The SteamVR beta can be turned on with the latest Steam Client Beta.
Valve reports that the most recent Steam Client Beta now supports an experimental VR mode. Those who have the Oculus Rift developer kit can try this new interface out by starting Steam with "-vr" on the command line. Users can then press the Big Picture button to enter this mode with the SteamVR interface enabled.
However, users may be required to follow additional steps before jumping into the SteamVR interface. This includes launching the Steam desktop client without the "-vr" option, and finding the "SteamVR" option under "Tools" in the library; if it's not there, then install it. After that, users need to bring up properties on SteamVR and opt-in to the "Beta Update" beta. Let the update download.
After that, quit Steam and re-start the client using the "-vr" option.
Currently, Steam provides 14 VR-friendly games including Team Fortress 2, No More Room in Hell, Surgeon Simulator 2013 (yikes!), Lunar Flight, The Orange Box, Slender: The Arrival and more. These games can be found quickly thanks to the new "VR Support" filter implemented into the database back in mid-December 2013. To see the lineup, hit "Advanced" and then the "Content" selector; VR Support is at the bottom.
The addition of support for the SteamVR interface arrives one day before Valve is expected to reveal its own VR solution during its Steam Dev Days taking place on January 15 and January 16 in Seattle. This is a two-day developer's conference where "professionals can meet in a relaxed, off the record environment," meaning the tattletale press is not allowed.
Despite the lack of press, we expect to hear more about Valve's plans tomorrow. The company likely released SteamVR a day early so developers can get a quick taste before Valve dumps even more information on them on Wednesday. That said, fasten your seat belts. We're betting the wild VR ride is about to begin.