Valve abandons Mac support for Steam virtual reality platform


SteamVR lands on macOS.
R.I.P., SteamVR for macOS.
Photo: Valve

With little fanfare and few details, Valve Corporation said Friday it has ended SteamVR support for the Mac to concentrate its efforts on more financially viable platforms like Windows and Linux.

The news comes as recent surveys show the acceptance of the platform by macOS users below 5%.

The blunt, 14-word sentence on the Steam Community website simple read:

“SteamVR has ended OSX support so our team can focus on Windows and Linux.”

The statement went on to say, “We recommended that OSX users continue to opt into the SteamVR [macos] branches for access to legacy builds.”

Valve says legacy builds of the virtual reality platform will remain accessible for OS X users by right-clicking on SteamVR in Steam and selecting Properties, followed by Betas.

Apple announced SteamVR was coming to the Mac at its Worldwide Developers Conference in 2017. Since then, Cupertino has done little to put its weight behind the platform. Late last year, a report indicated that Apple would partner with Valve to develop its first augmented reality headset. As of late, other reports say Apple is working to create its own AR/VR technology.

A recent Valve hardware survey found only 4% of Steam users were using macOS. More than 95% of Steam users run Windows or Linux.

Inevitable, according to some

The Apple-SteamVR relationship has apparently been on the path to abandonment for some time. Various VR programmers started giving signals in July 2019 that developments were moving slowly. Oskar Groth, founder of Swedish Mac OS software maker Cindori, said at the time:

“SteamVR, the software that acts as the interface between games/apps and the VR headset, never got out of Beta stage … For 2 years, I worked on improving my app, hoping Valve would step up and come out with a major new update for SteamVR. It never happened. And it probably never will.”

“To be fair, the writing was on the wall,” Groth wrote. He blamed Valve’s leadership “for this major failure.” And he went on to write:

“To be fair, Valve is Valve. A gaming company that is so disorganized, it can’t even manage its game projects properly. (To be clear: I deeply respect the engineers over at Valve. They pioneered the VR space. It’s just very obvious that the company has some very serious internal issues.)”

Representatives for Valve and Apple did not respond to requests for comment from Cult of Mac.