it has released more than 100 SteamVR beta updates in preparation for the March release of the most-anticipated VR hit of the year-the Half-Life:Alyx.
The Steam beta updates have also brought improvements to the support for both Oculus Rift and Oculus Rift S as well as support for audio management (The Audio Update 1.8.19), VR viewport (Update 1.7.15) as well as settings (The Settings Update 1.9.13) among others.
SteamVR now provides support for close to two dozen virtual reality headsets including the Pimax headsets as well as a big range of Windows Mixed Reality like the Samsung Odyssey. SteamVR now has the broadest range of hardware support as the Oculus platform and PlayStation Store only provide support for proprietary hardware.
With the numerous updates, Valve is now looking ahead and teasing the SteamVR 2.0 for 2020. But the company hasn’t yet revealed any details on the upcoming features for the new SteamVR version.
Steam content, through the Steam Café program, can now be licensed to the operators of the internet cafes and virtual reality gambling halls. In 2019 alone, there were 8,000 such locations which participated in the licensing program for Steam content. This year, the licensing program will be extended to libraries and schools.
Valve announced that the number of monthly active Steam users in 2019 amounted to 95 million. According to the Steam Hardware and Software Survey for January 2020, only 1.31% of all the Steam users have their virtual reality headsets connected to PCs.
If this is extrapolated into real numbers, it represents approximately 1.25 million Steam users with PC VR headsets. The Christmas season of 2019 saw the biggest jump in SteamVR users with around 20% growth.
Users on other virtual reality platforms like the Oculus ecosystem and Viveport have not installed Steam and their usage statistics are therefore not captured in the Steam hardware surveys. The standalone virtual reality headsets such as Oculus Quest as well as console-based headsets such as PlayStation VR are also not captured in the stats.
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