Steam Deck is already running VR games, sort of

Game developers who have gotten their hands on early Steam Deck systems via Valve are putting the console through its paces, and that includes making it run VR games.

To be clear, Valve has never pitched Steam Deck as a VR-focused device, and you may or may not be able to get it working the same way with the retail version that starts rolling out to consumers this winter. That hasn’t kept curious developers from seeing how far they can push the device, as demonstrated in these videos from a Japanese AR engineer going by yunayuna64 and Cloudhead Games boss Denny Unger.

まだまだ問題が多そうだけど、Steam Deck にVR HMDを繋げてみた。 24, 2021

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Steamdeck update: Shock to no-one; this is a devkit. Second shock to no-one; Valve was clear that this was NOT for VR. Third shock to no-one: It will take time to understand what the capabilities are and how to optimize. This is about a potential future, not the right now. 24, 2021

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Unger points out that getting the headset to work on Steam Deck was a process in itself, requiring working out some driver issues and running Steam Deck in its Linux desktop mode. Most notably, the way both developers seem to have their setups working does not properly transmit video to the VR headset. Instead it just uses the headset for tracking and mirrors the image you would see in VR to Steam Deck’s standard screen.

This is all just experimentation, so it shouldn’t be too concerning that everything isn’t working out straight off the bat. Instead, it’s encouraging to see Steam Deck already being put to use in unexpected ways.

You probably won’t want to pack along a VR headset when you’re out playing PC games on the go, but it could be a handy portable PC for playing VR games at home with fewer cords to get tripped up on, for example – like an extra powerful Oculus Quest that keeps its brain in your backpack. Or something cooler, you know, we’re just spitballing here.

Meanwhile, if you aren’t trying to make it do VR, several developers have said Steam Deck runs their games “flawlessly.”

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