We commented recently that the biggest barrier to the adoption of Virtual Reality is not the prices of the headsets, which have plummeted over the last year, but the high hardware requirements, which means casual users are usually not able to use laptops to drive the machines, turning a $250-$300 headset purchase into a potential $1300 PC upgrade and lifestyle change, something no-one with casual interest is going to do.
Steam’s VR division, who of course have a real interest in increasing the adoption of VR, has now taken steps to address the issue, by introducing adaptive resolution based on the power of the GPU.
The SteamVR runtime measures the speed of your GPU and tells applications to render at an appropriate resolution based on the power of your GPU. There are many customers right now with GPUs that aren’t being fully utilized. These customers will now automatically have their VR application resolution up-res’ed – the end result being a clearer and better looking VR experience.
Customers who have GPUs that can’t quite render the native resolution of their headset will automatically see images rendered at a slightly lower resolution that is more appropriate for the speed of their GPU.
The best part is that customers won’t have to do anything to get the correct resolution settings. The SteamVR runtime does all the hard work. Of course, if one prefers a different resolution, it’s easy to manually override this by editing the Video settings in SteamVR (previously known as supersample settings).
Luckily for WMR users, the benefit will be coming to all SteamVR users, including Windows Mixed Reality, and I can’t help but feel the smartest thing Microsoft has done is partner with Steam for access to their library, technology and clear drive.
Read more about the new beta feature at Steam here.