SteamVR Discontinues MacOS Support
Apple and Valve collaborated on MacOS support for SteamVR for almost a year but the plans for support went quiet after the summer 2017 announcement. Valve has now decided to discontinue the MacOS support.
The company announced this briefly via its Steam news website. The statement states that Valve will now focus on Windows and Linux.
Mac users will still have the option to fall back on the old SteamVR versions with MacOS support. Alternatively, users can still install Windows via Boot Camp on the MacBook or iMac.
The MacOS compatibility for SteamVR was first unveiled during Apple’s WWDC 2017 Developer Conference. Valve and Apple spent a year working together on the integration of MacOS. Even Apple’s metal graphics interface was optimized for virtual reality.
By incorporating SteamVR support for MacOS, Apple had hoped to attract virtual reality developers to the platform but this is still a mirage. The target audience for virtual reality players is still small as most iMacs still don’t have the sufficient graphics performance for VR experiences. For MacBooks, Apple offers support for external graphics cards or eGPUs.
Apple Working on Its Own XR Solution
There isn’t much that has changed in the XR front for Apple over the past three years. Rumors have it that the company is working on its own XR platform and that it is planning to release its own standalone XR glasses that will be similar to the Oculus Quest headset in 2022. In late 2017, Apple purchased the mixed reality startup Vrvana. The company also acquired the mixed reality company NextVR recently.
According to the most recent SteamVR hardware survey, less than 4% of all Steam users are using MacOS and less than 1% own virtual reality headsets. Additionally, only a few virtual reality games currently offer support for MacOS. Finally, there are currently no virtual reality platforms that support the MacOS operating system. Neither the Viveport nor the Oculus platform supports MacOS.