Valve has ended SteamVR support for Apple’s MacOS, in an abrupt but not entirely unexpected move.
SteamVR for MacOS was introduced in June 2017, after an announcement at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference that year. However, after less than just three years, the program is shutting down.
“SteamVR has ended MacOS support so our team can focus on Windows and Linux,” according to a SteamVR update, Legacy builds will continue to be available, allowing developers to continue building virtual reality apps for the platform, though Valve will no longer work on new features and bug fixes.
There was no official explanation for ending SteamVR support for MacOS. However, there were several signs leading to it, including that Valve’s Index VR headset does not support MacOS. The most recent Steam Hardware Survey also revealed that only about 3% of Steam users were on MacOS, UploadVR reported. With just over 1% of all Steam users owning a VR headset, the percentage of people on MacOS who own a VR headset becomes almost negligible.
VR gamers also prefer Windows and Linux for running high-end titles, according to PCMag. While MacOS devices may receive a boost from eGPU, Windows and Linux machines offer modification and customization capabilities.
Linux is actually less popular than MacOS, with less than 1% of all Steam users, but it is preferred by developers, according to UploadVR.
Apple VR/AR rumors
The end of SteamVR support for MacOS comes amid the persistent rumors that Apple is working on augmented reality and virtual reality. The plan is close to being finalized, according to MacRumors.
A leaked build of iOS 14 contains a photo of what appears to be a controller for an AR or VR headset, or one that combines both technologies, known as mixed reality. The controller looks similar to the one used with the HTC Vive Focus.
Apple is also reportedly testing an AR crosswalk bowling game for its headset, allowing wearers to play a virtual game of 10-pin bowling while waiting to cross the street. The game may only be triggered at an intersection in Sunnyvale, California that is just down the road from an Apple office.
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