What you need to know
- SteamVR 2.0 is launching sometime this year, according to Valve.
- Steam and SteamVR have seen significant improvements lately, including a new user-friendly VR dashboard.
- Several updates indicate that SteamVR's 2.0 release could be as soon as next month when Half-Life: Alyx launches.
SteamVR will be hitting a big milestone release this year, according to Valve's 2019 year-in-review. In the article, Valve highlights all the improvements made to Steam in 2019, and the list is a doozy. For many, it feels like 2019 was the year Valve finally started paying attention to its venerable online gaming marketplace which had, for years, gone without major updates or notable improvements. Even some major developers bought their games back to the service after years of hiatus, marking a big change for Steam's relevance going forward.
SteamVR, likewise, hadn't seen much love since its big 1.0 release in 2016, with only small improvements and bug fixes since that time. Lately, however, we've seen the launch of several new features and fixes for SteamVR including a revamped settings dashboard, audio routing that actually works, significant upgrades to chat and community features, and even a new VR dashboard (pictured above) that's significantly cleaner looking and easier to use in VR.
Many of these user-facing improvements have been a long time coming. While power users have been the main audience for SteamVR since its launch, newer users who are jumping on board the VR train may not have the technical aptitude or patience to deal with the problems of past SteamVR releases. While Valve's language doesn't target any specific release date, they've signaled that SteamVR 2.0 is coming this year and, with the upcoming release of Half-Life: Alyx just next month, it would make sense to see an accelerated release timetable.
It's no secret that Facebook's Oculus Home software for its Oculus Rift devices has been far more user-friendly than Valve's SteamVR, and the impending release of Half-Life: Alyx seems to have put Valve on the offensive for user-facing improvements. That's a good thing since more people than ever before are buying VR headsets, including Valve's own Index, which remains backordered until after the release of Half-Life: Alyx.