Cancelling VR Desktop

Cancelling VR Desktop
June 26, 2019 Oskar

It’s been over 3 years since I started working on VR Desktop for Mac. Back then, the only VR HMD that supported macOS was the Oculus Rift DK2. A lot has happened since then. Most notably, the announcement of Mac support for SteamVR at WWDC 2017. I was there, I was excited, and I went straight to work developing a version of VR Desktop that worked with the HTC Vive.

2 years have passed since that day, and I’ve yet to release the build of VR Desktop that I have been working on. What happened?

SteamVR, the software that acts as the interface between games/apps and the VR headset, never got out of Beta stage.

I actually have a version of VR Desktop right now that produces amazing results on macOS Catalina with the HTC Vive. But I am unable to sell it, because the user experience of SteamVR on macOS is so terrible. The performance is worse than on Windows, because features like motion smoothing was never implemented in the macOS version. SteamVR randomly becomes unresponsive and crashes. Even the room setup has bugs. In summary, it’s just not good enough to qualify as a consumer product. I definitely don’t want to be charging users money, and then have all the SteamVR bugs attributed to my app.

For 2 years, I worked on improving my app, hoping Valve would step up and come out with a major new update for SteamVR.

It never happened.

And it probably never will.

I have recently learned that SteamVR for macOS is cancelled.

To be fair, the writing was on the wall:

The reason allegedly being that interest from users and developers never reached critical mass. (I wonder why?)

I 100% blame Valve leadership for this major failure. Why was there not more engineers assigned on the project?

Well, to be fair, Valve is Valve. A gaming company that is so disorganized, it can’t even manage its game projects properly.
(To be clear: I deeply respect the engineers over at Valve. They pioneered the VR space. It’s just very obvious that the company has some very serious internal issues.)


Enough with the ranting. What will happen to VR Desktop now?

It will be considered cancelled for now. But it exists, it works, and I’m ready to bring it back the second Valve, or any other company releases VR headset support for the Mac. That actually works.