Thursday, May 14, 2020

Valve Drops Mac Support for SteamVR

Valve (via Rene Ritchie, MacRumors, tweet, Hacker News):

SteamVR has ended macOS support so our team can focus on Windows and Linux.

Mark Hughes:

Now, that’s just their VR headset, which is an extremely low-volume, 1% of the market gadget; VR’s kind of awful in practice, but it keeps being “useful next year” for the last 40 years, and someday it’ll be right. Steam as it is, >50% of the games I look at have a Mac version; it’s not dead yet, but it definitely smells bad.

I blame Apple and their terrible support for gaming, in fact overtly hostile attitude.


The suggestion to use Windows Boot Camp is just a giant middle finger, but what else are you gonna do?

Quinn Nelson:

I don’t know what else Valve was supposed to do? They ported Steam, they supported SteamVR, and they ported their entire software catalog to Mac. This whole thing just makes me laugh cause Gabe Newell said this about Apple in 2007 and it seems much hasn’t changed.

Oskar Groth:

I called this last year… Which is when Valve effectively ended further development of the Mac port. From my perspective, cooperation with Apple seemed great. It was Valve execs decision to axe the project to focus on PC.

Was that decision a result of poor Mac GPU performance? Sure, the Nvidia-Apple fallout contributed negatively. But it’s not like Valve didn’t know from the beginning that Mac VR was going to be an eGPU venture for the foreseeable future.

John Gruber:

I don’t blame Steam one bit. If anything, it’s surprising Steam “supported” the Mac for VR up until now. No Macs ship with a video card that supports VR gaming, and MacOS doesn’t support the Vulkan or OpenXR APIs that popular VR games are built on. It doesn’t help (to put it mildly) that Nvidia and Apple remain at odds. Apple is doing its own thing with Metal and ARKit — which are both excellent, but not part of the VR gaming world.


2 Comments RSS · Twitter

>Now, that’s just their VR headset

No, it's not, it's pretty much all headsets that aren't from Facebook.

>VR’s kind of awful in practice

I've had a lot of people come over play VR at my place, and not a single person has found it "kind of awful". It's freaking amazing.

I’ve had a lot of people come over play VR at my place, and not a single person has found it “kind of awful”. It’s freaking amazing.

Yes and no.

I wouldn’t use the word “awful”, mind you.

I played with a colleague’s Vive a few years back. Google Earth on it was friggin’ amazing. Various shooter games were exhilarating. Valve’s launcher/demo (“The Lab” or something) with various minigames was cute.

But that setup cost him well above a grand, and wasn’t even wireless; you had various cables tied to your body, and you needed several pieces of hardware spread across the room for tracking purposes. While you were playing, perhaps for about 20 minutes at a time, you didn’t really mind, but once you quit the game, you were reminded just how much of an expensive tech demo you were carrying around your body and spreading across your living room.

I’m sure things have improved since. But I’m also pretty sure that Oculus, HTC et al were hoping for a bigger splash than wound up happening. Smaller projects like Google Cardboard also don’t seem to be hits. HoloLens and Windows Mixed Reality were given as raisons d’être for writing a UWP app, but you rarely hear about those. The big killer app isn’t there.

Again, not “awful”. But also not great. Blaming Apple’s anemic macOS gaming story is only part of the answer.

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