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How to set up Steam VR on Linux

Do you have a VR headset that is compatible with Steam? Need help setting up Steam VR on Linux? If so, follow along as we go through how to set up Steam VR on Linux!

Before we begin

Virtual reality is highly intensive. Before setting up Steam VR on Linux to play virtual reality, you must run the Steam VR benchmarking tool. It will scan your computer and determine whether your Linux computer has the hardware to handle VR.

In addition to running a benchmark of your Linux PC to determine if it can handle virtual reality, be sure to make sure you have the latest Linux graphics drivers installed for Nvidia, AMD, or Intel.

Installing Steam on Linux

Steam VR is built into the Steam client. In order for you to set up Steam VR on your Linux PC to enjoy VR video games, you need to install the Steam client. To install Steam on Linux, launch a terminal window and follow along with the command-line installation instructions outlined below.

Ubuntu

Installing Steam on Ubuntu is effortless thanks to the operating system distributing it in their software sources. To install it, run the following Apt command.

sudo apt install steam

Debian

It is possible to run Steam on Debian by installing it through the Debian software sources. However, it is much easier to grab the DEB package directly from the Steam website. To download the Steam DEB, run the wget command below.

wget https://steamcdn-a.akamaihd.net/client/installer/steam.deb

After downloading the Steam DEB package to your computer, install it by running the dpkg command below.

sudo dpkg -i steam.deb

Arch Linux

Arch Linux has Steam readily available in primary software sources. To get it set up on your computer, execute the following Pacman command in a terminal window.

sudo pacman -S steam

Fedora/OpenSUSE

If you’re using Fedora or OpenSUSE Linux, you will be able to install Steam via an RPM package. That said, doing so can be quite tedious. It’s much better to follow the Flatpak installation instructions to get everything going.

Flatpak

Steam is available as a Flatpak. To get it working, however, you must install the Flatpak runtime. To set up the Flatpak runtime, install the “flatpak” package on your computer, or follow our in-depth guide on the subject.

Once the Flatpak runtime is set up on your computer, you must add the Flathub app store to your computer. Using the flatpak remote-add command below, add Flathub to the system.

flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo

Now that the Flathub app store is set up on your computer, the installation of the Steam for Linux client can begin. Using the flatpak install command, get the Steam app set up on your computer via Flatpak.

flatpak install flathub com.valvesoftware.Steam

With Steam installed on your computer, launch it by searching for “Steam” in the app menu. Once the app is open, log into your Steam account using your username and password. Then, move on to the next section.

Plug in your VR headset 

Steam is installed on Linux, and you’re logged in. Now you must plug in your VR equipment. Take some time and plug in all of the VR peripherals, like the headset, HDMI cable, detection boxes, etc. 

Please note that Steam VR supports only a few types of VR headsets. To fully utilize Steam VR, ensure you have an HTC Vive, HTC Vive Pro, or a Valve Index. 

Installing Steam VR

Steam VR is not pre-installed on the Steam for Linux client. Users need to install it after the fact. To install it, follow the step-by-step instructions below.

Step 1: After plugging in your VR headset into your PC with Steam open, a pop-up window will appear. This pop-up window will say, “Using a VR Headset?” Click on the “INSTALL STEAMVR” button.

Step 2: Once you’ve selected the “INSTALL STEAMVR” button, the pop-up window will show a loading bar. This loading bar indicates the download progress for Steam VR. Be patient, and allow it to download to your computer.

Step 3: Steam will take some time to install Steam VR to your computer. When the process is complete, the pop-up will show a button that says, “LAUNCH STEAMVR.” Select this button to start up the Steam VR user interface.

Getting Steam VR working

Now that Steam VR is set up, your Linux PC is fully equipped and ready to play VR games. To start playing, turn on your controllers, and click on the “VR” button at the top right-hand corner of Steam.

Once you’ve clicked on the “VR” button in the top-right hand corner, put on your VR headset, and you’ll see Valve’s VR play space. From here, you can launch VR games and even play around with various VR toys Valve provides to you!

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