Native Steam Link support for Meta Quest headsets promises to simplify life for VR gamers

How many Steam users have VR headsets? Just 1.23%, according to the current Hardware and Software survey: That doesn’t include everyone, but it’s enough of a sample to paint a broad picture. Of that number, the Meta Quest 2 is far and away the most popular rig, accounting for nearly 40% of the total. Owners of those units, along with those who have Quest 3 and Quest Pro rigs, got some good news today, as Valve has announced that Steam Link is now available on all three headsets.

What this means, simply, is that you can now use Steam Link to wirelessly stream VR games from your Steam library to your Quest 2, 3, or Pro VR headset, without having to horse around with external software. It was already possible to access SteamVR games via Oculus Air Link or Virtual Desktop, but the expectation (or at least hope) is that eliminating the middle-man in favor of native Steam Link software will simplify the process and improve performance.

Along with compatible VR gear, you’ll need a 5GHz Wi-Fi router with a wired connection to your PC, Windows 10 or newer, and Steam and SteamVR installed. Once that’s in-hand, it sounds pretty straightforward: Connect the headset to the Wi-Fi network, download the Steam Link app from the Meta Store—it’s free—and then follow the connection setup instructions in the app.

Based on the early reactions to the announcement on Steam, some people are seeing those hoped-for improvements and others aren’t: Whether this is a performance problem with Steam Link or issues with individual setups remains to be seen, but overall the initial response to the native Steam Link app is quite positive.

Some VR users have theorized, with a certain amount of disappointment, that the release of a native Steam Link app for Quest headsets means Valve isn’t planning on putting out its own VR hardware anytime soon, while Meta may be willing to give ground on VR software.

“Meta’s focus is very clearly on standalone VR now but have positioned the 128GB Quest 3 as being good for those looking for a PC VR headset,” Resetera user gothi wrote. “Valve must be very happy to support the most popular VR headset without needing to take any risk on hardware themselves whilst cementing their store as *the* place for PC VR. We know Meta’s estimated BoM [bill of materials] for Quest 3 means they’re not making much, if any, money on the hardware side which I’m sure is a game Valve is happy to watch from the sidelines.”

A good opportunity to put the new Steam Link option to the test is coming soon: The next Steam VR Fest, with “discounts, demos, and more,” is set to kick off on December 4.

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