Valve abandons the macOS version of SteamVR

Posted:
in General Discussion edited May 2020
Valve has announced that SteamVR will no longer support macOS, although older frameworks are still available in beta form.

SteamVR needed headsets such as this one from HTC, and the ability for the Mac to drive it
SteamVR needed headsets such as this one from HTC, and the ability for the Mac to drive it


Three years after launching a long-rumored Mac edition, developer and Steam platform manager Valve has announced that it is ceasing support for SteamVR on the Mac. The news, which comes ahead of any VR or Augmented Reality announcements from Apple, was made in a cursory community notification.

"SteamVR has ended OSX support so our team can focus on Windows and Linux," it says. "We recommend that OSX users continue to opt into the SteamVR [macos] branches for access to legacy builds."

"Users can opt into a branch by right-clicking on SteamVR in Steam, and selecting Properties... -> Betas," it concludes.

The original launch in 2017 was of a beta version, and it was introduced as macOS High Sierra introduced support for eGPUs over Thunderbolt 3.

Users on the SteamVR community site have so far reacted with predictably mixed responses, but most are pointing to how the Mac has traditionally been poorer at gaming than other platforms. This has really always been the case, ever since the Mac was introduced in 1984, but support for eGPUs did seem to be making a difference.

AppleInsider has been using SteamVR on macOS and Windows with Valve's own VR headset for a few months. We'll be discussing it at more length shortly.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 78
    caladaniancaladanian Posts: 296member
    Not good news. 
    elijahgdonjuanolswatto_cobradarkvader
  • Reply 2 of 78
    Been having this feeling that the new ARM Mac is the beginning of the end of the Mac as we know it and this story kind of settles it - for me - as the only way this news isnt an absolute disaster. Im thinking the new Mac is not a Mac at all. The new ARM Macs may actually be iPad-laptops gradually dropping the Mac-as-we-know-it - meaning the 'macOS'. As soon as Apple guarantees major software franchises on a new 'MacPad', it has no reason to evolve the macOS layer of OS X. What we now know as Mac may be about to go the "System 9" way (Catalina does feel as clunky as System 8). Apple would be dropping a lot, but it has dropped optical-drives, audio-jacks, Motorola, IBM, beige, etc before.. each deemed as crazy as impossible at the time.. but that is Apple - it would be dropping the mouse-based GUI !! it helped champion all these years.
  • Reply 3 of 78
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,315member
    I suspect this has two reasons, one that Apple has dumped 32-bit support, which means half or more of the existing games aren't supported. Secondly they've deprecated OpenGL, expecting cross platform developers to write for Metal instead, which they just aren't.

    Many games and programs are only on the Mac through the virtue of cross-platform APIs, which means the dev can pretty much tick a box and a Mac .app pops out of the compiler, no effort required. But now, many devs have moved onto Vulkan, so that checkbox no longer works. Some devs are using MoltenVK as a translation layer to add Metal support to their programs, but very few devs are writing exclusively in Metal for macOS. This translation layer again makes the Mac experience worse, as it slows the graphics pipeline. Devs can support Win and Linux with one API, but Apple for some reason expects them to use an entirely different one for MacOS. The Mac marketshare is just too small to be worth it, so developers are just dropping support for the Mac instead. Apple seems to be under the impression that the Mac has the marketshare and thus developer profitability that the iPhone does, so they can abuse devs and dictate things at a whim, expecting the devs will follow, like they do on iOS. Only thing is the Mac doesn't have the marketshare of iOS, and so devs don't follow. Yet again this results in a bad experience for Mac users, due to the whims of someone at Apple trying to push their brand of closed-source proprietary API.

    More worrying than the loss of games is the eventual loss of cross-platform productivity programs that currently use OpenGL. There are many, many open and closed source CAD, engineering and design programs that use OpenGL. When Apple decides it's finally had enough of OpenGL and removes it from macOS entirely, what happens to the open source programs? People that used Macs for their businesses (as I do) will be unable to upgrade, because the devs who write the open source programs aren't going to spend a disproportionate amount of time on the tiny Mac user base. If I want to work on an up to date OS, I'll be forced to switch to Windows or Linux.

    I've said this before, but all this closed source incompatibility is chillingly reminiscent of Apple of the mid-90's and Microsoft in the late 90's and into the Ballmer years. Since Sat Nad has taken over, MS have had a much more open approach and they are being lauded for it, with respect for MS steadily increasing. Apple on the other hand is going backwards compared to the huge amount of open-sourcing and increased compatibility after Jobs' return in the early years of OS X, causing respect to decrease. It really is quite concerning.
    edited May 2020 rossb2gatorguydonjuanflyingdpElCapitanolstobianminicoffeedarkvaderstevenoz
  • Reply 4 of 78
    mknelsonmknelson Posts: 827member
    Quite a few cross platform developers are moving to Vulkan and there are at least two libraries that allow you to easily recompile Vulkan to Metal. Quite a few games have done that with great success. ~30% speed boost vs OpenGL even though they weren't written directly for Metal.

    Unity has had Metal support for many years.
    prismaticschiaStrangeDaysRayz2016teejay2012jose8964olsrazorpitminicoffeewatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 78
    Probably nothing to do with the fact that Apple "deprecated" OpenGL and Vulcan while forcibly preventing NVIDIA from releasing compatible Mac drivers. While Windows users are enjoying numerous VR games, social environments, development tools and even professional enterprise applications, Mac users are oblivious to VR. This is why this very web site stated that "no one claims Xcode will run on the iPhone". They simply do not have the vision to realize that there could be more to a computer user interface than staring at a flat screen. The same goes for Mac developers that are not even thinking about how to expand their user interface with AR or VR. When it emerges as the next big thing, Apple will be starting from square one, begging established Windows developers to port their apps and tools to iOS and macOS.
    elijahgflyingdpolsminicoffeedarkvader
  • Reply 6 of 78
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,315member
    mknelson said:
    Quite a few cross platform developers are moving to Vulkan and there are at least two libraries that allow you to easily recompile Vulkan to Metal. Quite a few games have done that with great success. ~30% speed boost vs OpenGL even though they weren't written directly for Metal.

    Unity has had Metal support for many years.
    Ha, yeah. "Easily".
    prismaticsdonjuanwilliamlondonElCapitanols
  • Reply 7 of 78
    schlackschlack Posts: 708member
    If they have Linux support that seems like a decent work around for Mac owners if they’re willing to install Linux via boot camp. 
  • Reply 8 of 78
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,315member
    schlack said:
    If they have Linux support that seems like a decent work around for Mac owners if they’re willing to install Linux via boot camp. 
    If you're going to do that, you may as well install Windows and have access to all Steam games. And by that point if you play games more than a few times a week, you may as well just get a PC instead of a Mac.
    edited May 2020 gatorguywilliamlondonmacxpressctt_zhflyingdpviclauyycElCapitantobianstevenozbeowulfschmidt
  • Reply 9 of 78
    FatmanFatman Posts: 513member
    The reality: Steam can’t sell these things even to the larger installed Windows base. They need to cut costs because they are bleeding money. As I’ve said in past posts, no one wants these big bulky headsets! On a related topic - Apple NEEDS to embrace and natively SUPPORT Vulkan on MacOS and iOS. It can co-exist with METAL and will give developers another option for app development.
    firelockolsdysamoriawatto_cobrajdb8167hammeroftruth
  • Reply 10 of 78
    prismaticsprismatics Posts: 162member
    Fatman said:
    The reality: Steam can’t sell these things even to the larger installed Windows base. They need to cut costs because they are bleeding money. As I’ve said in past posts, no one wants these big bulky headsets! On a related topic - Apple NEEDS to embrace and natively SUPPORT Vulkan on MacOS and iOS. It can co-exist with METAL and will give developers another option for app development.
    Lol no. Apple Management I believe or how it looks to me is rotten enough to appropriate the arrogance that has lead intel to fail like they are right now, of course financially not but the technology. At least the general purpose computing part of Apple.
    elijahgwilliamlondonolsdysamoriadarkvader
  • Reply 11 of 78
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,315member
    Fatman said:
    The reality: Steam can’t sell these things even to the larger installed Windows base. They need to cut costs because they are bleeding money. As I’ve said in past posts, no one wants these big bulky headsets! On a related topic - Apple NEEDS to embrace and natively SUPPORT Vulkan on MacOS and iOS. It can co-exist with METAL and will give developers another option for app development.
    Not sure about your first point. Valve are making massive amounts of money. But supporting Vulkan on macOS at least would help cross platform compatibility a lot. But as Apple of late is becoming more and more of a control freak, they want to control every aspect of their products, right down to the APIs developers use so I think it unlikely. Apple has actually rejected apps using MoltenVK. The ridiculous thing too is there is no evidence Metal is actually any better than Vulkan, so the incentive for devs to learn it is pretty small. 

    Apple has always been anti-gaming (their OpenGL stack was several years out of date, and extremely slow), and considering a big chunk of their profit comes from App store games, that must be very embarrassing internally.

    edited May 2020 donjuanwilliamlondonctt_zhols
  • Reply 12 of 78
    donjuandonjuan Posts: 61member
    Apple abandoned gamers years ago. 
    williamlondonflyingdpolsrazorpitdysamoriadarkvaderstevenoz
  • Reply 13 of 78
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,574member
    elijahg said:
    I've said this before, but all this closed source incompatibility is chillingly reminiscent of Apple of the mid-90's and Microsoft in the late 90's and into the Ballmer years. Since Sat Nad has taken over, MS have had a much more open approach and they are being lauded for it, with respect for MS steadily increasing. Apple on the other hand is going backwards compared to the huge amount of open-sourcing and increased compatibility after Jobs' return in the early years of OS X, causing respect to decrease. It really is quite concerning.
    Jobs as champion of open systems? Interesting way to rewrite history. 

    Sorry but no, while Apple has at times leveraged and contributed to open source projects, it has never been about open systems. The very nature of Mac and the ecosystem is a walled garden. That hasn’t changed.
    Rayz2016olsdysamoriawatto_cobrajdb8167
  • Reply 14 of 78
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,574member

    Probably nothing to do with the fact that Apple "deprecated" OpenGL and Vulcan while forcibly preventing NVIDIA from releasing compatible Mac drivers.
    Conjecture and rumor. No one on this forum knows what’s up between Apple and Nvidia for certain. 
    edited May 2020 watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 78
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,574member
    Fatman said:
    The reality: Steam can’t sell these things even to the larger installed Windows base. They need to cut costs because they are bleeding money. As I’ve said in past posts, no one wants these big bulky headsets! On a related topic - Apple NEEDS to embrace and natively SUPPORT Vulkan on MacOS and iOS. It can co-exist with METAL and will give developers another option for app development.
    Lol no. Apple Management I believe or how it looks to me is rotten enough to appropriate the arrogance that has lead intel to fail like they are right now, of course financially not but the technology. At least the general purpose computing part of Apple.
    Wut?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 78
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,172member
    PDRPRTS said:
    Been having this feeling that the new ARM Mac is the beginning of the end of the Mac as we know it and this story kind of settles it - for me - as the only way this news isnt an absolute disaster. Im thinking the new Mac is not a Mac at all. The new ARM Macs may actually be iPad-laptops gradually dropping the Mac-as-we-know-it - meaning the 'macOS'. As soon as Apple guarantees major software franchises on a new 'MacPad', it has no reason to evolve the macOS layer of OS X. What we now know as Mac may be about to go the "System 9" way (Catalina does feel as clunky as System 8). Apple would be dropping a lot, but it has dropped optical-drives, audio-jacks, Motorola, IBM, beige, etc before.. each deemed as crazy as impossible at the time.. but that is Apple - it would be dropping the mouse-based GUI !! it helped champion all these years.

    Yes just like the switch to Intel was the beginning of the end of the Mac as we know it...and the switch to PPC, and from macOS 9 to macOS X, etc, etc. Every time Apple makes a major change its the beginning of the end isn't it?
    Rayz2016StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 78
    canukstormcanukstorm Posts: 2,532member
    elijahg said:
    Fatman said:
    The reality: Steam can’t sell these things even to the larger installed Windows base. They need to cut costs because they are bleeding money. As I’ve said in past posts, no one wants these big bulky headsets! On a related topic - Apple NEEDS to embrace and natively SUPPORT Vulkan on MacOS and iOS. It can co-exist with METAL and will give developers another option for app development.
    Not sure about your first point. But supporting Vulkan on macOS at least would help cross platform compatibility a lot. But as Apple of late is becoming more and more of a control freak, they want to control every aspect of their products, right down to the APIs developers use so I think it unlikely. Apple has actually rejected apps using MoltenVK. The ridiculous thing too is there is no evidence Metal is actually any better than Vulkan, so the incentive for devs to learn it is pretty small. 

    Apple has always been anti-gaming (their OpenGL stack was several years out of date, and extremely slow), and considering a big chunk of their profit comes from App store games, that must be very embarrassing internally.

    That may be true with respect to macOS but iOS is the largest mobile gaming platform.  It's doing really well.
    MacProroundaboutnowStrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 78
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,317member
    PDRPRTS said:
    Been having this feeling that the new ARM Mac is the beginning of the end of the Mac as we know it and this story kind of settles it - for me - as the only way this news isnt an absolute disaster. Im thinking the new Mac is not a Mac at all. The new ARM Macs may actually be iPad-laptops gradually dropping the Mac-as-we-know-it - meaning the 'macOS'. As soon as Apple guarantees major software franchises on a new 'MacPad', it has no reason to evolve the macOS layer of OS X. What we now know as Mac may be about to go the "System 9" way (Catalina does feel as clunky as System 8). Apple would be dropping a lot, but it has dropped optical-drives, audio-jacks, Motorola, IBM, beige, etc before.. each deemed as crazy as impossible at the time.. but that is Apple - it would be dropping the mouse-based GUI !! it helped champion all these years.
    Every single line of your post is insane. But the "Catalina feels as clunky as System 8" takes the absolute cake. Good job. Anyway, Steam VR is a niche within a niche. The people who used this on a mac are statistically negligible. This story does not "mean" anything, and no conclusions can be drawn from it.
    edited May 2020 StrangeDaysvannygeewatto_cobrajdb8167
  • Reply 19 of 78
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,315member
    elijahg said:
    I've said this before, but all this closed source incompatibility is chillingly reminiscent of Apple of the mid-90's and Microsoft in the late 90's and into the Ballmer years. Since Sat Nad has taken over, MS have had a much more open approach and they are being lauded for it, with respect for MS steadily increasing. Apple on the other hand is going backwards compared to the huge amount of open-sourcing and increased compatibility after Jobs' return in the early years of OS X, causing respect to decrease. It really is quite concerning.
    Jobs as champion of open systems? Interesting way to rewrite history. 

    Sorry but no, while Apple has at times leveraged and contributed to open source projects, it has never been about open systems. The very nature of Mac and the ecosystem is a walled garden. That hasn’t changed.
    Considering he open sourced pretty much all the APIs on NextStep to become OpenStep, looks like you might need to gen up on your history a bit. Oh and what about Webkit? What about Bonjour? What about CUPS? Swift? IOKit? What about contributions to Apache? To OpenSSL? To Autoconf? To Samba? To X11? LLVM? BSD? Clang? OpenGL? Might as well get your head out of Apple's ass at the same time. Walled garden doesn't mean you have to use incompatible standards and APIs. Look where that got Apple in the 90's.
    ctt_zhflyingdpcanukstormavon b7ElCapitanrazorpitdarkvader
  • Reply 20 of 78
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,315member


    Probably nothing to do with the fact that Apple "deprecated" OpenGL and Vulcan while forcibly preventing NVIDIA from releasing compatible Mac drivers.
    Conjecture and rumor. No one on this forum knows what’s up between Apple and Nvidia for certain. 
    Since Nvidia have publicly stated they're waiting on Apple to sign the drivers, there's not much conjecture. Apple isn't perfect, but wo betide any Apple supplier that doesn't lick the ground Apple management walks on or they'll unceremoniously get the boot. Yet another example of Apple putting its internal politics above their customers. I have a 2019 iMac with a Vega Pro 48. It gets smoked by the much older Radeon 1080Ti. But due to Apple's ridiculous spat with Nvidia, we're all stuck on crap AMD cards. 

    Eventually Apple will fall out with AMD as they have done in the past, then go cap in hand to Nvidia for a GPU. Or do as they did during the last big spat 7 or 8 years ago and have Intel integrated everywhere. That was wonderful.
    edited May 2020 ctt_zhflyingdpElCapitanrazorpitdarkvader
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