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Overview of the virtual reality platform Steam VR: how and what can be connected to it

A lot of people have heard about Steam VR, but do not know where to download it and how to run it. It is described in detail how to do this in the installation and launch section of Steam, read carefully. Also, there is about setting up the application itself on the computer. For those who are in the tank, we will immediately explain that Steam Viar is an additional library and is downloaded through the settings, if this did not happen automatically when the helmet was connected. The language is already included in the program and is switched in the settings. If after reading there are questions or incomprehensible points, write in the comments, we will try to answer in detail and add to the article.

What is Steam and how it relates to VR

Steam is the world’s most widely used platform for purchasing computer games online. Here you can buy tens of thousands of games for any current platform and for any money. Titles and AAA titles, unless they are console exclusives, show up here first. In addition to being a store, Steam also gives you access to the app library, messaging, and more.

Obviously, such a corporation would not miss the appearance of virtual reality glasses on the gaming market, which have gathered a huge amount of controversy, discussion and, of course, fans around them over the past few years. To make the already existing platform the only place to buy games for VR helmets, a separate direction was created – SteamVR. Today it is the most comprehensive library of virtual reality games and applications available for the computer.

Which VR headsets can be used on Steam

The platform was originally developed for the HTC Vive device . Vive is one of the most convenient consoles, with the best gamepads and the quality of the helmet. However, now Steam also supports models on the DK2 protocol . You can also play with Oculus helmets such as RIFT and RIFT S. To install them, you will need additional drivers and clients from manufacturing companies. Also all helmets for Windows Mixed Reality . The new Valve Index is also supported.

As always, Steam is hardware neutral: we believe that games should not be tied to a specific helmet

Sometimes on the Internet you can see a strange version of the HTC helmet – SteamVR for sale. And they say that this is a limited edition specially for playing on Steam. In fact, officially there is no such model and they sell the same base model by increasing the price.

How to adjust the helmet

The instruction is simple: you need to start by checking the device for operability, and then install and configure games. The first step is to make sure that there are appropriate ports for connecting each connector. You may not have HDMI or Display Port, and older computers may not have USB 3.0.

For helmets from Oculus, you need to perform additional configuration using the  Oculus Home application , it is advisable to download it in advance, the software weighs more than 6 gigabytes. For Windows Mixed Reality, the Mixed Reality Portal is automatically installed and initial setup is done in it. All HTC Vive models have Vive software.

It is also advisable to install the latest video card drivers from the official NVIDIA or AMD website before connecting the device to the computer. The use of adapters and extension cords is undesirable, otherwise it leads to errors that may not appear immediately, but during operation.

Installing and launching Steam VR

After testing and activating the device, it’s time to download Steam itself . You can find it only on the official website, there is always the latest up-to-date version. You should not download from other resources, as you can catch a virus or other malicious software.

At startup, Steam will determine the glasses and offer to download the VR version . Auto-detection does not always work, so in some cases you will have to do it manually. Go to the Library, select “Tools” and download the latest version.

Once the VR Platform Add-on has been downloaded, it can always be enabled from the top right corner (next to the close icon).

From now on, you can put on a helmet and immerse yourself in virtual reality using the Home interface. The native application for your helmet cannot be turned off, it must run in the background during the entire session.

In some cases, with a configured device, you will need to walk around the perimeter of the room. So the system will understand the boundaries to which the game and its elements can be distributed.

What to do if Steam does not start

The most common problems:

  • Incorrect operation of the video card.
  • Incorrect installation of the platform itself.
  • Incorrect app or headset settings causing them to malfunction.

It is better to google the generated error and understand the specific case. All possible solutions are discussed on the official Steam website. However, more often than not, a simple 3-step option helps – restarting the computer, reinstalling Steam VR and another adjustment of the helmet after updating the drivers. These 3 steps help in most cases.

How to find and launch games in SteamVR

Games and applications can be installed in a virtual environment from SteamVR Home. From the desktop interface, where there is a library of purchased games, to which they are added from the store.

Supported devices:
  • HTC Vive;
  • HTC Vive Pro;
  • HTC Vive Cosmos;
  • Oculus Rift;
  • Oculus Rift S;
  • Valve Index;
  • All WMR helmets, such as Lenovo Explorer  or Samsung Odyssey Plus .
Methods of interaction with the game:
  • Remote control with motion sensor and control buttons;
  • Keyboard and mouse;
  • Two joystick-gamepads with a gyroscope and a touchpad;
  • Steering wheel and steering wheel for simulators.
Spatial Interaction:
  • sitting;
  • standing;
  • Move around the room.

Games are produced both for certain mechanics and for all the presented ways of interaction – adaptive options.

Below we recommend watching a video tutorial on connecting VR to a computer:

There are free games, but basically they cost from 200 rubles. Before buying a game, you need to find out if it is suitable for your equipment. Be sure to read the reviews. This is the only way to avoid incompatibilities and save money on a game that would not fit the device or would not like the mechanics.

Running games without VR support

Another advantage of virtual glasses is the launch of applications that do not support VR features. To do this, there is a Desktop Theater Mode, where the player enters one of the scenarios where it is possible to integrate a virtual monitor: a cinema, a virtual room.

Activating the mode is easy: turn on Steam, put on your goggles, and select your desired game. Next, the “theater” mode will turn on automatically. If the user has a simple device (for example, Google’s Cardboard), then you will have to additionally download the TrinusVR application. It transmits signals to the device from Android, and also monitors the position of the gyroscope. This is a cheap, but less convenient version of the game. It is suitable for people who just want to try to “plunge” into the virtual world, but not overpay tens of thousands of rubles for it.


Games are becoming more and more integrated into people’s lives and the industry does not stand still. In just a few years, virtual reality glasses have become more popular and spread not only among geeks, but also among ordinary gamers. Even setting up the device has become as clear and simple as possible, compared to the first versions.

It is important to consider that such games will not work on a computer with weak hardware. Therefore, it is worth updating the hardware in advance in order to enjoy a different reality without brakes and friezes.

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