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Valve launches SteamVR 2.0 beta with updated user interface, Steam chat integration and more

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John Kelham

Newwin
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September 25, 2023 11:00 PM EDT

Valve has just announced an important new update to its SteamVR software, with the Launch of SteamVR 2.0 in beta form. According to Valve’s update, “We see this as the first big step towards our goal of bringing everything new on the Steam platform to VR.”

SteamVR 2.0 includes the following new features:

  • Most of the current features of Steam and Steam Deck are now part of SteamVR
  • Updated keyboard with support for new languages, emojis and themes
  • A combination of Steam Chat and voice chat
  • An improved store that puts new and popular VR releases front and center

Additionally, it has a number of smaller changes and bug fixes compared to the last major SteamVR release, 1.27:

SteamVR:

  • Floating overlay windows can now be interacted with when the dashboard is hidden.
  • Fixed exit crash for some Unity titles.
  • Increased the system layer resolution limit. This used to be 1.5 times the recommended target scale for rendering, but is now applied to width and height independently.
  • Fix a case where the controller configuration would not be localized in the user’s preferred language (as defined in Steam).
  • Added a prompt to install Bigscreen Beyond Driver when the headset is detected.

Meta:

  • Hide the SteamVR IPD slider as Meta already shows one.

Linux:

  • Switched to Steam Linux Runtime 3.0 (Sniper) for improved compatibility.

Drivers:

  • For drivers that provide a manifest but do not specify “resourceOnly”, defaults to true if there is no bin directory.
  • Add a configurable “showEnableInSettings” manifest entry to force a driver to appear in the “Add-ons” settings even if the default rules will remove it.
  • When a particular driver is forced with the “forcedDriver” setting or the VR_FORCE_TEST_DRIVER, load it even if it is disabled.
  • When a specific driver is forced with the “forcedDriver” setting or the VR_FORCE_TEST_DRIVER, only the HMD is allowed to launch from that driver (even if other drivers are loaded due to “activateMultipleDrivers” and launch HMD first). The forced driver has always had the first chance to start an HMD in the past, but now we’ll wait for it to hotplug an HMD instead of letting another available HMD take forever.
  • The “LastKnown” section in the settings (which updates with the make and model of the last HMD used) now also tracks the “ActualHMDDriver” (eg “beacon”) that provided the HMD.
steamvr 20

People who want to check out SteamVR 2.0 can do so by joining both the Steam Beta client you too SteamVR Beta client.

Valve says it will share more information about SteamVR 2.0 “in the coming weeks and months” as beta testers try it out. The full public launch is currently scheduled to take place sometime later this fall.

The South Korean government recently registered a new device from Valve Corporation with the designation “1030”. It’s possible that this could be a new Steam VR headset that could launch alongside the SteamVR 2.0 non-beta launch.

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