SteamVR Graphic
SteamVR Graphic

Mac computers are widely recognized for their remarkable performance in creative fields. However, when it comes to gaming, particularly VR gaming, they have not been able to compete with other PC models. SteamVR, which is responsible for running numerous popular VR games on PC, stopped supporting macOS in 2019. As a result, Mac users cannot play SteamVR games directly.

There is a But… (Sort Of)

There is a slight caveat. If you have an Intel-based Mac, you can still access legacy builds of SteamVR by opting into the SteamVR beta program. This is more of a ‘Hack’ or ‘Workaround’ so YMMV but here’s how:

  1. Open the Steam application.
  2. Right-click on SteamVR in your Steam library.
  3. Select “Properties” from the menu.
  4. Click on the “Betas” tab.
  5. From the dropdown menu, select a beta version (versions ending in “-mac” are typically for Mac).
  6. Once you’ve selected a beta version, click “Close” and Steam will download the necessary files.

Important things to note:

  • Legacy builds are not officially supported by Valve, the developers of SteamVR. This means you may encounter bugs or stability issues.
  • Legacy builds likely won’t work on Apple Silicon Macs (M1, M2, etc.).
  • Even if you get SteamVR running, your Mac’s hardware might not be powerful enough to run VR games smoothly. Most Macs lack dedicated graphics cards, a crucial component for VR.

Alternatives for Mac VR Enthusiasts

If you’re a Mac user who’s serious about VR, there are a couple of alternative routes you can take:

  1. Bootcamp: This software allows you to install Windows alongside macOS on your Mac. With Windows installed, you can then download and run SteamVR alongside your favorite VR games, assuming your Mac meets the hardware requirements.
  2. Cloud VR: Cloud VR services like Shadow or Playstation Now allow you to stream VR games to your Mac. These services require a fast and reliable internet connection, but they can be a good option if your Mac doesn’t have the muscle for VR itself.

SteamVR Mac Compatibility Summary

FeaturemacOS Support
Official SupportEnded in 2019
Legacy Builds (Intel Macs)May be available through SteamVR beta program
Apple Silicon Macs (M1, M2, etc.)Not supported

Remember: While there are some workarounds, running VR games on a Mac isn’t officially supported and may not be ideal due to hardware limitations. Consider the alternatives mentioned above if you’re serious about VR gaming on a Mac.

Frequently Asked Questions

SteamVR initially offered support for MacOS, leveraging hardware capabilities from Apple’s ecosystem to immerse users in VR experiences. But in 2019 that was officially ended.

How can I play SteamVR games on my Mac?

The best way is to use something like Bootcamp to get Windows on to your Mac. That way you should be good to go with the latest versions of SteamVR software.

Is there a way to run SteamVR on an M1 Mac?

Running SteamVR on an M1 Mac will involve workarounds such as using virtualization software like Parallels. Challenges often remain due to compatibility issues, such as the absence of SSE 4.2 support, which some users attempt to bypass with varying degrees of success.

Why am I getting a missing executable error when trying to run SteamVR on a Mac?

A missing executable error typically indicates a problem with SteamVR’s installation files on a Mac. This could be due to an incomplete download or an issue specific to the Mac version of SteamVR. Reinstalling SteamVR or verifying the integrity of the game files may resolve the error.

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