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How to skip Cliff House and go straight to SteamVR in Windows Mixed Reality

As you may have noticed, Windows Mixed Reality (WMR) is kind of a mixed bag. While the hardware can be extremely good, the software and infrastructure behind it are almost nonexistent. The "Cliff House," as the WMR virtual space is known, is serviceable. And the Skyloft, the other space, is even a little nicer than that. But, really, if you are into gaming in VR, the WMR software is just an unnecessary hurdle.

The SteamVR experience on Mixed Reality is still a little janky, but thankfully, with the SteamVR for Mixed Reality app now available and the SteamVR Beta, there is an easy way to circumvent the Cliff House altogether and load straight into the game-friendly, albeit uglier, Steam House.

More: How to play Rift games on Windows Mixed Reality

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How to skip Cliff House and go straight to Steam House in WMR

Just follow these easy steps:

  1. Plug in your Mixed Reality headset to open the Mixed Reality Portal.
  2. Open Steam.
  3. Turn on your WMR controllers.
  4. Open the Windows Mixed Reality for SteamVR app.
  5. Wait until the display shows "Ready Steam VR Home"
  6. Put on your WMR headset and play.

The process is fairly simple but everything needs to be done in order. The first thing to do is make sure your Mixed Reality Portal is open and running. If you unplug your WMR after every use, plugging it back in will automatically launch the portal for you and, of course, you can turn on the controllers instead of waiting for Steam.

You need to make sure your Steam app is launched and your Family block is turned off so you can launch the Windows Mixed Reality for SteamVR app. Once you've launched it, you can get yourself ready to play, but make sure you have edited the controllers so you can use the thumbsticks for walking around, otherwise the Steam house is kind of inaccessible. Once you are ready to go, put the WMR headset on and you will be greeted with the Steam environment instead of the WMR Cliff House.

Your thoughts?

Do you use the Cliff house or Skyloft, or do you prefer transferring straight into the VR Home environment of Steam? Let us know in the comments.

James built his first PC when he was 13 and has never looked back. He can be found on Windows Central, usually in the corner where all the 3D printers are, or huddled around the Xbox playing the latest games.

10 Comments
  • Sort of confused with this article. If you follow the instructions, as soon as you plug in the headset and the MR portal opens, Cliff House launches automatically. The only way to close Cliff House is to close the portal. So, how is this process supposed to launch Steam without launching Cliff House?
  • I don't see any skipping explained.
  • The portal will open but if you don't have your headset on, the cliff house will not launch. You put on the headset at the end.
  • Exactly, the WMR portal will automatically open the Cliff House.
  • 1: The Windows Tree House environment and UI is confusing and needlessly convoluted.
    2: Nearly everything worth doing in WMR is Steam based. Conclusion: Unless Microsoft ups their game seriously, Steam is the ONLY way to go, and the easier it is to bypass the Tree House the better...
  • What's the "Tree House"?
  • Lol! Sorry - Cliff House, of course...!
  • I ran to the article thinking: oh someone found a way to open WMR for SteamVR app without having the Mixed Reality Portal open or in the background, truly skipping/bypassing the Cliff House entirely. Wish Microsoft could somehow allow this function, or have SteamVR handle all of the tracking, etc.
    Will have to try this thumbstick walking feature in Steam VR home, thought it was teleport only until reading that. Thanks!
  • Thanks this should help. I spent a half an hour yesterday closing and reopening the WMR for steam app while in VR because it kept going unresponsive. Should have figured out an easier way sooner :P. It would be nice if we could add shortcuts to apps in the Cliff House that aren't UWP. Clicking on stuff through the Desktop app is hard because no matter how gentle I am when I pull the trigger I always shift the controllers a little.
  • This article is a ******* joke.