VR developers prove that Steam Deck isn't a mobile VR console just yet

Steam Deck Valve Index
Steam Deck Valve Index (Image credit: Windows Central / Valve)

Ever since the Steam Deck was announced, PC VR gamers everywhere have been wondering if it could power a VR headset. Valve initially shied away from talking about the machine's VR capabilities but did eventually note that it, in a technical sense, had everything needed to run a VR headset. Now that developers have gotten their first development kits in hand, we're finding out that VR on Steam Deck is proving to be a bit more difficult than initially hoped for.

Denny Unger, CEO of Cloudhead Games and developer of the immensely popular Pistol Whip spent the past few days exploring the VR capabilities of Steam Deck using a Valve Index headset. The takeaway is that Steam Deck, at least in its current dev kit form, doesn't seem to provide enough power to display an image in a headset. All of the other inputs, including the controllers and roomscale motion tracking, work just fine. Other folks on Twitter are seeing the same results.


That has led many to believe there's plenty of hope left, especially since development kits have only been available for about a week at this point. We've seen quite a bit of development with Steam Deck recently, including the development of Easy Anti Cheat for Linux, which paves the way for many online-enabled games to be playable on the handheld.

If all else fails, fans could always install Windows on Steam Deck, although the performance and compatibility are certainly a huge question at this time. Many VR gamers have been hoping for a viable alternative to Facebook's Oculus Quest 2, which requires a Facebook login to operate. Steam Deck has been seen as a possibility, although this news sheds a bit of doubt on that.

Nicholas Sutrich

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