VR Gaming
VR gaming is now available to MacOS users. Pictured: A visitor tries out an Acer StarVR headset during the annual Computex computer exhibition in Taipei, May 30, 2017. Reuters/Tyrone Siu

Until Monday, Apple’s Macs were known for video and sound editing but were not considered gaming PCs, yet the new MacOS High Sierra announced at the Apple World Wide Developers Conference 2017, has made it possible for gamers to access virtual reality (VR) gaming on Apple PCs. After Apple’s announcement, Steam announced on its Community website that SteamVR Beta is now available for Mac OS.

Read: WWDC News: MacBooks and iMacs Refreshed, macOS High Sierra Introduced

There is a catch though — Steam will only work with the new MacBooks and iMacs announced Monday. This is because only the new Macs, which start at $1,799 have a graphics card capable of VR gaming. Also, it only works with the HTC Vive currently. It is not yet clear why Facebook’s Oculus VR is not supported.

So, you will have to make a huge investment if you want to game on the Mac. On the upside, it offers the same 360-degree room scaled VR experience as Windows and Linux PCs.

“We have worked closely with Epic and Unity to make Mac extensions of content built on those engine technologies as simple as possible. Extension tools for those engines, and others, are available as part of this beta,” the gaming platform said on its website.

Here’s how you can use SteamVR on your Mac:

  • Open Steam on your desktop
  • Find SteamVR in your Library under Tools
  • Right click and go to Properties
  • Select the Betas tab and pick SteamVR Beta from the dropdown

You will require Metal graphics support in MacOS 10.11.16 or higher. Your best bet is to use a MacBook which runs Metal 2 on MacOS High Sierra.

Apple has announced a dedicated VR Dev Kit: A $599 sonnet breakaway box with an AMD Radeon RX580 card in a USB-C to a 4-port USB–A hub with a Thunderbolt 3 connector and software seeded in MacOS High Sierra. The company is offering developers $100 off the HTC Vive.

You will also be able to plug in external hardware into your Mac for extended graphics support. One Apple offering that can do that is the $4,999 iMac Pro, which was announced Monday and has VR hardware built in. Also, you will have to wait for MacOS High Sierra’s launch later this year. Since the dev kit is now available, popular VR games and apps might be available at the time of its launch.

Apple has finally shown off its augmented reality (AR) and VR offerings at the World Wide Developer Conference 2017. Now that the Mac is VR ready and the iPad is AR ready, Apple might explore the Mixed Reality concept in the future.

Read: GDC 2017: LG's SteamVR Headset Comes With Features Similar To HTC Vive, Including Controllers

The company has jumped pretty late on the AR/VR bandwagon compared to Windows and Linux devices. But, Apple is known for the graphics on Macs, which might be something that could entice the gamer community, who up till now were a stranger to Apple devices.