Google Cardboard has made it so that even videos that aren’t designed for virtual reality can be viewed in virtual reality as a sort of simulated cinematic experience, and now Valve wants to do the same thing for video games. The company teased this new feature, called SteamVR Desktop Theater Mode, on Saturday, saying that it’s currently in early beta, but didn’t go into further detail. Naturally, the feature will support the Vive virtual reality headset that Valve developed with HTC, and will support other headsets as well, but Valve didn’t name any specific ones. It’s safe to assume the Oculus Rift will be one of the supported headsets, though.
Valve today confirmed the existence of SteamVR Desktop Theater Mode which will effectively allow players to play any game from their Steam library inside of VR on big virtual display. For the best VR experience, games need to be designed from the ground up for virtual reality. Simply slapping some VR rendering onto a traditional FPS is going to make for a rather uncofomrtable experience, as desktop games do things that are big no-nos for VR, like taking control of the camera during cutscenes, and relying heavily on mouse-based yaw control. But there’s a happy medium for players who want to play their library of non-VR games in Steam, and that’s SteamVR Desktop Theater Mode. Valve today confirmed that SteamVR Desktop Theater Mode is in early beta and that the company would show it off for the first time at GDC 2016 next week. The mode is a bridge that allows games not made for VR to be played inside a virtual environment in a sort of virtual home theater with a huge display. The company says SteamVR Desktop Theater Mode will support the HTC Vive “and others,” which we presume to mean ‘any headset that SteamVR supports’ which is currently the Vive and Oculus Rift.