Following the early-stage Steam game demos of the Oculus Rift headset, today at their Steam Demo Days conference in Seattle, Valve announced their new SteamVR beta mode for their game store. SteamVR switches the display to a modified Big Picture mode, similar to their TV projection mode, but using a curved screen that hovers in front of the user and is navigated with the mouse. Many users have reported problems getting SteamVR running on their computers, and it remains to be seen what the future of Steam’s virtual reality navigation will hold (as well as whether or not Valve will introduce their own non-Oculus VR headset).
Details are also emerging from the conference about Valve’s new Steam Controller, which mimics mouse and keyboard signals and thus will allow it to be used with any Steam game. Apparently the prototype shown at CES 2014 was indeed a prototype, and the new version might feature actual buttons instead of the touchscreen display in the center that the old prototype boasted. There are also reports of an API from Valve that will support the use of up to 16 Steam Controllers at once. More information will likely be forthcoming as the conference continues.
Further developments out of the conference include a bit of news on the highly-anticipated Steam Machine from high-end gaming computer maker Alienware. Possibly the sleekest of the many Steam Machines unveiled at CES earlier this year, the Alienware Steam Machine is rumored to feature a 4th generation Intel Haswell processor running Valve’s currently still-in-beta SteamOS, and NVIDIA graphics. It will likely launch in September, with a price point expected to rival that of next-gen consoles such as the Xbox One and Playstation 4 (around $500).Sources: IGN.com, engadget.com, SteamCommunity.com