Today I wanted to try some VR demos on Steam. I own only an Oculus Rift, but we all know the fantastic work that Valve has made to make their environment compatible with every kind of headset, Oculus included, so I decided to give a try to something anyway.

Oculus SteamVR virtual reality
My Oculus is ready within SteamVR… will it be enough?

Well, I have to say that I’m quite disappointed. Lots of games support Vive only, so you can’t try them. I wanted to try the IKEA VR experience, for instance, but I wasn’t even able to have a first look at it: a distorted first screen said that only Vive was supported and so, owning Oculus Rift, I couldn’t cook Swedish meat ball. Damn!

Other experiences say that they support Oculus, but then when you launch them, you find yourself inside the damn white room of Vive and you stay there forever. Don’t know why, but some games just do not work. So, again, you’re dead.

Then finally you find a game that launches… but, very sorry, they require a VR-ready controller… and Oculus Touch will ship in December… so you can’t experience them. One example of this kind of experiences is NVIDIA VR Funhouse: the game launches, it’s very cool, but you can’t do anything… you can just look at a sign at your right explaining you how to play with it using the Touch Controllers (that I’d have if I had a time machine, dear NVIDIA…).

NVIDIA SteamVR virtual reality Touch
NVIDIA… are you trolling me?

So, I just quitted. My initial experience with SteamVR and Oculus has been bad. I think that this is due to the fact that:

  1. Developers on SteamVR are mainly targetting Vive: since Vive is the preferred headset on SteamVR, developers are taking care especially of it;
  2. Due to point 1, they’re focusing on what Vive is really good at, that is room scale and natural interactions with VR controllers. These are features that make VR games more usable and more cool. If Oculus does not have it, it’s Oculus fault and not of developers.
  3. I’ve tried only some little free experiences. I’m sure that paid ones are from developers that have taken more care in integrating different kind of hardware and input systems. I’ve read that lots of players actually use Oculus with SteamVR, so for most important games there are no issues.

But this has made me think that at the moment the idea of completely cross-device games through SteamVR is true up to a point. We will see when Oculus will add Touch how things will go.

And you? How has been your experience with Oculus and SteamVR? Let me know in the comments!