Steam VR expands its services with native 360-degree video support.
If you’re fortunate enough to own an HTC Vive or Oculus Rift VR headset, odds are you’ve checked out Steam. The infamous digital distribution platform from Valve has been the go-to option for gamers around the world for years and has since evolved into a popular hub for virtual reality enthusiasts as well. A high quality positional tracking suite, an impressive library of games and a comfortable interface make this one of the most appealing virtual reality platforms available to the public.
Now Valve is dipping their toes into VR video with its own custom 360 video player. Currently available via public beta, Steam 360 Video allows users to view 360-degree movies, shows and other non-linear VR formats within your headset instantaneously and without the need for a separate application.
Utilizing SPIN Play technology from Seattle-based VR studio Pixvana, Valve has enabled adaptive video streaming in Steam VR and is offering an eclectic selection of 360-degree content to celebrate the launch.
Steam 360 Video Player currently hosts eight different pieces of virtual reality content. Alien Covenant | In Utero is an unsettling sci-fi thriller experience that puts users in the “shoes” of a terrifying Neomorph alien right at the moment of its absolutely horrific birth. Other movie tie-ins include the comedic The Lego Batman Movie VR short The Batmersive Experience as well as a franchise recap for The Hunger Games. A Challenge is a 360 live action narrative piece inspired by Stockholm Syndrome, Jaunt VR’s Under the Canopy gives a unique tour of the rainforest and The Blank Canvas gives us an in-depth look into biotechnology by scaling users down to a cellular level. The platform also features several projects from Pixvana’s 360 Production Series including immersive video from the Seattle Sounders soccer team, the Pacific Northwest Ballet and Rooster Teeth’s immensely popular Halo machinimated webseries, Red vs Blue.
The Steam 360 Video Player is just another addition to Steam VR’s already impressive laundry list of killer features. While they may already have strong footing in the virtual reality game market, the platform still has a long way to go before it can even compete with the 360 video services offered by YouTube and Facebook.
By focusing entirely on owners of high-end PC’s and powerful VR headsets, it’s possible Steam is attempting to go the same route as their gaming platform by providing options for the upper echelon of the virtual reality community.