Valve Launches New VR Interface for HTC Vive, the Dashboard

At its pre-E3 event back in July 2015 Oculus VR revealed Oculus Home, a central interface for using the virtual reality (VR) head-mounted display (HMD) that allows players to purchase content, access their library and more. It’s only natural to expect Valve, the company working with HTC to release the upcoming HTC Vive, to deliver something similar for its SteamVR-supported HMDs. Of course, the company already has the ideal interface in Steam itself. This week, Valve has released a new way to interact with Steam in VR; the Dashboard.

Currently only available for the Developer Edition of the HTC Vive, the Dashboard currently resembles a basic interface, as seen below, that allows players to interact with Steam channels such as the Store, Library, and Community tabs within VR. Included as part of this week’s Steam Client Beta update, which itself is paired with the latest SteamVR Beta update, Valve plans to add plenty of new features to the system in the coming weeks.

“Our goals for the Dashboard are to provide users with easy access to both system-level features and contextually-relevant content while in VR,” the company explained in a new blog post. “And because this whole thing runs on a PC, we want to create a space where any software can be accessed while in VR. The Dashboard makes this possible with Overlays, the applications it hosts.”

Valve has provided APIs for developers to build their own Overlays within its OpenVR software development kit (SDK). It’s not clear which other HMDs will be able to use the Dashboard down the line though it’s safe to say that other SteamVR-supported sets such as FOVE will take advantage of it. The HTC Vive itself is set for launch in holiday 2015, so expect this to be how players purchase and start videogames within VR when it is available.

VRFocus will continue to follow Valve’s work in VR closely, reporting back with the latest updates on it.