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SteamVR finally gets a new, friendlier user interface in beta update

New Steam UI
New Steam UI (Image credit: Nick Sutrich / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • SteamVR beta 1.10.9 brings a hugely improved interface to SteamVR.
  • The new dashboard will be automatically placed and resized depending on your position in the room and via proximity sensor calculations.
  • Improved library sorting, friends list, quick launcher, and even performance improvements are included in this update.

If you've ever used SteamVR's home screen interface, you'll recall that it's not the smoothest nor most friendly interface ever created. Valve has been working on a new interface for Steam for quite some time, and the updates it brought to the desktop Steam user interface back in December are now making their way into the virtual world with the latest SteamVR update. This big new interface ships with SteamVR beta 1.10.9. If you're unfamiliar with how to do that, we've got a great guide on how to enroll in SteamVR beta right here.

Aside from significantly improved aesthetic changes, the new interface brings customizability front-and-center via a new tiled library that can be more easily sorted and grouped. It's also easier to see what friends are up to and join games, and it's now faster to get into a game via the updated quick launcher. The dashboard is also larger and will be automatically placed in the virtual world depending on where you stand, and automatically sized based on how close your face is to the lenses. This should help users who need to wear glasses, specifically.

New Steam user interface

Source: Nick Sutrich/Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Nick Sutrich/Windows Central)

Many users will be overjoyed at the performance improvements to the Compositor, which was a bit of a resource hog on less powerful machines in the past. Valve has also improved the battery life and responsiveness of Lighthouse controllers and trackers, which are able to go into standby even when the headset is still running. Trackers are also able to be placed on knees and elbows, which could enhance skeletal accuracy in games that support full-body tracking.

This update is just one of the many things Valve has done to improve Steam and SteamVR lately, as both products went for a significant period of time without meaningful changes or improvements. You'll also find a few additional improvements to the desktop portion of SteamVR's user interface, including new headset icons for Oculus users.

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Nick started with DOS and NES and uses those fond memories of floppy disks and cartridges to fuel his opinions on modern tech. Whether it's VR, smart home gadgets, or something else that beeps and boops, he's been writing about it since 2011. Reach him on Twitter or Instagram @Gwanatu

1 Comment
  • I've been a SteamVR beta user for a while, but I use it for the performance improvements. I only have one game I play--Elite Dangerous. I put on my WMR headset, power up a controller and click on SteamVR. It takes me temporarily to a 360-degree dusk-dawn view of a mountains (I WISH I could just use THAT as my VR room instead of these stupid houses) before dropping me in Steam's version of the Cliff House. From there I clidk on Elite Dangerous. I never see the interface again until the next time I play.