Using SteamVR with Windows Mixed Reality

Windows Mixed Reality for SteamVR allows users to run SteamVR experiences on Windows Mixed Reality immersive headsets. After installing the Windows Mixed Reality for SteamVR, users can launch their favorite SteamVR applications from their desktop or Steam library and play them directly on their Windows headset.

Get your PC ready

  • Make sure you have no pending updates: Select Start > Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update. If updates are available, select Install now. If no updates are available, select Check for updates, and then install any new ones.
  • PC requirements vary for the apps and content on Steam. See the minimum requirements per title. A PC with a GTX 1070 graphics card (or equivalent) and an Intel® Core™ i7 processor should offer a good experience for a broad range of titles.

Set up Windows Mixed Reality for SteamVR

  1. Install Steam and SteamVR on your PC. Learn how
  2. Install Windows Mixed Reality for SteamVR.

Play SteamVR games

  1. Connect your headset to your PC and turn on your motion controllers.
  2. Once the Windows Mixed Reality home has loaded and your controllers are visible, open the Steam app on your desktop.
  3. Use the Steam app to launch a SteamVR game from your Steam library.

Tip: To launch SteamVR games without taking off your headset, use the Desktop app (Start > Desktop) to view and interact with your PC desktop inside Windows Mixed Reality.

Using Motion Controllers with SteamVR

You'll use your motion controllers differently in different games. Here are a few basics to help you get started:

  • To open the Steam dashboard, press straight down on the left or right thumbstick.
  • To exit a SteamVR game and return to the Windows Mixed Reality home, press the Windows button.

Changing the resolution

You can adjust the "Supersampling" slider in the SteamVR -> Settings -> Developer window at any time if you'd like to play games at a higher resolution. Note that when using a higher "Supersampling" multiplier you can expect the game to put more strain on your PC. If you increase the multiplier and see degraded performance readjust this slider to the default level and restart the game to ensure that the change takes effect.Adjust Supersampling

Using multiple headsets

If you're a VR enthusiast you might regularly use more than one VR headset on the same PC. If that's the case note that when a Windows Mixed Reality headset is plugged in, SteamVR games will always launch to the Windows Mixed Reality headset. If you'd like to launch SteamVR games on another headset make sure to first unplug the Windows Mixed Reality headset before continuing.

Getting the most out of SteamVR on Windows Mixed Reality

We will be releasing frequent updates to improve the performance, reliability, and overall experience of using SteamVR on Windows Mixed Reality immersive headsets. To stay up to date with the latest improvements:

  • Check for Windows updates regularly
  • Switch to the beta for both SteamVR and Windows Mixed Reality for SteamVR if you want to try out fixes before they're released to a broader audience
    1. In Steam - use the drop down under your Library to filter to Tools and then locate SteamVR in the list
    2. Open SteamVR properties - right click SteamVR in the same Tools page and open the Properties dialog.Install SteamVR from the tools section of your Steam Library
    3. Join the SteamVR Beta - click the Betas tab and opt into SteamVR Beta Update by selecting it from the drop down. Note: The beta access code field should be left blank and you can just hit close to confirm.Switch to the SteamVR beta in the properties dialog for SteamVR
    4. Use the drop down under your Library to filter to Software and then locate Windows Mixed Reality for SteamVR in the list
    5. Repeat Steps 2-3 to also join the beta for Windows Mixed Reality for SteamVR

Enabling controller thumbstick controls in any SteamVR application

Windows Mixed Reality for SteamVR has an experimental feature to enable the use of a controller thumbstick for artificial movement in any StreamVR application. Thumbstick controls simulate real movement as if you were actually walking around your physical space. This may cause issues for some applications.

To enable thumbstick controls:

  1. Edit "C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\MixedRealityVRDriver\resources\settings\default.vrsettings"
    • Path will be different if Windows Mixed Reality for SteamVR was installed to a different library
  2. Change thumbstickControlsEnabled to true as shown in the examples below
  3. To reverse the handedness of the controls, change thumbstickControlsReversed to true.
  4. To increase comfort, this feature defaults to small discrete turns. If you would prefer a smooth turning experience, set thumbstickTurnSmooth to true.

Example 1: Enabling thumbstick controls

  "driver_Holographic_Experimental" : {
        // Some people may experience increased discomfort such as nausea, motion sickness, dizziness,
        // disorientation, headache, fatigue, or eye strain when using thumbstick controls in Windows Mixed Reality.
        "thumbstickControlsEnabled" : true,
        "thumbstickControlsReversed" : false,
        "thumbstickTurnSmooth" : false,
        "thumbstickDeadzone" : 0.25
    }

Example 2: Enabling smooth turn

  "driver_Holographic_Experimental" : {
        // Some people may experience increased discomfort such as nausea, motion sickness, dizziness,
        // disorientation, headache, fatigue, or eye strain when using thumbstick controls in Windows Mixed Reality.
        "thumbstickControlsEnabled" : true,
        "thumbstickControlsReversed" : false,
        "thumbstickTurnSmooth" : true,
        "thumbstickDeadzone" : 0.25
    }

Enabling motion reprojection for SteamVR Apps

Windows Mixed Reality for SteamVR has an experimental motion reprojection feature to make 90 FPS reprojection more smooth.

When motion reprojection is enabled, all Steam VR games will render nominally at ½ frame rate (45 fps instead of 90 FPS) while Windows Mixed Reality for SteamVR uses motion vectors generated by the GPU to extrapolate the next frame. For SteamVR games that reliably hit 60 FPS+ on a given PC, this should result in a solid 90 FPS experience with occasional artifacts while maintaining a comfortable experience.

Expected Visual Artifacts

  1. Sharp contrast edges or text, especially on in-game HUDs or menus, may look temporarily warped or distorted due to disocclusion
  2. SteamVR Home and many other games that do not reliably hit 50-60 FPS on your PC will continue to have a poor experience with this mode

Initially we have experimental support for recent generation NVidia GPUs. We are continuing to iterate on and improve our motion reprojection support on additional GPUs, and we’re eager to hear your feedback.

Supported GPUs: NVidia GeForce GTX 1060/1070/1080+ with Windows Mixed Reality compatible Graphics Drivers

You can opt-in to this mode by updating the MixedRealityVRDriver\resources\settings\default.vrsettings file in the MixedRealityVRDriver install folder.

  1. Make sure you have opted into the Windows Mixed Reality for SteamVR Beta using the instructions above.
  2. Close SteamVR if it is running
  3. Edit "C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\MixedRealityVRDriver\resources\settings\default.vrsettings"
    • Path will be different if Windows Mixed Reality for SteamVR was installed to a different library
  4. Add this line just below "driver_Holographic_Experimental" as shown in the example below "motionReprojectionMode" : "motionvector",
  5. Restart SteamVR with Windows Mixed Reality

Example 1: Enabling motion reprojection

 "driver_Holographic_Experimental" : {
        "motionReprojectionMode" : "motionvector",      

       // Some people may experience increased discomfort such as nausea, motion sickness, dizziness,
       // disorientation, headache, fatigue, or eye strain when using thumbstick controls in Windows Mixed Reality.
       "thumbstickControlsEnabled" : false,
       "thumbstickControlsReversed" : false,
       "thumbstickTurnSmooth" : false,
       "thumbstickDeadzone" : 0.25        
   }

Example 2: Disabling motion reprojection

  "driver_Holographic_Experimental" : {
        // "motionReprojectionMode" : "motionvector", 

        // Some people may experience increased discomfort such as nausea, motion sickness, dizziness,
        // disorientation, headache, fatigue, or eye strain when using thumbstick controls in Windows Mixed Reality.
        "thumbstickControlsEnabled" : false,
        "thumbstickControlsReversed" : false,
        "thumbstickTurnSmooth" : false,
        "thumbstickDeadzone" : 0.25
    }

Sharing feedback on SteamVR

Your feedback is invaluable when it comes to improving the Windows Mixed Reality SteamVR experience. Please submit all feedback and bugs through the Windows Feedback Hub. Please follow these suggestions to help us get the most from your feedback:

  1. In Feedback Hub, indicate that you're reporting a new Problem in the "What kind of feedback is it?" section at the top.
  2. Select the Mixed Reality category and the Apps subcategory.
  3. Put the word "SteamVR" in the problem summary. That helps us find your feedback.
  4. Describe what SteamVR game or application you were using when you encountered the issue.
  5. Please consider attaching a SteamVR System Report to your feedback. This provides additional logs that can help us diagnose your problem.
    1. On the SteamVR Window (the small windows that shows your controller status) click on the title to open the menu.
    2. Select "Create System Report"
    3. Save to File
    4. Attach the file to your Feedback Hub entry directly.
  6. If your feedback is about SteamVR performance, please collect a Mixed Reality Performance trace:
    1. Click the Recreate my Problem button
    2. In the drop down next to "include data about" select Mixed Reality Performance
    3. Make sure the game is running and click Start Capture
    4. Spend a few seconds playing the game to capture the trace. Please do not capture the trace for more than 10-15 seconds, or it will be too large to submit.
    5. Click Stop Capture.
  7. Click Submit once you have completed the rest of the fields.

If you have questions or comments to share, you can also reach us on our Steam forum.

See also