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The Immersive Industry Moves Closer to Universal Access as Steam Announces OSVR Support

The Immersive Industry Moves Closer to Universal Access as Steam Announces OSVR Support

The Nintendo Entertainment system launched in 1985 with less than 20 titles for consumers to choose from. This year the world’s first high-end consumer virtual reality headsets launched and there are already hundreds of different apps, games and experiences available for them. Finding content is not an issue for today’s VR customer. What is a problem is the quality of and access to said content. Today at least one of those problems is being addressed as a new Steam update brings OSVR support to the world’s largest VR content marketplace.

Steam is the massively successful PC software distribution platform created by Valve. It is also the home of Steam VR which allows the owners of both the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive headsets access to hundreds of VR games and applications. Today, the creators of OSVR — another popular online distribution platform for VR programs — revealed that a new update to Steam would merge the two services and ensure that, “universal VR content is now accessible through a single point of distribution.” 

Universalism is a drum that the VR scene has been beating since before the hardware was even officially available. Oculus infamously opted to sidestep Steam all together and create it’s own online marketplace, dubbed Oculus Home, filled with titles that are accessible on the Oculus Rift. Valve, on the other hand, helped create the Vive alongside HTC and became associated with a more open platform by allowing Steam VR experiences to be accessed by both Rift and Vive.

It should be noted, however, that in the latter situation, Valve is earning millions off of VR sales. Without Oculus Home, Oculus would have no way to generate substantial revenue off of its own content, which is the entire business model behind VR headsets, video game consoles, and other consumer hardware.

And, of course, PlayStation VR is its own entirely separate entity as well with a full stable of Sony first, second, and third party content studios to support itself — as well as the PlayStation Network and PSN Store to serve as the gateways to that content.

OSVR describes itself as:

“The world’s largest open source VR software platform designed to set an open standard for virtual reality input devices, games, and output to enable the development of a cohesive VR ecosystem which provides enhanced compatibility and hardware choices to anyone looking to enjoy VR.”

The OSVR update to Steam is available immediately. OSVR enabled titles will be signified by a special new icon and will be searchable as well within the interface.

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